'Gutted' Pride battling on after cruel football setback
FOOTBALL: What looked like an innocuous defensive play has resulted in a season-ending injury to Western Pride's number one goalkeeper Max Davison.
Davison, who last month celebrated his 19th birthday, was taken to hospital after fracturing his fibula in Saturday night's 5-1 victory over Brisbane Roar Youth at Logan.
Play was stopped after 11 minutes to arrange for Davison's trip to hospital.
"It looked like nothing. He wasn't challenged or anything,'' concerned Pride coach Reg Davani said.
"It was a cross into the box and he was moving his feet across to wait for the ball . . . and then his foot got caught in the ground and his body is going one way and it was locked in.''
Davison, one of Pride's most consistent players this season, had positioned himself like that many times this season preparing for corner crosses.
"I feel sorry for the kid because he's good. He's been someone who is looking to improve every day,'' Davani said.
"Now this has happened.''
Pride general manager Pat Boyle escorted Davison to hospital after he was stretchered from the Logan field.
"He went to take off and it (his leg) just went from him,'' Boyle said.
Boyle said Davison's right leg was put in a cast late on Saturday night while waiting for further advice from a surgeon.
"Just to see him on that stretcher last night, I was just devastated for him,'' he said.
Pride replacement keeper Justin Weier stepped in to complete the match, playing his first National Premier Leagues senior team role since early 2017.
Weier has also been a dependable performer in Pride's high-flying under-20 side this season.
Pride were 1-0 down when Davison was taken to hospital.
Davani was impressed how his team came back after the serious injury to Davison and being down on the scoreboard.
Defender Hayden Mchenery levelled the scores before halftime, from some neat play build-up.
Ever-reliable midfielder Adam Endean put Pride up 2-1 with a super strike before Mitch Herrmann, Joe Duckworth and captain Jesse Rigby secured the victory. That kept Pride in second spot for the fast-approaching finals.
Duckworth's 40th NPL goal equalled Roar recruit Dylan Wenzel-Halls as Pride's all-time leading goal-scorer.
"Dyl did it in like 30 less games than me but I've been around long enough so it's nice,'' the modest footballer said. "You don't really focus too much on that.''
Herrmann's goal was his first in senior football and a breakthrough goal at any level since rising through Pride's ranks in under 13.
Duckworth said all the players were gutted after seeing Davison stretchered from the field.
The cruel setback comes after Pride earlier lost a number of key players and staff this year.
They include Wenzel-Halls to Roar, Dan Hall (Central Coast Mariners), Fraser Hills (Gold Coast United), Jordan Lambi and Salomon Lukonga (season-ending injuries), Gabby Hawash (suspension), former head coach Graham Harvey (Hong Kong) and operations manager Dan Burnell (Mackay).
However, Pride look to have a top three spot locked up for the finals with a talented squad that keeps battling on.
With another exciting talent Alex Parsons rested on Saturday night, Herrmann and energetic midfielder Josh Wilson played key roles.
Striker Andy Pengelly also returned against Roar after a short break managing a hip injury.
"It's been a season with lots of ups and downs,'' Davani said. "That's nothing new for us.
"The squad is good enough to adjust. We'll be okay.''
NPL: Western Pride 5 (Hayden Mchenery, Adam Endean, Mitch Herrmann, Joe Duckworth, Jesse Rigby) def Brisbane Roar Youth 1.
NPL women: Easts d Western Pride 5-0 at Heath Park.