Words: Michael Flynn | Image: Patrick Leigh Perspectives
Gold Coast City captain Justyn McKay says his teammates’ resolve proved decisive as his side secured a dramatic and hard-fought 3-1 win over Brisbane Olympic on Sunday.
The win sees City recapture top spot in the Premiership race, after Brisbane Strikers briefly snuck ahead on goal difference with their win on Saturday night.
Following a sluggish start, City found the opener midway through the first half when Sam Smith pounced on a deflected strike from Jarrod Kyle.
Olympic levelled via Sam Cronin only minutes before half-time, but, despite piling on the pressure early in the second stanza, the hosts found no further reward.
City’s resilience eventually told when Smith again pounced from close range to restore the lead with his 22nd league goal of the campaign.
Winger Nik Mirkovic then sealed the points in the final stages of the match by dispossessing Olympic defender Matt Mundy in his own box before steering home his second league goal of the year.
Speaking post-match, McKay said City proved they are capable on fighting on two fronts following their midweek Westfield FFA Cup win.
“Backing up after the cup game on Wednesday, I thought the boys dug in and fought back really well,” McKay explained.
“That typifies the team spirit that we have in the group and why we came away with the three points tonight.”
“There were patches of the game where they were on top of us but we were resilient and we got our rewards.”
The result means City can finish the regular season no lower than second place – with the top two sides in the home-and-away campaign anticipated to have home ground advantage in the four team PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland Finals Series.
However, McKay said finals football is the furthest thing from the minds of the team with the Premiers crown still firmly in the balance.
“A home Semi-Final would be a big thing but for us but the focus right now is really on winning the league,” he stressed.
“Finals are just a two-game cup, essentially, so we are focused on finishing on top and then we will think about finals after that,” he concluded.
City’s win marks the second straight year they have recorded a league double against Olympic, the side they defeated to claim the competition Championship in 2014.
They next play late-season surprise packets Western Pride in their final home match of the regular season next weekend.
City will also discover their next opponents in the Westfield FFA Cup mid-week when that competition’s Round of 16 draw is held.
PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Queensland 2017 – Round 20
Sunday, August 6
Goodwin Park, Yeronga
Brisbane Olympic FC – 1 (Sam CRONIN 44’)
Gold Coast City FC – 3 (Sam SMITH 28’ 74’, Nik MIRKOVIC 88’)
Gold Coast City: 1. Matt STEIN, 3. Oskar DILLON, 5. Matthew SCHMIDT, 6. Roman HOFMANN, 7. Justyn MCKAY, 9. Jarrod KYLE (2. Riley DILLON 70’), 11. Nik MIRKOVIC, 14. Benjamin LYVIDIKOS (10. Jacob BOUTOUBIA 63’), 15. Eoghan MURPHY, 21. Sam SMITH, 22. Jaiden WALKER (4. Martin VAZQUEZ 79’)
Unused subs: 19. Ethan GRIMLEY, 20. Joshua LANGDON