Pride grows: What an amazing comeback
IT was a stunning comeback that left many people asking "where did that come from?''
Even the coach was pleasantly surprised at how much relentless pace and firepower his team turned on.
A week after a 5-0 thumping in Toowoomba, Western Pride's top Football Queensland Premier League side recovered brilliantly at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
Pride's 5-2 victory over Rochedale Rovers on Saturday night was ignited through a hat-trick by Japanese right wing speedster Yuta Hirayama and a vital first half goal by dependable defender Kelton Scriggins.
"What a great game from him (Hirayama),'' Scriggins said.
"He didn't play last week so that's the first I've really seen of him and he is a quick fella and he's sharp.
"He's a good player to have.''
It was only Scriggins' second game back this season having been one of Pride's most consistent performers in last year's National Premier Leagues competition.
However, the right back and senior player was delighted with the tempo of Pride's exciting youth brigade who produced their second win from four matches.
"There's a lot of young lads out here,'' Scriggins said.
"With some of the old guys like Killian Flavin, it all came together well tonight and it just shows what we can actually do this year.
"If we can keep playing like that and putting the effort in like that, I think it will be a good year.''
Scriggins was on the spot from a corner to secure his team's 3-1 lead at halftime.
"It was good to score in my first game in front of the crowd back here,'' he said.
"The club is a real good club.
"After me going elsewhere this year it made me realise how good a club it is so that's what made me come back.''
While Scriggins was eager to build on Saturday night's effort, first-year coach Andrew Catton was also encouraged having recognised his team's potential.
"We knew it was going to come eventually,'' Catton said. "I didn't think it would probably come like that.''
He praised players like Scriggins, Flavin and George Freeman for providing calming roles.
"You can't undervalue the influence blokes like Killian, George and Kelton have . . . a bit more experience,'' Catton said.
That was especially encouraging Pride's young backline including Connor Maynard and Rhys Webster.
In his first senior team match in goals, Tom Reynolds had a solid game, including a crucial save just before halftime that ensured Pride went to the break 3-1 up.
That came after Hirayama shocked Rochedale with two incredible goals in the first four minutes.
He showcased his burst of speed up the right flank before providing lethal shots.
Scriggins' goal consolidate the terrific start that Pride needed against a team which had two wins and a draw heading to Ipswich.
Hirayama completed his hat-trick early in the second half, almost replicating what he delivered in the opening five minutes.
Substitute Jacob Advaney sealed the victory with a great strike in injury time.
"We knew they were going to set up like that,'' Catton said of Rochedale.
"We had a bit of a look at them on the video through the week.''
The team celebrated with a boisterous dressing room chant and a special song for former Ipswich Grammar School student Norris.
He had a strong game in the midfield on his birthday.
"I'm very happy but open-minded as well,'' Catton said.
"The boys put in a massive shift but for me there's certainly working points that we need to improve on.
"Still we have not dealt with the ball well enough in the air . . . and we had a little lapse with both goals.
"That is very much an age thing. We didn't manage the game well enough when it went 4-2.''
But he praised Flavin again for settling the midfield and acknowledged Ben Piper who made his senior team debut.
"As young guys, we've just got to learn to manage the game better,'' the coach said.
Depending on what is decided this week regarding the coronavirus situation, Western Pride's senior side could host an FFA Cup match against Olympic at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex next Saturday night.
The next FQPL match is scheduled for March 28 against Wynnum.
Weekend Football Brisbane matches involving regional teams like the Ipswich City Bulls, Western Spirit and Ripley Valley were postponed.
In the earlier games on Saturday, the Pride under-20 side lost their first match of the season, fighting hard but going down 1-0 to Rochedale.
Pride's under-18 boys drew 2-2 after conceding a 90th minute goal.
State of play
FQPL: Western Pride 5 (Yuta Hirayama 3, Kelton Scriggins, Jacob Advaney) def Rochedale Rovers 2.
U20: Rochedale def Pride 1-0. U18: Pride 2 (Walter Nininahazwe, Asobasi Wilberforce) drew Rochedale 2.