Italian recruit ‘Will’ helps Pride maintain unbeaten record
WITH his burst of speed and lethal zigzagging runs, Atillio "Will'' Asante deserved to score his first premiership goal for Western Pride.
He was heavily marked and crunch tackled on a chilly Thursday night in Ipswich yet still produced a classic header to secure Pride's third consecutive victory of the Football Queensland Premier League 1 season.
But don't bother calling him Atillio.
The Italian-bred attacking weapon is happy to be known by his "Aussie name'' Will or William.
Asante's 79th minute matchwinner at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex set up Pride's latest victory over a determined Southside Eagles side.
"The goal was like a plus for us,'' Asante said, happy how his team worked hard to break the deadlock.
"To be honest, everybody is like talking them (Southside Eagles) down but they are pretty strong. They are going to get some results.
"We just had to be patient, keep the ball and turn them around.''
Beating Southside Eagles on home turf came after Pride's wins over Wynnum 1-0 and Mitchelton 3-2, following a first round bye and some washouts.
But with the latest catch-up match won, Pride have a week to reflect on their next opponent - competition heavyweights South West Thunder in Toowoomba on May 1.
Asante, 26, was excited about that contest - after a short break.
"I'm looking forward to the week off,'' he said.
"I'm just going to rest and take a little bit of my mind off the football.''
Western Pride also have the local derby against the Ipswich Knights looming large at Bundamba on May 14.
That Friday night game is keenly anticipated with both Ipswich-based sides having produced some early wins.
The Knights tackle Souths United in tonight's fifth round FFA Cup match at Bundamba.
For Asante, joining Western Pride has been a positive move after playing for Coomera in the Gold Coast Premier League.
"It's beautiful,'' he said, having been made feel welcome at the Ipswich-based club after trialling for a spot on the new-look squad.
"I'm looking forward to go up with Western Pride and then we'll see from there.''
Although having one of his "worst years'' in 2020 by his standards, he has been a regular goal scorer in the past.
Asante shrugged off being heavily targeted on Thursday night, expecting that in the premier league competition.
"They did but that's football so I'm taking it,'' he said.
He is enjoying his football in Queensland, rating it "good, it's fun''.
But having grown up and played semi-professional football in Italy, he has noticed the different styles.
"Italian football is not as aggressive,'' he said. "In here it is more aggressive and faster but we (Italians) are more tactical and more skilful.''
He came to Australia two years ago, planning to stay in the country.
"I was in England and I was studying (business and administration) then I played over there for a bit and then I chose to come over here,'' he said.
Living at the Gold Coast, Asante is busy working as a glazier around Ipswich and south east Queensland.
He also likes spending time in the gym to keep fit and "stay away from injuries''.
Asante has played in every match so far for Pride.
On Thursday night, Pride's defensive line of Aidan Norris, Mark Ingerson, Ben Piper and Kelton Scriggins held strong against some threatening Southside Eagles attack.
Goalkeeper Jake Reesby directed his team superbly, making some crucial close range saves to finish with another clean slate.
Pride manufactured some positive attack with Byron McLeod, Isaac Davey and Abraham Wani heavily involved in pushing forward, supported by the steadying influence of captain Killian Flavin.
They gave former Western Pride National Premier Leagues goalkeeper Justin Weier a workout in his current role with Southside Eagles.
Western Pride's under-23 side won the earlier match 3-1, their first victory of the season after a 1-1 draw with Wynnum and 5-0 loss to Mitchelton.
Patrick Hazell, Daniel Kovacevic and Ollie Lunn scored for Pride in the latest game.
The Pride women head to Cornubia Park to play Logan on Saturday night after a 2-2 draw with Souths United in Tuesday night's catch-up match.
FQPL1: Western Pride 1 (Will Asante) def Southside Eagles 0 at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.