GRIPPING EFFORT: Western Pride defender Nielen Brown works hard to keep the Noosa Lions player under control during the FFA Cup match at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
GRIPPING EFFORT: Western Pride defender Nielen Brown works hard to keep the Noosa Lions player under control during the FFA Cup match at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex. Chris Simpson

Better condition: Ipswich team tracking for more glory

IT'S amazing what a difference playing 120 minutes of pressure football makes.

But it's not only a boost in confidence gained from winning such an epic extra-time game.

Battling hard and getting through a tough encounter shows a team's conditioning is improving.

That's why Western Pride head coach Terry Kirkham believes his side is ready for its next two National Premier Leagues matches at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.

Pride tackles Moreton Bay United at their home base tonight buoyed by their 3-2 extra-time victory over the Noosa Lions last Saturday night.

Noosa were unbeaten in 28 games playing in their Sunshine League competition before meeting Pride in the annual national knockout series.

Although they had some luck securing a penalty, Noosa quickly showed they were an accomplished team that had been together and enjoyed success.

"The own goal (to force extra time) was a disappointment with one minute to go but the team now has shown we can play for 90 minutes and we are improving all the time,'' Kirkham said.

GPS measurements during the game reinforced that.

"Of the six to eight boys that were tracked, they ran between 11 and 13k's and at a high intensity the whole game which says that's very good match conditioning,'' Kirkham said.

"I actually think that's probably the conditioning we needed going into Wednesday night's game.''

Just weeks ago, the Pride players were running an average 8km in a game and only for 55 minutes.

"When we look at that and look at the data, it sort of says we're increasing . . . we've got to get to a stage where we can compete with everyone for 90 minutes,'' Kirkham said.

 

New Western Pride head coach Terry Kirkham.
Western Pride head coach Terry Kirkham. Rob Williams

Despite the extra demands required to win the round 4 FFA Cup game, Kirkham was confident of fielding a similar side tonight.

Switching from attack to centre back this season, Nielen Brown had an outstanding game against Noosa, working well with under-20 players Ben Barratt and Griffin Trevett-Lyall.

That allowed visa player Patrick Izett to increase his work-load in the middle with 50-gamer Jacob Minett.

Kirkham was also encouraged by the creative efforts of Kelton Scriggins and Jen Louis "Pappy'' Mbarushayo up the flanks.

Feli Sheriff and Michael Morrow had big impacts off the bench after Mitch Bird showed extra energy pushing forward to score Pride's first goal on Saturday night.

"We've been dominating games for the last five weeks,'' Kirkham said.

"It was a pretty good result to play against a team like that.

"We got a lot of things right.

"The most positive thing is the brand of football that the boys are playing.

"Now we have got to convert that FFA Cup win into league games.''

 

 

Western Pride striker Michael Morrow duels with a Noosa Lions player during the FFA Cup match at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
Western Pride striker Michael Morrow duels with a Noosa Lions player during the FFA Cup match at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex. Chris Simpson

A vital addition tonight could be striker Alex Parsons, who has been cleared from a recent ankle injury. He is likely to start on the bench.

After tonight's game, Pride play NPL opponents Lions in an Easter Monday late afternoon match.

"It's going to be an exciting time,'' the head coach said.

"If we can get some points against Moreton Bay - going the way we've been going the last five weeks - we'll be very, very confident going into the Lions game as well.''

Game day

NPL: Tonight (7.30pm) - Western Pride v Moreton Bay United. Easter Monday (5pm): Western Pride v Lions. Both men's matches are at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.

The Western Pride women are scheduled to play Logan in the 3pm NPL match at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex on Easter Monday.