Knights set standard overcoming massive challenges
FACING three of the competition's heavyweight sides in the early rounds, the Ipswich Knights have made a near perfect start to the Football Queensland Premier League season.
Not even a late game change and an unexpected match on astro turf could stop the Knights taking their impressive pre-season form into the 2021 competition opener.
The Knights overpowered Mitchelton 5-2 at Teralba Park on Sunday night.
That came after the game originally scheduled for Friday night at Bundamba was moved to Mitchelton's home base on Sunday.
After arriving at the away venue, the Knights had to contend with the unfamiliar astro turf and field set-up issues when earlier games were played on grass.
Head coach Andy Ogden praised his team for overcoming the early season challenges to complete a confidence-boosting victory.
"We played some really, really good football,'' Ogden said.
"At least four of the five goals were really good team goals.
"I can't speak highly enough of what we did.''
He was pleased to see his team build on its pre-season form where the Knights scored 15 goals in three lead-up games.
Dependable striker Nick Edwards netted a double on Sunday night, supported by Lucky Joe, Mitch Herrmann and new recruit Fiston Chungu.
The Knights led 3-1 at halftime.
Ogden said his team's attitude was terrific with striker Herrmann having a superb game stepping up with prolific goal scorer Darryl Barton sick.
Flyn Park played a valuable support role coming into the side.
"We've set a standard now,'' the coach said.
"Our backline is I believe better than last year.''
That features Ben Barratt, Mitsuda Masahiro, Nick Piper and Matthew Haspels.
"And Mitchy are a good squad,'' Ogden said.
"I got no illusions that Mitchy will go on and cause problems for a lot of teams.
"We just got the wood on them.''
With clashes against South West Thunder (Saturday in Toowoomba), Souths United (at Bundamba) and Brisbane City (after Easter), Ogden was keen to capitalise on the early Ipswich momentum.
"Out of our first four fixtures, we've got the three favourites to win the league,'' he said. "City, Mitchy and Toowoomba.
"We can only go by what we've done so far but that was a really good performance (first up).
"We didn't have a weak player in the squad.''
The Knights senior side also has an FFA Cup game scheduled for early next month against Moggill.
Although the Knights under-23 and under-18 teams lost on Sunday, Ogden said the young combinations were a work in progress after a number of major off-season changes.
"We're optimistic about most levels that we will definitely have an improvement as the year goes on,'' he said.
FQPL1: Ipswich Knights 5 (Nick Edwards 2, Lucky Joe, Mitch Herrmann, Fiston Chungu) def Mitchelton 2 at Teralba Park.
U23: Mitchelton def Knights 6-2.
U18: Mitchelton def Knights 4-1.