By Casey O'Connor
On Tuesday, Stanthorpe United Redbacks took on USQ in a catch up round of the fixtures. The game played in Toowoomba. Both teams have been at the top of their game. Both were coming off impressive wins and eyeing off a spot in the Presidents Cup Final which will be played for during the second round of fixtures. In spite of having to travel to Toowoomba after working all day United were determined it would not affect their performance.
The game was physically from the get go. Both teams keen to assert their ascendancy resulting in a number of free kicks early in the game
Both sides quickly settled into their rhythm and played some great football. Thompson, Rametta and Mascadri all had opportunities to score but their shots were either wide of the target or saved by desperate USQ defence.
USQ were also guilty of wasting their opportunities as the opening 20 minutes confirmed it was going to be an entertaining game.
United’s Simon Mascadri scored the first goal of the game after some good work from Ace McDonald in the midfield. The United midfield of Murphy, Purcell, McDonald and Mascadri worked tirelessly in the middle of the pitch in both defence and attack. As the season progresses they are creating some great combinations. The score at the break was one-nil in United’s favour.
The second began in similar fashion to the first half. A fast pace with plenty of scoring opportunities. Brad Thompson continued his recent scoring prowess finding the back of the net in the 60th minute. The goal gave United a much needed two-nil buffer.
USQ then lifted the ante in attack, however Halford and his central defensive partner Andrew Crestani remained calm defusing anything USQ sent their way.
The United Coach introduced Dylan Politch into the game with 15-minutes remaining. The move provided United with fresh legs and pace up front.
Politch used this to his advantage and attacked out wide delivering a great ball to Thompson to score his second goal and give United unassailable three-nil lead and minutes later a well deserved
It was a great team effort and well done to Jamie Carnell who managed to keep another clean sheet.
Jared Hitchener and Jordan Lanza were outstanding in their fullback roles. Their overlapping runs created havoc for USQ and was backed up by uncompromising defence. It was a near perfect display by two of the youngest members of the squad.
This win catapulted Stanthorpe United into top spot on the Football Toowoomba Premier League table. It is an amazing comeback after the team lost two of their first three games in the League.
Despite the recent success of the team, the coaching staff and players are not getting carried away. They will continue to focus on one game at a time. With just three points separating first and fifth everyone involved is aware how tough this competition is.
The Redbacks enjoyed a bye last weekend but head to Queen’s Park tonight (Thursday 10 September) where they will host top four rivals St Albans in a rescheduled game that was washed out. The game should be a beauty and begins at 7.30pm.
United need just one more point to secure a place in the President’s Cup final but the team will be chasing a win and three points to retain their place at the top of the table.
On Saturday they host a re-match with USQ. That game also to be played on the Queens park field in Warwick. The game commences at 5pm.
The results of both match will be pivotal in determining United’s top our chances. They will also provide an opportunity for Stanthorpe football lovers to support the local boys who are doing a great job of showcasing Granite Belt Football at its best in the top league in the district.