Words: Michael Flynn | Image: DSL Photography
Gold Coast City captain Justyn McKay has applauded his side's defensive resolve after seeing off SWQ Thunder 4-0 in the Westfield FFA Cup on Wednesday night.
A dominant City were rarely threatened against their lower table opponents at Clive Berghofer Stadium as they moved to within one win of a return to the national Round of 32.
Jarrod Kyle opened the scoring for City with a tap-in inside the opening quarter hour before Nik Mirkovic doubled the advantage from close range just minutes later.
Benjamin Lyvidikos effectively wrapped up the tie prior to half-time after capitalising on a mistake from Thunder goalkeeper Luke Macdonald to slot City’s third.
Thunder missed the chance to pull a goal back from the penalty spot in the first half when Matthew Edwards’ spot kick was saved by Matt Stein.
Despite a raft of chances in the second half, City’s only additional score game courtesy of an own goal – Rhys’ Saunder’s cross deflecting in off Thunder defender Keagan Sheridan.
While acknowledging his side’s attacking nous, skipper McKay said his side’s defending was again telling as they posted a third straight clean sheet in rainy conditions.
“Good teams build from the back and that’s certainly the case for us this year,” McKay said.
“We’ve been so much more resolute when it comes to not conceding sloppy goals, which is something we weren’t doing in recent seasons.”
“That gives you the confidence going forward to get goals.”
The match was City’s second in five days and they face another quick turnaround ahead of a return to league football against Western Pride on Saturday night.
McKay said squad depth is proving crucial as the demands of playing two competitions continue to increase.
“The last couple of weeks against Knights and Olympic, it got to 60 minutes and things can get a bit flat when it’s nil-nil,” he explained.
“But we can bring on players like Rhys Saunders or Jacob Boutoubia that can give us a lift and that changes the whole game.”
“We also have the luxury to be able to rotate the squad when players need a bit of a rest. It’s a good position to be in as a team.”
City’s next opponent in the Westfield FFA Cup is Sunshine Coast outfit Caloundra FC, who City defeated on their way to the Round of 32 in 2014.
The date and venue for the Westfield FFA Cup Preliminary Round 7 match against Caloundra FC are yet to be confirmed by Football Queensland.
Westfield FFA Cup 2017 – Preliminary Round 6
Wednesday, May 10
Clive Berghofer Stadium, Toowoomba
SWQ Thunder FC – 0
Gold Coast City FC – 4 (Jarrod KYLE 14’, Nik MIRKOVIC 19’, Benjamin LYVIDIKOS 39’, own goal 60’)
Gold Coast City FC Squad: 1. Matt STEIN, 4. Martin VAZQUEZ (3. Oskar DILLON 61’), 5. Matthew SCHMIDT, 6. Roman HOFMANN, 8. Curtis STOLLERY (12. Rhys SAUNDERS 54’), 9. Jarrod KYLE, 11. Nik MIRKOVIC, 14. Benjamin LYVIDIKOS, 15. Eoghan MURPHY, 21. Justyn MCKAY, 22. Jaiden WALKER (10. Jacob BOUTOUBIA 61’)
Unused: 2. Riley DILLON, 20. Josh LANGDON