TOUGH BATTLE: Western Pride midfielder Mitch Bird makes a run during the FFA Cup match against Brisbane City.
TOUGH BATTLE: Western Pride midfielder Mitch Bird makes a run during the FFA Cup match against Brisbane City. Chris Simpson

Top football side's first loss in 10 weeks

FOOTBALL: It's hardly panic stations after Western Pride lost their first match since early February.

However, head coach Graham Harvey was keen for his players to use a week off to reflect after bowing out of the annual FFA Cup knockout competition.

The National Premier Leagues competition leaders went down 4-1 to Brisbane City at Newmarket, having last lost to Olympic 3-2 on February 10.

"They are disappointed,'' Harvey said.

"All the boys had good goals to try and push forward in the Cup.

"It gives us a chance to refocus and make sure we're right for the league (NPL).''

Pride were without their respected captain Jesse Rigby who suffered ankle ligament damage in last weekend's 5-0 NPL win over Redlands United.

Harvey said Rigby was likely to miss 4-6 weeks.

"It's middle range. Not as bad as we were thinking,'' the coach said.

However, Harvey was keen to have his key midfielder back to finish the season.

Former Brisbane Roar defender Cam Crestani captained the side on Tuesday night, having performed the same role in Pride's earlier FFA Cup win over Mt Gravatt.

Crestani will remain as skipper during Rigby's recovery.

Harvey said Brisbane City provided a strong challenge to his well-drilled side.

"You have to give a lot of credit to Brisbane City,'' Harvey said.

"They just played better than us, to be fair, on the night.

"They scored three goals either side of halftime at really important times in the game.''

That included a penalty on the stroke of halftime.

Pride's only goal came an hour into the match from a penalty to Joe Duckworth.

"It was a good competitive Cup tie,'' Harvey said.

"They just took their chances. We missed another penalty as well, which if we had scored it would have made it 2-2 and the momentum was with us.''

The penalties were for a last-man tackle and a trip.

Pride's next match is against the same side on Saturday week at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex fortress.

Harvey said his team would be better prepared for the return clash.

"They (Brisbane City) are a good side. I don't think their league position (7th) at the moment is doing them justice,'' Harvey said.

"We just need to go back, watch videos and make sure that we are improving in key areas.

"It gives the boys a little bit of a reality shot.

"Check a few things, go over how we want to play and how we want to defend and just make sure we continue at training to push our standards.

"You've got to be on top of your game every week to win games and that's where the boys have really excelled in the last 10 weeks.''

Pleasing for Harvey from Tuesday night's match was having midfielder Mitch Bird play another 75 minutes, on the comeback trail after dealing with osteistis pubis.

Emerging talents Dan Hall and Josh Wilson also received some valuable game time.

FFA Cup Rd 5: Brisbane City 4 def Western Pride 1 (Joe Duckworth penalty).

Next match: May 12 v Brisbane City in NPL match at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.



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