Derby ignites new passion between Ipswich sides
INAUGURAL Western Pride footballer Josh Wilson would never have expected to finish the local derby wearing the captain's arm band for the Ipswich Knights.
But knowing most of his former teammates, Wilson enjoyed the added challenge of replacing defender Ben Taylor when he left the field late in the game.
Helping the Knights hold out a determined Pride threat to win 2-1 enhanced a terrific Football Queensland Premier League encounter at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
"It was good fun, good intensity,'' Wilson, 21, said.
The skilful midfielder was one of the first players to join Pride as a junior when the club was formed in 2013.
He remained with the club, working his way up the grades, until switching to the Knights this season.
Saturday night's game was an important chance to see how the young footballer handled extra pressure in his new Ipswich team.
"I just wanted to beat them (Pride) because I knew all of the boys on the other team,'' Wilson said.
After enjoying his stint at Pride, Wilson was pleased to see the Knights get the job done in his first Ipswich derby.
"I just think all the boys got around each other,'' he said.
"We're friends off the pitch as well so that always helps.
"Training is good. The coaches are good. It's a good environment.''
After the earlier under-20 and under-18 games ended in draws, the scene was set for another cracking battle in the long-awaited main match.
Although most of the players were new to derby-style football, it was like an Ipswich Knights reunion at Flinders View with many former players and supporters joining Pride's regular home fan base.
"The Pit'', Pride's loyal and noisy sideline supporter's club, was overwhelmed by the Knights chants in the grandstand.
But that's what derbies are about. Ipswich football is the winner.
The Knights looked a better side in the first half with more fluent play.
Lachlan Munn opened the scoring in the 10th minute, netting his eighth goal of the season, after some great lead-up play by Sho Otsuka and Lucky Joe.
When another former Pride player Mitch Herrmann added his second goal this year from a rebound before halftime, the visitors were threatening to take charge.
But one of the tremendous appeals of local derbies over many years has been the never give-up attitude.
Western Pride midfielder Ben Piper injected dramatic new life into the game when he scored his first goal for the club after the break.
With newly signed goalkeeper Jace Hudson and minus regular captain Adam Sawyer, Pride dug deep to give the Knights some major scares.
The derby featured some fantastic match-ups including Wilson against former Pride teammate Will Orford in the midfield.
Stand-in Pride captain Nielen Brown had some terrific tussles with his former teammate Herrmann.
Knights standout performer Sho Otsuka had to work hard to make ground against Pride's experienced midfield opponent Killian Flavin.
Former Pride striker Michael Morrow was back on familiar turf trying to find a way around the dependable Knights defence.
Pride's recent hat-trick hero Nathan Yoon was kept in check by Pride defender Taylor before he got injured.
Knights head coach Andy Odgen thought his team could have been further ahead in the first half but knew a 2-0 halftime lead left the door open for Pride.
"Pride had a good second half and made it a real contest,'' Ogden said.
Ready to enjoy a beer, Ogden was thrilled to see the three matches all being close affairs.
As he said before the match, Ogden hopes the latest derbies generate more interest in Ipswich football.
"I spoke to Andy (Pride coach Andrew Catton before the game) and we are both in the same situation,'' Ogden said.
"We've got reasonably young squads that are looking to develop and I thought they (Pride) played some decent stuff and we played some decent stuff.
"It was a good derby.''
Having caught up on all their recent matches, the Ipswich Knights have a bye this weekend.
Western Pride can continue their steady progress taking on Logan away next Saturday night.
STATE OF PLAY
FQPL: Ipswich Knights 2 (Lachlan Munn, Mitch Herrmann) def Western Pride 1 (Ben Piper).
U20: Western Pride 1 (Campbell Hurry) drew Ipswich Knights 1 (Matt Drummond).
U18: Western Pride drew Ipswich Knights 2-2.