Words: Michael Flynn | Image: Sportspics
Gold Coast City coach Grae Piddick said there are no excuses for his side’s frustrating 1-0 defeat against Western Pride that sees City lose their grip on top spot on the table with just one round remaining.
In a hard-fought game between two of the competition’s in-form sides, a fourth minute strike from Dylan Wenzel-Halls ultimately proved decisive for the visitors.
City weren’t without their chances, however, could not find the back of the net as they ceded pole position in the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland Premiership race to Brisbane Strikers on goal difference.
The hosts’ best chances to level came in the second half when Jacob Boutoubia saw an effort from top of the box flash wide of the post, while Sam Smith also went just wide with a header late in the game.
Earlier, City’s cause suffered a significant blow by the forced substitution of striker Jarrod Kyle early in the match after being brought down from behind resulting in a dislocated shoulder that could spell the end of his season.
City must now win their next match against Moreton Bay United – and hope Strikers drop point against Brisbane Olympic – if they are to finish the home-and-away campaign on top.
Speaking post-match, Piddick said his side will do all they can in the final round against Jets, who they also meet in the Westfield FFA Cup days after the league clash.
“It’s disappointing to come away losing 1-0. It was a high intensity game and we always expected it would be that way,” he said.
Piddick added, “It’s a big week ahead and we have a bit of work to motivate the boys to get going again, but I’m sure they will.”
"I am proud of the boys for the way they kept going and kept pushing for that equaliser. We were relentless in the second half but it just didn't fall for us tonight."
“We just need to learn from tonight and learn from some of the areas where we could’ve been better against a good side.”
City conceded seven yellow cards in the match and Piddick said that both coaching benches were perplexed by some decisions made by match officials.
“There were some very important decisions that were a bit confusing to understand and we will be looking for some clarification during the week to assist in trying to understand them.”
“There were also some incidences of mistaken identity by the officials when taking disciplinary action against players and a plain-as-day handball from a goal bound header that was missed - so that is a bit disappointing.”
“But that takes nothing away from Western Pride. They won the game and it is not an excuse, but I think it had a bearing on the outcome.”
The defeat was City’s first at home this year in all competitions ending their hopes of securing a perfect home record for the first time in their five seasons in PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues.
PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Queensland 2017 - Round 21
Saturday, August 12
Duncan Mckenna Field
Gold Coast City FC - 0
Western Pride FC - 1 (Dylan WENZELL-HALLS 4')