Ipswich club's remarkable football fightback
IF a club's character is measured by how they handle a challenge, the Ipswich Knights are up with the best.
Take a bow new head coach Danny Wilson, his coaching staff and the committed players.
In a week where head coach Graham Ross stood down, the Knights matched powerhouse opponents Lions in all three Brisbane Premier League grades on Sunday.
The under-18 combination started the proverbial ball rolling by beating Lions 4-3 after a hat-trick to Mathew Drummond.
A 2-2 draw by the high-flying Knights Reserve Grade side in the top of the table clash continued the Knights' impressive day out.
But the most important victory was from Wilson's top grade side, which won 2-1 thanks to an injury time goal by Jason Pillay.
After a historic pre-season semi-final win over the Lions in the Silver Boot competition, the Knights united again following two recent defeats.
Coming from a goal down, the Knights held their nerve to equalise through Holland Park right back recruit Jack Cabassi in the 56th minute.
"The boys all got together and they really rallied hard so it was definitely pleasing to do that as well for the club,'' Wilson said.
"It was a great confidence boost for the boys to know after the week that we've had, they've really gone out there, worked hard as a unit and ultimately, they have got a great result for themselves.''
Preparing for his first BPL game in charge, Wilson had a chat to the players about taking ownership, having faith in their ability, being positive and working for the team.
"To their credit, as the game went on, we got stronger and stronger and stronger,'' the new head coach said.
Wilson appreciated support from Reserve Grade coach Bob Maclot, under-18 mentor Andy Ogden and club president Troy Beahan.
"I was a bit nervous going into the game playing Lions,'' Wilson said.
"Ultimately, the boys really bought into what I was trying to do and I have to give them the full credit.''
In a solid team effort at Bundamba, Wilson said Mitch Davis fulfilled a new role well up front and defender Devon Munn impressed after two quiet games.
Wilson was especially delighted with the club's overall performance against reputable opponents.
"I honestly can't remember the last time we got three positive results against Lions,'' he said.
"Lions have a very good side. They will be dangerous.
"I can really see them punishing a side the next week or two.''
The Knights top team have two wins and a draw preparing for their next encounter against Easts away on Friday night.
In Sunday night's Capital League 2 clash, the Ipswich City Bulls outclassed Pine Rivers United 9-2.
Captain Zygan Condie regained his goal-scoring form with a hat-trick at Wendy Allison Park.
Coach Norbert Duga was encouraged by the performance, especially his team's discipline as they prepare to play Annerley at Sutton Park on Saturday night. Annerley is coached by former Bulls mentor Nev O'Sullivan.
"Going forward sometimes we look unstoppable but we still need to tighten up at the back,'' Duga said.
"I was a little bit disappointed we conceded two in the second half but when you score nine maybe I am being a bit too harsh.
"All in all it was a job done, without any standout performances.''
However, the Bulls have some injury concerns with Michael Ward (ankle) and regular goal scorer Jay Kitching (groin).
State of play
BPL: Ipswich Knights 2 (Jack Cabassi, Jason Pillay) def Lions 1. Reserves: Knights 2 (Lucas Wilson, Chris Scott) drew Lions 2. U18: Knights 4 (Mathew Drummond 3, Leon Nunda) d Lions 3.
CL2: Ipswich City Bulls 9 (Zygan Condie 3, Ryan Adekoya New 2, Jay Kitching 2, Ronan Geoghegan 1, Nathan Manttan 1) d Pine Rivers United 2. Reserves: Ipswich City d Pine Rivers 6-0.