Intriguing local derby as Knights, Pride chase top three
HAVING been at the receiving end of what they have delivered in recent weeks, the Ipswich Knights are on high alert for Friday night's local derby.
"I'm thinking it's going to be different to last year,'' astute Knights head coach Andy Ogden said, refocusing on his team's next clash against Western Pride.
"I think Brian (Pride head coach Brian Hastings) is going to be a lot more conservative and try and stay as solid as he can and then hit us on the break and things like that. But who knows?''
The Knights had the edge over Pride last year, winning the first derby 2-1 before a 4-1 victory in the return bout.
Both Ipswich-based teams prepare for Friday night's showdown at Bundamba coming off losses.
After Western Pride went down 3-2 to Souths United on Saturday night, the Knights suffered a 5-1 defeat to Rochedale in Sunday night's away game.
The latest game was the reverse of what the Knights had produced in previous games. Instead of turning on the goalscoring firepower in the second half, the Knights could only watch as Rochedale netted four after the break.
For Ogden, the result highlighted the fragile nature of missed opportunities and having the right attitude.
The Knights could have been in front 2-1 after Nick Edwards missed a first half penalty.
That came after Lucky Joe netted the Knights first goal.
"Up to halftime, we were very competitive, very good,'' Ogden said. "Probably could have been ahead to be honest.''
However, as the Knights had done in previous premiership and FFA Cup games, Rochedale stepped up the intensity when it mattered to capitalise on their opportunities.
"They came out in the second half in a lot more aggressive mood,'' Ogden said.
Although the Knights kept in touch for a while, Rochedale showed why they are competition leaders, securing their sixth win from seven games.
"Rochedale's team is very, very solid,'' Ogden said.
"They just looked on the day faster, fitter, stronger.
"We were a bit naive defensively.
"The first half we were decent but no one is going to survive in a league if you can only play 45 minutes.''
That's why Friday night's local derby shapes as an intriguing battle.
"I think Brian is the same as me,'' Ogden said. "I don't think he can look at any games and think 'we are assured of getting a result here'.
"All of a sudden, the bottom half of the table has definitely separated and the top three (Rochedale, Brisbane City and South West Queensland) are really getting away from everyone.
"The rest of us, it is a toss of the coin . . . it's attitude and who turns up on the day, do you get that little bit of luck you deserve?''
Despite their third loss of the season, the Knights clung onto fourth spot on nine points, just ahead of Western Pride, who have a game in hand.
However, the Knights and Pride are already six points behind third placed South West Queensland.
Meanwhile, the Western Pride women went down 4-3 to Easts in Sunday night's National Premier Leagues game at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
Pride suffered their second loss of the season despite still being in the hunt for at least a draw.
Captain Meaghan McElligott's 87th minute goal reduced the deficit to 4-3 after Easts scored three second half goals.
Abbey Lloyd and Kate Webb were Pride's other goal scorers either side of halftime.
Pride is in ninth place on the congested NPLW table with three wins, two draws and two losses.
Pride play the Sunshine Coast Wanderers in their next game on Sunday afternoon at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.