Mitch’s hat-trick saves Bulls after captain’s curse strikes
THE captain's curse has struck again at the Ipswich City Bulls with Jay Kitching withdrawing with hamstring soreness early in the latest Capital League 1 derby.
But thankfully for the home team, striker Mitchell McLeod stepped up with his first senior team hat-trick to help the Bulls secure a 4-2 victory over Western Spirit at Sutton Park.
McLeod scored the Bulls first three goals - two in the first half from headers before converting a penalty after the break - to give the home team bragging rights this year.
Regular Reserve grader Lincoln Neville scored City's fourth goal to complete his team's third win from games. The result made it even tougher for Spirit to make the top six this year.
The Bulls also have to win their two remaining CL1 games to have any chance of sneaking into the playoff zone.
However, stand-in leader Kitching was the latest victim after being given the captain's arm band.
Kitching left the field after 10 minutes with a left hamstring injury. He felt soreness in the hamstring during the warm-up but decided to soldier on with so many Bulls players already injured this season.
Kitching was given the role after regular captain Joel Munn has missed several games and his replacements Ronan Geoghegan and Zygan Condie also were sidelined.
"Injuries have really been the killer,'' Kitching said. "Last week, four A-Graders finished the game off.''
It was Kitching's first stint at captain.
Experienced Ipswich footballer Lincoln Rule replaced Kitching when he left the field.
Kitching praised McLeod for his fantastic finishing against an opponent the Bulls players knew little about.
"They were pretty sharp in patches,'' Kitching said of Western Spirit. "They might have a lot of injuries themselves.
"We controlled the match from the start.
"We were stoked with the win.''
Kitching hopes to return in time for at least one of the Bulls remaining games this season.
Western Pride players were left with plenty to ponder after their latest Football Queensland Premier League defeat.
After some recent promising results, Pride lost 4-0 to Rochedale in Saturday night's away match.
Pride's next match is against Holland Park at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex on Saturday night.
STATE OF PLAY
FQPL: Rochedale def Western Pride 4-0.
CL1: Ipswich City 4 (Mitchell McLeod 3, Lincoln Neville) def Western Spirit 2 (scorers unavailable).