Last shot at survival: Pride speedster's call to give it all
TIRELESS Western Pride footballer Michael Morrow typified what his football teammates were feeling after last weekend's late loss to Brisbane City.
"That was probably the lowest point in the season,'' Morrow said. "We knew we should have won. We had so many chances.''
However, with that heart-breaking opportunity to avoid National Premier Leagues relegation gone, Western Pride have no choice but to beat the Brisbane Strikers in Saturday night's final game of the regular season.
Although a Magpies Crusaders loss and Pride draw would be enough to remain in the 2020 NPL competition, Morrow said the focus was squarely on victory in the do-or-die match at Perry Park.
"We just have to go again for one last game,'' he said.
"We've still got to battle . . . give it our all . . . and go out on a positive.''
Given the Strikers had to work hard to secure a 1-0 midweek FFA Cup victory over Manly, Morrow hopes that works in Pride's favour.
However, in his first full season of NPL games, Morrow wants to make Pride's last game count.
"You never know,'' he said, eyeing the most precious three points in the Ipswich club's state league history.
Born in the south of England, Morrow moved to Australia aged five.
After playing his junior football with clubs including Lions, he got his first taste of the NPL in 2017, coming off the bench in 10 games for Olympic.
The former Queensland junior representative was lured to Pride this season after a six month stint travelling and playing football with Kettering Town in Northampton.
Despite the disappointment of so many losses this season, Morrow continued his football development at Pride.
"I really enjoyed being able to step up to NPL,'' he said.
In what has been a frustrating season, Morrow has been one of Pride's most loyal and determined players.
He started the year out wide up front before offering to accept a more defensive role late in the season.
"Just in training I was playing at the back in little five-a-side competitions and I enjoyed it,'' he said.
"I thought it would be a good idea to try it out.''
After chatting to head coach Terry Kirkham, the switch was made and Morrow has continued to work exceptionally hard for his team.
Aged 22, Morrow works at Coles and is in his first year studying his masters in teaching at University of Queensland before deciding his future career path.
However, his attention on Saturday night is solely doing what he does best on a football field - defending his heart out and creating chances up the flanks with his speed.
Western Spirit have to wait for the outcome of Saturday's catch-up match to see who they face in the Capital League 1 finals the following week.
North Star (42 points) host Samford, having to win by four goals to finish above second-placed AC Carina (45 points).
St George (53) finished top of the table after the 22 matches.
Western Spirit (38) locked up fourth spot after beating Samford 3-2 in their final match of the regular season.
In Capital League 3, Ripley Valley can't be lodged out of second place as they contest a catch-up match against Ridge Hills at the South Ripley fields on Saturday afternoon.
Having secured promotion to next year's CL2 competition, Ripley Valley is looking to complete the regular season with their 16th win from 20 matches.
The only team with a better record are Logan Metro, who won the championship with a similar record.
NPL: Saturday (6pm) - Western Pride v Brisbane Strikers at Perry Park.
CL3 catch-up match: Saturday (4pm) - Ripley Valley v Ridge Hills at South Ripley sports fields.