Words: Michael Flynn | Image: Brisbane City FC
Gold Coast City coach Grae Piddick says his side’s resolve is evident after the league-leader’s dramatic 3-2 come-from-behind win over Brisbane City on Saturday night.
Sam Smith’s cultured header eight minutes from time sealed Gold Coast City the win in the hard-fought encounter at Corporate Travel Management Stadium.
Just minutes earlier the Englishman dramatically levelled terms for the visitors after shaking City defender Thomas Schulz before converting a well-placed angled finish.
The visitors went into half-time ahead courtesy of Roman Hofmann’s penalty kick, however, unexpectedly entered the final quarter hour staring down the barrel of defeat after Nathan Bird’s quickfire double early in the second half for the hosts.
Piddick said he never doubted his side would hold their nerve as they rallied to maintain a three-point advantage atop the league standings and post their first league double of the campaign.
“Our team definitely have mettle,” Piddick explained, “We were staring down the barrel of a loss and we’ve turned it around and won the game.”
“We have a good squad where, when things aren’t going to plan, that I can make changes and the players coming on can I have a positive effect on the outcome.”
He added, “But you also have to have a little bit about you in these sorts of games. You need to know when to slow things down and when to speed it up and our guys are young but they are clearly learning that, which is very pleasing.”
Piddick said the win is crucial in his side’s push to claim their first silverware since 2014 – with Brisbane Strikers and Brisbane Olympic both winning their overnight matches to stay in touch with Gold Coast City.
“We have to win every game if we want to finish the year in first because you can’t rely on other teams to drop points.”
“We are treating every game as a Grand Final. We have lost one game this season – and I’m drumming that into the boys - because if we lose another we might finish second, which will be devastating for them.”
With both side’s maintaining their intensity well into injury time, the match was marred by an unsavoury red card for Brisbane City’s Han Kuk in the closing stages – the attacker dismissed for reportedly spitting at Gold Coast City defender Eoghan Murphy.
However, Piddick opted to instead shine a light on the exploits of his own attackers – club leading goal scorer Smith and Jarrod Kyle.
“I’ve got a luxury to have some very good strikers. Tonight, Sam has scored them and, when he hasn’t in previous weeks, then Jarrod scores them.”
“But they also work very hard defending from the front and the effort and yards they put in are superb,” Piddick concluded.
PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Queensland – Round 13
Saturday, June 3
Corporate Travel Management Stadium, Brisbane
Brisbane City FC – 2 (Nathan BIRD 49’ 53’)
Gold Coast City FC – 3 (Roman HOFMANN 34’P, Sam SMITH 79’ 82’)
Gold Coast City FC Squad: 1. Matthew STEIN, 2. Riley DILLON, 4. Martin VAZQUEZ (14. Benjamin LYVIDIKOS 63’), 5. Matthew SCHMIDT, 6. Roman HOFMANN, 7. Justyn MCKAY, 9. Jarrod KYLE (12. Rhys SAUNDERS 59’), 10. Jacob BOUTOUBIA (11. Nikola MIRKOVIC 52’), 13. Austin LUDWIK, 15. Eoghan MURPHY, 21. Sam SMITH
Unused subs: 20. Joshua LANGDON, 22. Jaiden WALKER