Coaching ploy sets Spirit towards local derby win
CHALLENGING players to score is proving a successful strategy for Western Spirit coach Nick Paterson.
When they come from set plays that work, it's even more satisfying.
A week after Damien Andison responded to a pre-game gee-up to score his first goal of the season, the same ploy worked in Friday night's local derby at Goodna.
Western Spirit won 2-0 after Corey Lucas and captain Joel Hancock netted their first goals of the Capital League 2 premiership.
Before the game, Paterson wrote their names on the white board, as he did the week earlier with Andison.
Both goals came from corners in the second half after Spirit settled into the clash with Ipswich City.
"The first half was absolutely awful,'' Paterson said.
"I don't know whether it was nerves that got the better of the boys being a derby. They just didn't turn up to play in the first half.''
However, after the scoreless first 45 minutes, Spirit showed why they are in fourth spot and a threat for this year's finals series.
"They came out a much better committed side in the second half,'' he said.
Ipswich City coach Nev O'Sullivan praised his team's defence for holding out Spirit's quick men for extended periods.
"We were a bit unlucky. We had our chances,'' O'Sullivan said.
"We were beaten by two set plays, which I didn't expect. We've got a bit of work to do on that. But other than that, I was very happy with our performance.
"It was improved.
"If we play like that for the rest of the season, there's no way we'll get relegated.''
Paterson agreed. "They've got enough quality,'' he said.
Paterson was also disappointed to see the Bulls were reduced to 10 men when Sam Wallace was sent off with about 20 minutes to go.
He was pleased to see Hancock and Lucas score after goalkeeper Jack Fuller had another solid game.
However, Spirit lost experienced campaigner Gerard Sanfuentes at halftime with a calf injury.
For the Bulls, defensive midfielders Jim Allison and Ronan Geoghegan toiled hard, along with Liam Mercer up front and Ben Ungermann.
Western Spirit also won the Reserve grade clash 2-0 on Friday night after Stephen Muir's double.
Muir is second on the CL Reserve grade goal-scoring list with 13.
Western Spirit's next match is away to Park Ridge on Saturday night.
The Bulls host premiership contenders Centenary on Saturday night.