In cut-throat football, a hat-trick most welcome
WINGER Nathan Yoon's first hat-trick for the club has breathed much needed life into Western Pride's Football Queensland Premier League (FQPL) season.
Yoon's first, second and third goals ever for Pride last night completed a welcome homecoming for the Pride players who had battled through a tough schedule of matches in recent days.
The 4-0 victory over Souths United at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex keeps Pride in touch with the top four.
It also gives the Pride players a weekend off before finalising preparations for the eagerly-awaited derby against the Ipswich Knights on August 22.
"I was really happy with the result and we deserved to win,'' Pride head coach Andrew Catton said.
"The thing I was most pleased with was that we actually showed a little bit of maturity last night.''
With a young side often outmatched in experience, Catton was encouraged how they tackled the Souths United challenge.
"It could have been difficult for us but we dealt with it really well,'' Catton said.
"The boys managed it really, really well.''
Knights head coach Andy Ogden has given his players a few days off to freshen up for Sunday's match after last night's 1-1 draw with Southside Eagles.
The Knights remain in the top three despite being unable to capitalise on last Sunday's 3-0 win over Rochedale at the same Bundamba field.
"It was a disappointing result,'' Ogden said, noting similarities in performance to the Knights 1-1 draw against Sunshine Coast exactly a week earlier.
"We definitely didn't play to the level we did on Sunday.
"We didn't get going. We found it difficult to get a rhythm.''
Striker Lachlan Munn salvaged a draw with a second half penalty.
Like Pride, Knights have endured a testing fortnight with weekend and midweek catch-up matches.
"We looked a little bit tired. Our fourth game in a week and a bit,'' he said.
"We've got some sore bodies.''
However, Ogden understood the challenges of having four games in two weeks, after a long layoff due to the COVID shutdown.
"We're not professional footballers who can have today off,'' Ogden said.
"We have to go to work and what have you.''
Last night's draw was the Knights second, to go with their four wins and two losses.
The Knights have to back up against Mitchelton in their next clash at Bundamba on Sunday afternoon before focusing on the August 22 derby.
Ogden was planning a roll call on Saturday to see how his troops were faring.
After their encouraging performance at home, Pride have four wins and four defeats.
Surprise results in tough league
Catton agreed it was difficult to follow some results, especially in a cut-throat competition like the Queensland Premier League.
"Everyone wants to talk about the QPL and how it's a second division (to the National Premier Leagues competition) and all that,'' he said.
"But the reality is it's bloody hard.
"I can't believe some of the results to come out it.
"I honestly thought last night, on their home ground, the Knights would give Southside Eagles a touch-up.''
However, the Pride head coach was a happier man after his team's latest win.
Japanese recruit Yuta Hirayama made a huge difference returning from injury. He put Pride 1-0 up early before Yoon displayed his speed and skill up the opposite wing.
Teenage striker Jackson Bray also impressed.
"It was probably our first game that we played where all three of our attackers really stood up at once,'' he said.
Catton also praised the efforts of Rhys Webster, Ben Piper and Connor Maynard.
"They all managed it pretty well,'' Catton said. "They did everything they needed to do at the right moments.''
But ever the perfectionist, Catton was looking for more as he side refocuses on the long-awaited local derby with the Knights in their next clash.
"I still think their performance lacked that real sharpness that we need to be,'' he said.
"The first half wasn't outstanding.
"The tempo that we're playing at is not the level that I want them to be and the level that they are capable of.
"There's good signs but still plenty to improve on.''
A win at home was just what Pride needed chasing the Knights who are just ahead of them on the FQPL table.
FQPL: Western Pride 4 (Nathan Yoon 3, Yuta Hirayama) def Souths United 0; Ipswich Knights 1 (Lachlan Munn) drew Southside Eagles 1.
FQPL: Sunday (3pm) - Ipswich Knights v Mitchelton at Eric Evans Reserve.
CL1: Saturday (7pm) - Ipswich City v The Lakes at Kinsellas Park. Sunday (4pm): Western Spirit v Mt Gravatt at Kippen Park.
CL2: Friday (8.30pm) - Ripley Valley v Oxley United at Kippen Park.
CL3: Sunday (6pm) - Springfield United v North Lakes at Springfield Central Sports Complex.
BWPL: Sunday (2pm) - Ipswich City v Broadbeach at Broadbeach.