Door slams shut on Knights
LIKE a punter having a bad day at the races, the Ipswich Knights were unable to catch up in yesterday’s frustrating game at Bundamba.
With second-placed North Star losing the night before to Slacks Creek, the Knights had a chance to move within a point of the team above them.
However, as the door of opportunity creaked open, it slammed shut just as quickly at Eric Evans Reserve.
The Knights will hold third spot on the congested Division 1 table despite yesterday’s disappointing 3-0 defeat to relegation-threatened Brisbane Force.
However, they remain four points behind North Star who have a game in hand.
Knights’ unexpected loss to Force also failed to help regional neighbours Ipswich City, who worked hard to beat bottom team Toowoomba 3-0 on Saturday night.
Without 11 players from the two squads, the Bulls gained three valuable points to break four points clear of second-last Southside Eagles who lost 3-0 to Beenleigh.
Had the Knights beaten Force, it would have helped the Bulls in their quest to move well away from the relegation zone.
The Bulls are hoping for another precious three points in tomorrow night’s catch-up game against Moggill at Sutton Park.
A win there would lift the Bulls’ confidence for Sunday’s local derby against Western Spirit at Kippen Park.
“All the boys played really well,” Abel said of his team’s effort where Zygan Condie scored a goal in each half.
Toowoomba had a player sent off in the first half.
Lacking hunger like the Knights, Western Spirit will be on the rebound for this weekend’s local derby after a disappointing 3-0 loss to Pine Rivers United.
Spirit’s defeat allowed Beenleigh and Pine Rivers to leapfrog Spirit in the battle for top-six playoff spots.
But while Bulls coach Trent Abel was happy how his stand-in players stood up on Saturday night, Knights mentor Ian Carson put on a brave face after yesterday’s match.
“We were out-enthused. The intensity wasn’t there,” Carson said, also missing a number of key players.
“The effort was there, not the enthusiasm. You can’t put your finger on enthusiasm. It’s either there on the day or it’s not.”
Although injuries and suspensions had stretched the Knights’ depth, Carson was reluctant to make excuses.
“This is the part of the year where it hurts the most,” he said.
“We’re down on players. We’ve got a bare 11 and we’re scratching for reserves.
“But every club is like that so you can’t blame that.
“We had a couple of lapses and they punish you for it.
“They (Force) are certainly not the best team that we’ve played.”
The Knights looked out of sorts from the kick-off yesterday.
But had a couple of their early close-range shots found the net, the result could have been completely different.
As a skydiver hovered over the ground in the first half, it appeared the Knights had Force covered.
But after Force finished off a cross across the goal mouth, they went 2-0 up through a soft Knights’ own goal just before halftime.
Ipswich’s disjointed defence failed to stop the free kick, which effectively killed off the home team’s chances.
A controversial penalty awarded in the second half sealed the Knights’ fate.
Dependable defender Damian Hoffman was ruled to have touched the ball on the goal line as he stopped a sweet strike.
In another strange decision, Hoffman was then sent off by the referee.
Being a man short only added to the Knights’ frustration as they continued to lack penetration near the goalmouth.
“They (the Knights players) want to win, they want to play well,” Carson said.
“Sometimes it doesn’t happen.”
The Knights Reserves missed a golden chance for victory after conceding a late goal to draw 6-6 with Brisbane Force.
Ben Ungermann scored four goals.