The first 2021 local derby between the Ipswich Knights and Western Pride at Bundamba.
The first 2021 local derby between the Ipswich Knights and Western Pride at Bundamba.

Respect on show after intense ‘battle of Ipswich’

AFTER the anxiety levels rose dramatically in both team camps, two major factors were highlighted in the latest "battle of Ipswich''.

The first was the match being played like a local derby despite a number of footballers from Western Pride and the Ipswich Knights having not engaged in previous club encounters.

The Knights finished the stronger at Bundamba on Friday night but were unable to penetrate Western Pride's defence a second time to at least salvage a draw.

"We didn't have enough quality tonight,'' Knights head coach Andy Ogden said, reflecting on his team's 2-1 defeat on home soil.

"I still thought we had enough chances to win the game . . . but Pride played exactly how I thought they would.''

As one of Ipswich's most experienced coaches, Ogden said the clash had some true derby attributes.

"There was some bite in the game and I thought the referee could have pulled a few things up early and stopped a few of them but he didn't,'' Ogden said.

"So it makes for an open game . . . congratulations to Pride.''

THRILLING ENCOUNTER: Goal scorer reveals difference between sides

Ipswich Knights head coach Andy Ogden
Ipswich Knights head coach Andy Ogden

The second reassuring post-match situation was seeing mutual respect between the two regional coaches.

Pride head coach Brian Hastings had his side primed for an intense duel.

"As I said to Brian, good win and I'm sure he would have said the same if we won,'' Ogden said.

"I've been in football a long, long time and if you don't quite be on your game or you don't score your chances, it (defeat) happens.''

Western Pride head coach Brian Hastings.
Western Pride head coach Brian Hastings.

Hastings delivered a similar post-game message after watching his team survive the second half Knights uprising to secure Pride's first victory between the clubs.

"Oggy and myself have been around the game for hundreds of years,'' Hastings said.

"We know each other very well. We know our football well and I have the utmost respect for him as a coach.

"We both spoke before the game. We said whoever turns up on the night will win it.

"As a local derby we probably turned up a little bit better than they did.''

Former Coalstars footballer Ogden agreed, having been in past duels with Ipswich neighbours Ipswich United/St Helens.

"I genuinely don't think we played at the top of our game but that's not taking anything away from Pride,'' Ogden said.

"They probably executed the game plan how they wanted and we just weren't quite fluid enough.''

Ogden held back some key players, including Ben Barrett and Kalen Fisher-Smith.

However, 2020 FQPL goalkeeper of the year Zayne Freiberg returned to his usual role and denied Pride multiple chances.

Former Western Pride players Mitch Herrmann, Matt Haspels and Darryl Barton worked hard against an opposition with more seasoned opponents in captain Killian Flavin, Mark Ingerson, Wil Asante and Mikhail Hastings.

"It's just a matter of trying to pick the team what you think we will the game,'' Ogden said.

"It didn't work for us this week but overall, if a neutral (person) was watching, you probably thought we were unlucky not to get something.

"But Pride held on so congratulations to them.''

INTRIGUING DUEL: Thrilling derby tipped

Ogden went further, knowing it was the first time Pride had beaten his side as a former NPL team or joining the Knights in the Football Queensland Premier League competition.

"That's what you want,'' Ogden said. "You don't want one club dominating in a region like this.

"They're happy. We're sad. We'll get over it.''

And as the ever astute Ogden tipped before the game, the teams were only separated by one goal.

Possessing respect is a powerful quality for coaches as much as players.