Kiwi keeper Tim Cornthwaite, with his captain Troy Ruthven, will get his chance.
Kiwi keeper Tim Cornthwaite, with his captain Troy Ruthven, will get his chance. Allan Reinikka

CQ Cougars show their class

TWO first half goals from Michael Cay were a highlight of the CQ Cougars first major test as the team prepares for the 2012 QSL season.

Emerald Eagles had put together a good performance, but there was a gulf between CQ Premier League and the QSL with the Cougars easing to a 5-0 win at Blackwater Sports Complex.

Nevertheless there was plenty both Cougars coach Joe Fenech and Eagles coach John Salogni could take away from the fixture.

The arrival of the two teams on to the playing pitch was a signal for the rain, which had threatened for much of the afternoon, to finally arrive.

This made playing conditions even more difficult as there was already a strong breeze and muggy atmospheric conditions to contend with.

Fenech had a change of mind with his team, preferring Michael Cay for the striker's role rather than play his big triallist Gerard Ouffoue.

With Dylan Kussrow playing in front of a composed back four, the Cougars took control of the early part of the match and looked dangerous each time they attacked down the left flank as Rudi Mozr linked well with Jordan Miller.

However, it was through the middle that the two first half goals came with Cay catching Eagles square at the back and then running through to majestically chip keeper Glenn Gilmour who was caught in "no man's land" as he was forced off his line to limit Cay's options.

Unfortunately, the Cougars lost momentum when Kussrow was forced from the park with a serious finger injury from a freak accident and the game became a little messy although the Eagles rarely looked like getting a goal until the second half.

The introduction of Ben Ross provided the Eagles with their best chances and also trialling goalkeeper Tim Cornthwaite with the only save he had to make the whole day after being a virtual spectator during the Reserve game curtain-raiser.

Fenech took the opportunity of giving his three keepers a chance to prove themselves but none of them were given much opportunity to show their capabilities.

In the second half two goals from Chris Swain either side of a tremendous goal from Tyler Stross sealed the match for a Cougars team that showed it could be a chance for the finals, showing style in portions of the game with the one-touch running football spectators enjoy to watch.

As predicted by Fenech there was a lack of continuity at times, especially when changes were made but as he pointed out "trial games are for the coaches".

A number of players were tested in different areas of the park with Mozr taking Kussrow's role as a defensive midfielder, Johnathon Sauer playing deeper after starting the match just behind Cay and Jarrrod Lancaster moving from a wide position to take the more attacking role Sauer had vacated.

In midfield Sander Waterland looks impressive but did himself very few favours with poor options and losing possession in areas that left his defence exposed.

Fenech said it was something he needed to work on with the player but added that conditions also worked against the midfielder.

"The condition of the pitch," he said, " it was very thick (grass), he couldn't get the ball out of his feet."

"Sander is a quality player but played to 50-60% of his potential."

Fenech felt the team tried too hard to impress in the first half.

For the Cougars Mozr and Jan Urban stood out but realistically all the players tested can be reasonably happy with their work.

Fenech said he liked Eagles defender Shannon Elford.

"He wouldn't go astray in a Cougars jersey," he said.

Also Hayden Hearne caught Fenech's eye.


Played at Blackwater Sports Complex

Cougars 5 (Michael Cay 2, Chris Swain 2, Tyler Stross) def Emerald Eagles 0

Half time 2-0

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