Dylan's 'favourite goal' stuns leaders
ATTACKING weapon Dylan Wenzel-Halls was glowing with pride and praise after helping his team move to the brink of playing finals' football.
Wenzel-Halls scored the only goal that sealed a fantastic victory over competition leaders Gold Coast City at Palm Beach last night.
"That was probably my favourite goal this season,'' he said after smashing an indirect free kick into the top right corner of the net.
Having scored a goal in each of his past eight National Premier Leagues state competition matches, Wenzel-Halls had every reason to be satisfied.
But typical of the closeknit Pride team this season, Wenzel-Halls was quick to share his success with his hard-working teammates.
"It meant so much for the team and to put our place in the top four,'' he said.
The speedster praised Pride's fearless defence, built around Hayden Mchenery, Cam Crestani, Will McFarlane and Delors Tuyishime, for holding their powerhouse opponents scoreless.
Wenzel-Halls also acknowledged Pride goalkeeper Max Davison for his best performance since an outstanding game against Brisbane Olympic in the FFA Cup clash earlier this year.
"Max was super,'' Wenzel-Halls said.
"He was dominant in the box.
"Considering they (Gold Coast) have some big lads, I thought he was awesome.''
Wenzel-Halls, 19, lifted his tally to 12 goals from 15 matches, helping Pride maintain an unbeaten run in the second round.
"I'm happy with that considering I had a bit of a knee injury,'' Wenzel-Halls said, receiving great support from midfield/strikers Jesse Rigby, Adam Endean, Joe Duckworth and Jacob Minett.
"I'm really enjoying my time at Pride. It's been awesome.
"We've been very solid at the back and I'm trying to work hard on my defensive game.
"Up front, I'm feeling sharp . . . it's some of the balls I get played, help me a lot.''
Former Brisbane Roar Youth and Olympic player Wenzel-Halls said Gold Coast were a quality side. However, he was thrilled how Pride accepted the challenge, knowing victory would all but secure a top four spot for the finals.
"It was a fight,'' he said.
"As a team, we just dug deep and we grinded.''
With the prospect of playing finals' football, Wenzel-Halls backed up what head coach Graham Harvey said pre-match about the growing excitement and rewards coming from months of hard work.
"We are all buzzing,'' Wenzel-Halls said.
"None of us have really experienced finals' football and more importantly, it's for the club as well because we know how the club each year is getting better and better.''
Western Pride's top side can secure a place in the playoffs by beating Northern Fury at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex on Saturday night.
Pride needed to beat the Gold Coast after Moreton Bay held out South West Queensland 2-1 in their clash 90 minutes earlier.
Brisbane City dropped out of finals' contention after drawing 0-0 with Northern Fury.
With a superior goal average over Moreton Bay United, Pride can control their own destiny returning home for their final qualifying match.
Club's outstanding under 18 achievement
Western Pride club officials are planning a massive afternoon of football at their home base on Saturday, starting with a girls' under 17 game at 10.45am.
Pride's under 18 men play at 12.45pm having wrapped up the premiership with a 2-1 win over Gold Coast City yesterday.
That is Pride's first premiership in the NPL.
The Pride men's team is hoping to add to that wonderful piece of history by winning their 7pm encounter on Saturday.
State of play
NPL: Western Pride 1 (Dylan Wenzel-Halls) def Gold Coast City 0.
NPL women: South West Qld 5 def Western Pride 2 (Zozia Sen, Sophie Wetherby).
NPL U20: Western Pride 1 (Oli Bond) drew Gold Coast City 1.
NPL U18: Western Pride 2 (Jacob Advaney, Jackson Bray) def Gold Coast City 1.