Penalty shootout thriller after club’s turbulent time
AFTER one of the most turbulent fortnights in Western Spirit's football history, the first team could have easily given up under pressure.
However, the players who finished Saturday night's FFA Cup goalfest game can hold their heads high under new head coach Mario Malesevic.
Spirit advanced to the third round of the annual knockout competition after beating Bardon Latrobe 7-6 on penalties at Kippen Park.
The second round win came after Spirit played 70 minutes with 10 men and with a new coaching team.
Malesevic and his assistant Reggie Yaqub took control of the side after former head coach David Coles was asked to resign last week.
Spirit had also lost a number of regular Capital League 1 players from last season.
Malesevic praised goalkeeper Jack Fuller for having a brilliant game amid the dramatic events at the Goodna-based club.
"We were missing quite a few key players,'' the former Brisbane Knights Brisbane Premier League coach said. "We fought pretty well.''
Spirit were up 2-0 on Saturday night before having a player red-carded early in the second half for his snap reaction.
The game seesawed, finishing 5-5 after normal time, forcing a penalty shootout.
The Spirit coaching newcomer is keen to get his squad settled preparing for the next FFA Cup game and looming CL1 premiership season.
"At the moment, it's just to get things together with this team,'' Malesevic said, also looking to boost the top team's depth.
"We need to get the fitness up and make sure they are ready for the season. So that's our goal for the next six weeks.''
In their latest FFA Cup game on Friday night, the Ipswich City Bulls secured a confidence-boosting 2-0 win over Capital League 1 rivals Annerley.
Loyal clubman Zygan Condie scored in the first half before experienced striker Trent Griffiths sealed the result after halftime.
"We went there feeling confident with the group of players that we've got this year and the style of football that we want to be playing,'' assistant coach Chris Greaves said.
"Annerley are traditionally quite a strong club.
"So away, to pick up a 2-0 win - especially keeping that clean sheet as well - gives the boys a massive amount of confidence for the start of the season (next month).''
The Bulls are scheduled to play Nambour in the next round FFA Cup clash at Sutton Park this weekend. The day and time was to be confirmed.
Greaves is continuing as assistant coach this season, along with knowledgeable club stalwart Chris Denman.
Head coach Norbert Duga has been juggling duties as a new dad with helping prepare the side this season.