Knights slay derby rivals
IPSWICH Knights assistant coach Mitch Cattermole revealed pre-game jibes helped motivate his side to a 1-0 victory in Friday night's local derby.
After a drama-charged 1-1 draw with Western Spirit a week before, Cattermole said his team was determined to answer the critics.
"It was very satisfying, especially with some of the stuff that was said from the opposition last week," Cattermole said.
"Our good players took it to heart a bit and everyone just showed we can play football.
"I think they got questioned last week."
Cattermole said his team turned up ready to play at Kippen Park.
"We outbattled them and played some nice football as well," Cattermole said.
"Last week, they (Western Spirit) caught us on the hop a bit and you've got to give them (Spirit) credit. They played really well I thought.
"They harassed us.
"But tonight we were the ones that were harassing them. We were the ones that were hunting them.
"They were favourites before the game and maybe that hurt them a little bit."
The Division 1 victory elevated the Knights to equal sixth place with Moggill on 19 points.
Mitchelton maintained top spot of 32 points after accounting for Pine Rivers United 5-2 over the weekend.
Western Spirit slipped to equal eighth place (18 points) with Pine Hills after they beat the Ipswich City Bulls 3-0 on Friday night at James Drysdale Reserve.
However, it was the latest local derby that had everyone talking through the week after the Knights salvaged a draw with a controversial late penalty last weekend.
Western Spirit coach Stewart Drinkeld expected more from his team in the return showdown.
"I'm bitterly disappointed," Drinkeld said after Friday night's clash.
"The Knights had more desire than we did by a million miles and that was the difference in the end.
"They wanted victory more, they were first to the ball. Any loose balls and 50-50 challenges, they won and my boys were just passengers."
While the Knights moved the ball crisply around the field, Western Spirit were unable to produce a knockout blow in attack.
Knights speedster Peter Drager scored the only goal after running up the middle, waiting for the ball and chipping it past Spirit goalkeeper Steve Purdy.
The Spirit camp claimed the goal was offside.
However, Drager was unlucky not to be awarded a second half penalty after being brought down in the box.
Spirit midfielder Dan Liddy was also denied a goal just before halftime when teammate Richie Armstrong was ruled offside.
That summed up Spirit's night.
Drinkeld even swapped Armstrong and Phil Brown in attack to try to spark something.
But the Knights defence, anchored by returning sweeper Nick Parfitt, had Spirit's measure.
The Knights' attacking thrust was well served by midfielders Stephen Hughes and Matt Christensen who regularly fed Drager brothers Peter and Andy, and Ben Hunt.
Cattermole said the Knights' main challenge was keeping a settled side and gaining momentum after a season of horrible disruptions.
"There's plenty of games left in the season, plenty of points to be won," he said.
"They (the Knights players) are starting to show with their performances that they are as good as any other side in the competition.
"Defensively, we are a lot more solid than we were at the start of the year. It's hard to score against us now.
"Going forward, we've always got some bullets."
Lincoln Rule was again one of Spirit's best players in defence and igniting attack, especially up the left side of the field.
Liddy also looked dangerous at times, as did midfield partner Lucas Wilson.
Spirit's defensive line featuring Sam Hay, Joel Hancock and Raj Oshen stuck to the task manfully, especially as the Knights stepped up the tempo in the second half.
Purdy also had a fine game.
However, the American goalkeeper received a yellow card for backchat after a fiery exchange with Knights striker Peter Drager.
In the earlier derby, the Western Spirit Reserves came from 4-1 down to draw 4-4 with the higher-placed Knights.
Ipswich City Bulls player Aaron Willmann leads the Division 1 statistics for most match time. According to Football Brisbane records, Willmann has played 1325 minutes from his 14 matches. He led Western Spirit duo Lincoln Rule and Dale Robinson, and Albany Creek's Damien Austin (all 1260 minutes from 14 games).