FRENCHVILLE SC's FFA Cup dream dissolved in a 7-1 whitewash to the FNQ Heat last night at Ryan Park. It was 90 minutes of high-quality, fast football but the trouble was, it was mostly all one-way.
Frenchville was out-muscled and out-played by the National Premiers League (NPL) side.
Without wanting to make excuses, Frenchville coach Justin Kilshaw agreed the Cairns-based FNQ Heat had bought a very big side south.
"I don't know what they are feeding them up there," Kilshaw said. "That is one of the biggest football sides I have seen. I don't want to make excuses but they were just too big, too fast, too strong and too skilful for us. Their ball movement was superb, so slick, so fast. They play football to that level, that intensity every week. In the first half, we went with them but in the second half, their superior fitness showed and their finishing was first-class."
Playing in an all-orange strip, the Heat put exactly that on Frenchville from the kick-off. At the seven minute mark, some scrappy scrambling defence saw the ball just cleared off the Frenchville goal-line, but not far enough and 30 seconds later in another flurry of feet, it rolled unconvincingly into the Frenchville net.
The Heat controlled the midfield and looked to unleash key player Jamie Carroll down the right flank as much as possible. But he was kept very quiet and largely ineffectual in the first half, thanks to outstanding defence by Frenchville's Ryan Hickey.
On 10 minutes, Frenchville played a nicely worked one-two between captain Jesse Thompson and striker Michael Cay down their right flank. It came to nothing but showed promise and that Frenchville was starting to find some confidence and its passing game was beginning to stick.
At times, however, Frenchville was its own worst enemy, trying too hard with their short, quick passing game in defence, instead of just clearing the ball long against such formidable opposition. Such an instance occurred on the 12 minute mark and goalkeeper Robbie Day was forced to make a hasty clearing kick.
The first half highlight for Frenchville came on 15 minutes when Michael Cay sent a sublime, long, perfectly weighted through ball to Paul Jackson on the far side. Jackson ran on to it beautifully on the left flank and unleashed a shot which was just deflected wide by the Heat keeper.
But not long after, the tide turned and the Orange wave crashed constantly on Day's goal, the brave keeper making three fearless dives at the feet of oncoming Heat strikers. Day's goalkeeping was assured and impressive in the first half - a less confident and able goalie could have leaked a lot more.
The floodgates opened in the second half, a Jordan Miller penalty the only consolation for Frenchville late in the game.