Western Pride players Adam Endean, Andy Pengelly and stand-in captain Cam Crestani congratulate Alex Parsons after he scored his first senior team goal in their 5-0 NPL win on Saturday night.
Western Pride players Adam Endean, Andy Pengelly and stand-in captain Cam Crestani congratulate Alex Parsons after he scored his first senior team goal in their 5-0 NPL win on Saturday night. Carl Groenewald

New football coach oversees team's high standards

FOOTBALL: As a talented coach keen to learn and accept new challenges, Reg Davani has an opportunity of a lifetime.

However, after stepping up to replace Graham Harvey as head coach, he quickly praised his team for their professionalism.

Western Pride maintained a top two spot in this year's National Premier Leagues Queensland competition with a comfortable 5-0 victory over the Magpies Crusaders on Saturday night.

"I was very happy with that. The boys were solid,'' Davani said

"We just did a professional job as usual. That was pleasing.''

The former Ipswich Grammar School student was most encouraged how his team adapted quickly to an early challenge on a chilly Ipswich night.

"Mackay caused us a few problems physically up top with the long ball and things like that,'' he said.

"In the end, it was business as usual and we wanted to influence the game straight away.

"The plan was to get in and set the tone and control the game right from the straight.

"As soon as we contained that long ball, we were fine after that.

"They didn't take their foot off the pedal.''

Valuable defender Cam Crestani returned as stand-in skipper after completing a one-match suspension.

Davani was also delighted to have Pride continue its team-minded approach with four different players scoring in the latest match at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.

Returning from a one-week suspension, Gabby Hawash headed in Pride's first goal in the 15th minute after a terrific corner cross from Joe Duckworth.

Pride went 2-0 up after an own goal just before halftime.

Having Makhaya Quakawoot sent off for a second yellow card didn't help Mackay's recovery hopes in the second half.

Consistent performer Adam Endean capitalised with a controlled shot into the corner after more terrific lead-up work by Duckworth.

Busy striker Andy Pengelly extended Pride's lead to 4-0 after finding some space and slotting home the goal.

Exciting talent Alex Parsons completed the whitewash after being brought on in the 74th minute. His shot clipped the cross bar before going in.

"The goals this year are being shared around with everyone, which is good,'' Davani said.

"We're not relying on one person. Everyone is chipping in and contributing.''

He was particularly pleased to see Parsons score his first goal in the senior team.

Davani expects players like Parsons, Nielen Brown and Jacob Minett to play important roles in the second half of the season.

"We just have to make sure we do the job and continue on,'' the new head coach said.

Pride moved to 39 points to continue their top spot battle with Olympic.

Lions (36 points) and Moreton Bay United (35) complete the top four.

As for his new appointment working with club co-ordinator Dan Burnell, Davani said he was ready.

"Opportunity knocks and the timing was a surprise,'' Davani said.

"It's a great opportunity for myself as a young coach to continue to develop my identity as a coach.

"To work with someone like Dan as well is good. He's been around the club for many years.

"He's understanding of everything around the club and the playing group.

"That really helps a lot.

"It's been a pleasure and I'm really looking forward to it.''

The team again highlighted its close bond by staying on at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex to watch the Socceroos play France in their World Cup opener.

The Western Pride women were outclassed 12-0 by competition leaders The Gap in their latest game on Saturday afternoon.

NPL: Western Pride 5 (Gabby Hawash, Adam Endean, Andy Pengelly, Alex Parsons, own goal) def Magpies Crusaders 0 at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.

Next match: Saturday v Sunshine Coast at Sunshine Coast Stadium.