This is it: Pride's season-defining week after gritty win
TWO crucial matches this week are likely to determine whether Western Pride avoids relegation or strengthens its prospects of remaining in next year's National Premier Leagues state competition.
A gritty 3-2 football victory over Eastern Suburbs last night kept the Pride men in touch with 12th placed Magpies Crusaders who had a 1-1 draw with Brisbane City.
However, Pride can still control their own destiny.
The Ipswich-based team head to the Gold Coast for Wednesday night's catch-up game against the Knights before tackling Brisbane City at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex on Saturday night.
"We're very confident,'' head coach Terry Kirkham said about securing two vital wins this week.
"Especially after the Lions game (only losing 2-0) and then again last night.
"It's been gelling very well.''
Pride's win over Easts was all the more satisfying given they had to come from conceding an early goal.
"We were superb last night in everything,'' Kirkham said.
"We created a lot of chances and scored some good team goals, very pleasing.''
Livewire striker Mustafa Jafari equalised just before halftime from great build-up play.
"The boys were very very, confident,'' Kirkham said.
"We didn't have to do too much, which was good.''
That was shown when Anthony Sarramea capitalised on a rebound off the post to put Pride up 2-1.
The home side went 3-1 ahead with skilful striker Alex Parsons broke away to score in the 71st minute.
Although Easts scored a late goal in an intense final 10 minutes, Pride defended well to secure the victory.
Kirkham's only concern was midfielder Jacob Minett having to come off 20 minutes into the match after copping a knock.
However, Pride utility Nielen Brown came on and did a fine job to help guide his team home.
Kirkham also praised goalkeeper Griffin Bambach for another standout performance.
"His aerial balls and his delivery of our counter attack was just superb,'' Kirkham said.
Wednesday night's game kicks off at 7.30pm at Carrara.
State of play
NPL: Western Pride 3 (Mustafa Jafari, Anthony Sarramea, Alex Parsons) def Eastern Suburbs 2.
NPL women: Mitchelton def Western Pride 3-0.