Kelton motivated to keep winning for 'best' family club
DESPERATE, determined and dependable.
Having played nearly every minute for Western Pride this season, Kelton Scriggins has endured the rollercoaster ride more than anyone.
So it was fitting that Scriggins was one of the standout players in his team's drama-charged 2-1 state league football victory over Gold Coast United.
Battling to remain in next year's National Premier Leagues competition, Pride needed to win on Saturday night to keep their hopes alive.
The home side did in gripping fashion, scoring two superb goals and repelling some relentless late attack from their sixth-placed opponents.
"We needed it big time,'' Scriggins said, after sharing the nerve-racking victory with his delighted teammates, club officials and fans in a packed and jubilant dressing room.
"With six weeks left to go, that just puts us right in it now.
"We need to get a few more points against the top teams and if we do, I think we can get out of this (relegation trouble).''
Reflecting on Pride's mighty effort to keep Gold Coast out, Scriggins praised head coach Terry Kirkham for his commitment.
"Our defensive work tonight, that's what we've been working on every week,'' Scriggins said.
"It's the best I've ever seen the team play.''
Pride's victory moved them within three points of the safety zone, helped by Magpies Crusaders losing 4-1 to Moreton Bay.
In his first year with Pride, Scriggins has been the proverbial rock in the backline.
On Saturday night, he had to blend with two new defensive teammates in exciting Ipswich Grammar School teenager Connor Maynard and regular striker Michael Morrow, who also performed brilliantly being switched to right back.
"Connor's a good lad,'' Scriggins said. "He just listens to everything. And Michael (being moved into defence) worked. His pace just helps him.''
Scriggins, who turns 21 in October, joined Pride this season searching for a higher level opportunity having previously played in Capital League 1 (North Pine) and Premier League (Southside Eagles).
He has rewarded the faith of Kirkham by being one of Pride's most consistent performers this season.
"I'm just trying to get better and better, just learn every year,'' Scriggins said, having grown up in Redcliffe and played football since he was six.
"He (Kirkham) got me down here and I just listen to him every week. This year I have improved so much.
"He (Kirkham) just helps me all the time.''
Scriggins, who works long hours as a water proofer tradie, was thrilled with Pride's all-round performance on Saturday night.
At the other end of the field, Pride also produced some outstanding attack.
If not for the brilliant agility of Gold Coast keeper Tim Lahiff, Pride's win could have easily been by another three or four goals such were the multitude of shots deflected or saved.
Pride went up 1-0 in the 14th minute after Mustafa Jafari pounced on a ball in the goal mouth and drove it home.
Gold Coast levelled at 1-1 before former Ipswich Grammar School student Alex Parsons scored one of his specials. The attacking speedster wrongfooted his defensive opponent, before delivering a sweet angled strike that gave Lahiff no chance.
Jafari continually threatened the Gold Coast goalline with his legs pumping like pistons.
Afghan international Zelfy Nazary was also superb, covering more sections of the field than any other player on Saturday night.
"Finally, it's just working for us,'' Scriggins said, noting how Pride's recent win over Sunshine Coast was a turning point.
"A lot weren't going our way in previous weeks but it's just all come together and it's so much better.''
Fireworks and a flame show enhanced Pride's spiriting performance. But it was in an overflowing dressing room that the growing hope of NPL survival reached a new level.
"It just shows how much the club has come together,'' Scriggins said.
"Look how many people came in the dressing room . . . that's why I want to put in everything each week just because I want this club to stay up.
"I've never played at a club that is so family orientated.''
NPL: Western Pride 2 (Mustafa Jafari, Alex Parsons) def Gold Coast United 1.