End of the beginning
IT'S coming down to the business end of the Stanwell Cup pre-season competition as the teams still involved look to get their line-ups settled ahead of the start of the CQ Premier League.
At Webber Park, Nerimbera recorded a good win over the 2011 Wesley Hall Cup winner Centrals, coming from 1-0 down to win 3-1.
Centrals scored early in the first half and looked comfortable defending that lead until it lost a player for giving Matt Black a nudge from behind when he was about to shoot for goal with just the keeper to beat.
That foul earned Nerimbera a free kick on the edge of the box which came to nothing but the damage was done as the Gladstone-based team had to play with a man down.
While Nerimbera had plenty of possession in the first half, they rarely looked dangerous but that changed in the second spell as they exploited Central's weaknesses down the flanks.
The first goal was easy enough as Patrick Gomes, on the far post, only had to side-foot a low right wing cross into the net.
Midfielder Ben Gregg made it 2-1 when he was on hand to head home after Central's keeper had pushed a shot onto the crossbar.
With Nerimbera on top, Josh Mutch made it 3-1 with a low drive after good build-up play down the Nerimbera right flank.
Coach Roy Benson said he was satisfied with his team's display. "We learnt a lot on the weekend," he said.
"I still consider us ahead of where I thought we would be at this stage.
"Match practice is needed for such a new team."
Benson said Scotty Hutchens started his first game at premier league level (right back), while Josh Mutch, who played in goal for the club two seasons ago before suffering a shoulder injury, had his first taste as an outfield player with the premiers.
At Apex Park, Emerald beat Frenchville 1-0 with both teams set to progress to the next stage of the Stanwell Cup, Frenchville as the best loser.
Emerald coach John Salogni warns competition sides they have yet to see the best of the league's new boys as he still has some quality players coming in. "We are still concentrating on playing the type of football I want them to play," he said.
With a number of players missing, the coach gave 15-year-old Erenne Niyonsaba a run in the middle of the park and was not disappointed."I've got to give credit to Frenchville, it was a great game," he said. The goal was scored by Tim O'Rourke who usually operates as a defensive midfielder but was given a run up front to cover missing players.
Capricorn Coast had home advantage but were unable to take advantage, going down 4-1 to a powerful Clinton side.
"We were found out big time," Coast coach Justin Kilshaw said. "It was an indicator of where we are at."
Kilshaw has had a disrupted pre-season with the bulk of his players not coming together until two weeks ago. "We had a couple of patches where we created chances and looked good," he said.
Coast's only goal came from Jack Frahm to make it 3-1 but the team was unable to get back into the game.
Emerald 1 def Frenchville 0 Nerimbera 3 def Central 1
Clinton 4 def Capricorn Coast 1
Semi-finals - Saturday:
Clinton v Frenchville - Pilbeam Park 5pm
Emerald v Nerimbera - Pilbeam Park 7pm