Words: Michael Flynn | Image: Patrick Leigh Perspectives
Gold Coast City captain Justyn McKay says he and his teammates must learn from the experience after being knocked out of the Westfield FFA Cup by South Melbourne 6-0 on Wednesday night.
The defeat was City’s largest in their four-year Westfield FFA Cup history and marked a disappointing end to an otherwise positive Quarter Final cup run that equalled their best-ever return in the competition.
Despite City confidence being high going into the match, South Melbourne dominating the contest from the early whistle – storming to a two-goal lead inside the opening minutes through a pair of pin-point strikes from Milos Lujic and Matthew Millar.
Battling hard to get back into the contest, chances were scant for City before they conceded another goal to Jesse Daley minutes before the half-time whistle to carry a three-goal deficit into the second half.
Cheered on by a club record crowd, hopes of a comeback were dashed before the hour as Lujic converted his second after pouncing on goalkeeper Matt Stein’s initial blocked save.
The flow of goals continued til the full-time whistle, as substitute Stefan Zinni delivered the visitor’s fifth with his first touch of the game and Millar nodded home the final goal to complete his brace in the final ten minutes.
City sought consolation in the closing minutes, however, attempts from McKay, Nikola Mirkovic and Riley Dillon could not breach the visitors’ defences.
Speaking post-match, a visibly disappointed McKay conceded his side were far from their best and simply not up to task on the night.
“I think we were just off our game from the start. Whether we underestimated them or we got caught up in the occasion, I don’t know. But we just never really got going,” McKay said.
“They gained a lot of momentum and were coming at us left, right and centre, and we didn’t cope with it at all.”
The match was City’s first competitive run in nearly a month, however, McKay was adamant he would not use the lack of matches as excuses for the performance.
“South Melbourne hadn’t played a game in two or three weeks either, so we shouldn’t use that as an excuse. That’s where as a team we need to push harder in training and maybe we didn’t do that.”
However, McKay said the manner of their cup elimination, as well as missing out on silverware in the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland, will harden the resolve of the players returning next season.
“There was so much promise this year and not much to show really in the end. We lost out in the league, missed out on the grand final and it’s a disappointing end now to the cup.”
“But there were also a lot of positives that we can take into next season and, with such a young squad, they will be better for the big game experiences we have had towards the back end of the season.”
“Once we get over the disappointment of tonight, I think we can take a lot of valuable lessons in to next year,” he concluded.
City has already begun preparations for the 2018 campaign, with player and coach signing announcements to be revealed in coming weeks.
Westfield FFA Cup 2017 – Quarter Final
Wednesday, September 20
Cbus Super Stadium, Robina
Gold Coast City FC – 0
South Melbourne FC – 6 (Milos LUJIC 2’ 52’, Matthew MILLAR 6’ 81’, Jesse Daley 37’, Stefan ZINNI 70’)