BALL CONTROL: Ipswich City Bulls footballers chase hard during last Saturday's Capital League 1 Reserve Grade match against Annerley at Sutton Park.
BALL CONTROL: Ipswich City Bulls footballers chase hard during last Saturday's Capital League 1 Reserve Grade match against Annerley at Sutton Park. Rob Williams

Football call: Time for Bulls to maintain standards

AFTER Ipswich City's best first half performance of the season, the Bulls know they have enough quality to match the competition's top sides.

However, last weekend's 4-1 Capital League 1 victory over Annerley will count for little if the Bulls fail to conquer the same team in a rematch on Ipswich Cup eve.

Having impressed at Sutton Park, the Bulls face Annerley on their home field at Elder Oval on Friday night.

"I think we just need to keep reminding them how well they can play when we want to,'' Bulls head coach Norbert Duga said.

"They've set the standard now. We just need to keep going one game at a time.

"I think they know too that Annerley will want to turn that result around so it should be enough motivation for them to put in the same performance.''

The Bulls are clinging to a top four spot on 23 points, a spot below North Star on percentages.

Annerley are in fifth, a point below the Bulls.

Duga was delighted with last Saturday's effort, capitalising on a solid win over New Farm United a week earlier.

"It's been a really tough few weeks with players unavailable lately,'' Duga said.

"I know a lot of other clubs will say they've had the same but when you're missing 7-10 players every week it becomes very difficult.''

Jay Kitching and Alex Kitching withdrew on match morning due to illness, on top of the other eight players out.

However, the Bulls top side responded strongly against Annerley.

"Defensively we've been good of late but lacked a little in our finishing,'' Duga said.

"On Saturday night we went out hard early and got our just rewards. We deserved to be 3-0 up and it could really have been 5-0 up if not for some wayward finishing.

"The send-off for Annerley helped our cause but I believe the match was pretty much in our favour by then.''

The Bulls coach was pleased to have Nathan Manttan back and Zygan Condie also finding the net.

"I was going to ease Nate back as our fresh sub but then Chris Speranza's groin was no good so Nate had to come back in from the start,'' Duga said.

"It was maybe a blessing in disguise. He took his goals well. He's enjoying his football and I am super happy for him.

"Composure and Zygan are not two words I usually use in the same sentence but he took his goal really well.''

Duga also praised captain Mark Fancourt for his efforts, after a huge shift at work.

"Mark had one of his best games of the season for us,'' the coach said.

"He was doing all the things I want him to do, hold the ball up, bring others around him into play and just be a big nuisance up front.

"Dane Grant also makes a huge difference to our side. You can tell whenever he plays we just look dangerous so it was great to have him available and available again on Friday night.''

The return clash with Annerley is being played on Ipswich Cup eve so a number of Bulls players can enjoy a day out in the Atomic marquee of their club sponsor.

In Friday night's other regional Capital League 1 match, 11th placed Western Spirit host eighth placed New Farm United at Kippen Park.

Game day

Friday: Capital League 1 (8.30pm) - Ipswich City Bulls v Annerley at Elder Oval; Western Spirit v New Farm United at Kippen Park.

Reserve Grade matches at 6.30pm.