Ambitious Joe reflects Western Pride's NPL pain
THE disappointment etched in Joe Duckworth's face showed how important football is to him.
Having recently returned from a beneficial training stint in England, the Western Pride attacking midfielder was hurting as he reflected on his team's latest 6-2 loss.
Duckworth scored his team's second goal and was one of Pride's best in the National Premier Leagues match against Gold Coast City.
However, the pain was evident as the former Ipswich Grammar School student demanded more on the football field.
"I'm guilty myself, I missed a couple,'' Duckworth said.
"In the first half alone, we created nine chances. We've got to respond more into goal, especially at home.
"We've seen in the past we don't travel too well. We want to improve on that but we really want to make this place a fortress.
"There's still a lot of quality in this team. There's still a lot of belief in this team and we are really disappointed with ourselves that we let the game get away.''
Duckworth, 19, spent six weeks after Christmas training with Accrington Stanley Football Club in Lancashire.
"The opportunity was there for me to go over and have the experience,'' he said.
"It was a professional club and I trained there most days and I learnt a lot.
"To play with those boys was a privilege. A lot of them will go on to play in higher divisions in the premier league. They are a very very good team.''
However, in his second season of NPL, Duckworth is eager to help Pride become a more consistent football force.
"I played all the games last year with Doddsy (Karl Dodd) and then with Graham (Harvey) at the back half of last year,'' he said.
"So I know what it's all about and Palm Beach, or Gold Coast as they are called now, are a good side.''
Without regular defenders Joel Haack (suspended) and Alistair Wallis (injured), Pride's reshuffled backline was tested early.
The new-look combination showed some ticker in the first half on Saturday night after coming from 3-0 down to only trail by a goal at the break.
Duckworth's strike on the stroke of halftime followed another Corey Lucas penalty, after the defender had also scored confidently from the spot a week earlier in Pride's 1-1 draw with Sunshine Coast.
But just as Pride looked to be making a comeback, the classy Gold Coast side stepped up a gear to hold the home side scoreless while adding to the goal scoring pain.
"We are a young side so we've always got the belief that we are never out of a game,'' Duckworth said.
"We thought we were going to go on with it in the second half but we started too slow and to be fair to Gold Coast, they just came out in the second half and they just showed their class and showed why they are always in the top four.''
While Pride's senior men's side were licking their wounds, the club's under-18 combination continued to flourish.
A late goal by Jonathon Ward sealed Pride an exciting 2-1 win over Gold Coast City in Saturday night's curtainraiser.
Ward and his teammates celebrated like English Premier League players after the match-winning effort, displaying plenty of fine club spirit.
Mambo Kashindi scored Pride's first goal in that game.
In yesterday's Brisbane Premier League match, the Ipswich Knights remained winless from three games after losing 4-1 to Easts at Bundamba.