Triple celebration as Ripley Valley claims FFA Cup scalp
AGED 19 and standing six foot eight tall, Joel Bradley is a goalkeeper on the rise.
After keeping a clean sheet in Ripley Valley FC's 2-0 FFA Cup victory over Samford tonight, the young custodian has plenty to look forward to.
His first half efforts in the SEQ 3rd round encounter at South Ripley provided the platform for more experienced players Adam O'Sullivan and captain Alex Weatherby to score decisive goals after the break.
In his second year with the growing Ripley Valley club, Bradley seized on his opportunity to guard the net in what proved a testing encounter.
Among the former Bremer State High School student's best saves was a reactive tip over the crossbar from a free kick when Ripley Valley were under immense defensive pressure.
"I felt like I did really well,'' Bradley said.
"It's always a step forward every game, getting better from here.''
Samford are playing in this year's QPL2 competition after being promoted last season.
Ripley Valley FC are also up a grade, preparing for their Capital League 1 debut next month.
After withstanding Samford's first half onslaught, Ripley Valley's attackers got busy.
O'Sullivan's goal broke the game open before Weatherby was on the spot close to the right post to tap in a neat cross from the ever-dangerous Brodie Kenyon.
The win capped a memorable birthday for club president David Wilson, who received a special cheer along with the team's dressing room victory song.
For former Queensland church soccer representative Bradley, it was an enjoyable start to the new season.
"It was pretty good. They are a good bunch of boys,'' Bradley said.
"It's great spirit and like a family.''
Bradley previously played for Ipswich Knights in club football and for Raceview United in the church league.
He also played AFL for four years at Limestone Park.
Working at Coles, he joined Ripley Valley last year having switched from being a striker to goalkeeper.
"It's the second year I've been goalkeeper coached too so that's only new to me,'' he said.
"Last year, it was always progressing, always listening.''
Those improvements were showcased in today's solid goalkeeping performance.
Bradley praised his defensive formation featuring Schon Hanson, Shane Carr, Jay Burton and Alistair Wallis.
While Ripley Valley could have scored more in their FFA Cup opener, coach Nick Paterson was pleased with the positive start, knowing his team would soon be playing in CL1 for the first time.
"We always pride ourselves on our defensive stuff,'' Paterson said.
"The most pleasing thing is a clean sheet I suppose.
"We have got plenty of areas to improve in but it was a good way to start the season, in a competitive game.
"To beat a QPL side in pre-season is good signs early.''
He said FFA Cup games were better than trials.
"You're actually playing for something so get a true test for where you are at and look forward to see who we get in the next round now,'' he said.
Watching players like Bradley improve was also pleasing for the experienced coach.
"He was good. He's a young kid and he's growing well into the spot,'' Paterson said.
Bulls bundled out
In Saturday night's SEQ third round FFA Cup game, the Ipswich City Bulls were outclassed 12-1 by home side Buderim Wanderers.
The Bulls received a valuable lesson with their first Capital League 1 match against Brisbane Athletic looming large on March 7 at Sutton Park.
The Bulls will finalise their pre-season preparation with a trial against the Ipswich Knights at Sutton Park on Saturday night.
"We're going to be relatively fine going forward,'' head coach Norbert Duga said, clearly disappointed with his team's FFA Cup exit.
"We have a few problems to solve keeping other teams out but that's what we will be sort of concentrating on.''
The Bulls beat Slacks Creek 3-2 in their opening FFA Cup game.
Captain Joel Munn is expected to return soon having taken some personal time off.
Western Spirit were also bundled out of the FFA Cup after losing 5-1 to North Pine on Sunday night.
The Spirit players and coaching staff can now focus on their first Brisbane Premier League match against UQ on March 6 at Kippen Park.