Western Pride goal scorer Mitch Bird makes a break during an earlier NPL match this season. Bird scored two goals in Pride's latest 5-1 victory over Northern Fury.
Western Pride goal scorer Mitch Bird makes a break during an earlier NPL match this season. Bird scored two goals in Pride's latest 5-1 victory over Northern Fury. Chris Simpson

Growing Pride as football team achieving state league goals

EVEN without prolific goal-scoring recruit Harry Sawyer, Western Pride are conquering every hurdle in front of them.

Pride's latest 5-1 victory over Northern Fury continued their impressive run in the National Premier Leagues football competition where the Ipswich-based side are now in fifth spot, threatening a top four move.

Beating Fury in Townsville was never going to be easy.

But as they did the week before in Cairns, Pride's professionalism came to the fore last night.

Touching down in Brisbane airport after another successful northern trip, head coach Graham Harvey was delighted with the result.

"It was a good achievement,'' Harvey said of back-to-back victories against tough opponents at home.

"We got an opportunity to play more football than we did last week so I was pleased with that.''

With A-League striker Sawyer unavailable, Dylan Wenzel-Halls kept his impressive goal-scoring record intact.

His second half double built on netting a goal in his previous four games.

Ever-reliable Mitch Bird also netted two after some confusion over who scored Pride's second goal.

After initial thoughts Adam Endean or captain Jesse Rigby scored, "Birdy'' was the man on the spot in a crowded goal mouth.

Rigby confirmed it was Bird who pounced on the ball from Endean to complete a fine team goal.

Bird had earlier put Pride 1-0 up in the 19th minute.

Jacob Minett also continued his solid form, scoring in the 75th minute to secure a 4-0 advantage.

Fury's only goal came in injury time as Pride secured their eighth win of their best season in the NPL.

"We got on top early,'' Harvey said. "The boys were good defensively again so both ends of the field are working quite well at the moment.''

Like Harvey, the Pride captain was heartened by his team's polished display, especially sharing the goals around.

"It was pretty good,'' Rigby said, in his third year leading Western Pride.

"As a unit, everyone put in and it's been clicking well on and off the field so I think that's been paying off.''

Under 20 players Andrew Pengelly and Dan Hall joined the Pride team heading north. Both came on as substitutes in the second half, gaining some valuable higher level experience.

Being in fifth place ahead of Moreton Bay on goal difference, Pride can set their sights on fourth-placed Brisbane City who are just two points ahead.

Moreton Bay and Brisbane City play each other in the next clash, opening the door for Pride if they can finish the job against winless cellar-dwellers Sunshine Coast next Sunday.

With a "pretty good stadium'' to play at on the coast, Rigby was confident Pride could continue their climb up the ladder.

"For us, travelling to these away games and coming out with wins and really competing just makes you feel pretty satisfied,'' Rigby said.

Chasing a top two spot in the Capital League 2 competition, the Ipswich City Bulls were denied an important three points at Sutton Park last night.

Centenary scored an injury-time goal to equalise 1-1, leaving the Bulls likely to finish third this season.

State of play

NPL: Western Pride 5 (Dylan Wenzel-Halls 2, Mitchell Bird 2, Jacob Minett) d Northern Fury 1.

CL2: Ipswich City 1 (Ronan Geoghegan) drew Centenary 1. Reserves: Ipswich City 3 (Dean Stenzel, Harrison Diehm, Gus Miller) def Centenary 0.



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