Alex's double helps Pride strike back after testing week
FOOTBALL: Tackling a run of away games and recent losses, the Western Pride players and head coach expected a chilly reception in Toowoomba.
They got it. However, as the closeknit group has done all season, they "got the job done'' with a 4-1 win over South West Thunder.
Propelled suddenly to head coach on his own, Reg Davani was thrilled how his team hit back following a rare 5-1 loss a week earlier.
"Moreton Bay was just one of those days, just a bad day at the office,'' Davani said.
"The reaction this week has been positive, especially after at the start of the week when (operations manager and assistant coach) Dan Burnell announced he was leaving (to join the Magpies Crusaders).
"It's been an eventful year for the players but they are coping well.''
Davani has been given extra responsibility looking after the club's top side and under 20s since his mentor Graham Harvey accepted a professional coaching role in Hong Kong.
Davani backed what he has learnt by injecting exciting Pride talent Alex Parsons into a starting role on Saturday.
Parsons netted Pride's first and fourth goals in what proved an important decision after struggling to score against Moreton Bay United.
"He's been playing well in the 20s and been on the bench for the first team the last few weeks,'' Davani said of Parsons.
"Every time he's come on, he's been positive.
"I just thought this week we needed to put an out-and-out striker up there.
"He's earnt his place in the starting side.''
Pride led 2-0 at halftime after the hard-working Nielen Brown added to Parson's opening goal. Speedster Mitch Bird came off the bench to score Pride's third goal with four minutes of regular time left.
Parsons added the proverbial icing with his second in injury time.
Brown also started the game with key defender Will McFarlane back following a one-week suspension.
The win in Toowoomba keeps Pride in the top three with new leaders Lions beating Moreton Bay United 1-0.
"It was a bit of a scrappy affair topped off by the conditions, which certainly made it difficult,'' the coach said.
"A trip away . . . . in the end we did a good job.''
With another road trip to Mackay for a catch-up NPL game this weekend, Davani said it was important his team keep focused and an "eye on the prize''.
"The group is good enough to be playing finals football,'' Davani said.
The Western Pride women lost 4-1 to Logan at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex on Saturday afternoon.
Fleet-footed striker Zoe Lambi scored her 10th goal of the season.
Lauren Veeren started in goals for Pride.
Ashley Commons played her last game for Pride before heading overseas for a college stint in the US.
In other weekend results, the Ipswich Knights lost 3-0 to FQ Premier League competition leaders Peninsula away on Saturday night.
The Ipswich City Bulls kept their top four hopes alive with a 3-0 win over Oxley United at Sutton Park.
Western Spirit went down 3-1 to title contenders Caboolture at Kippen Park, also on Saturday night.