'Too good to go down': Joe backs Ipswich team's survival
HAVING made the tough decision to leave Western Pride, Joe Duckworth has two important football goals on his wishlist this season.
He wants his new team Lions to remain on top and win the championship while Pride completes a successful quest to avoid relegation.
After playing a full game for Lions in their latest 2-0 National Premier Leagues victory over his former club, Duckworth believes Pride can do it.
"They have a solid team and you can see it,'' Duckworth said after Saturday night's state league clash at Richlands.
"They probably are too good to go down (be relegated).
"Hopefully for them, the results go the right way.''
Needing a win to hold on to the safety of 12th place, Pride battled hard before the competition pacesetters nailed a goal in injury time to secure the three points.
Pride's loss came as the Magpies Crusaders beat Eastern Suburbs 4-1 to regain a three-point break on the Ipswich club.
That keeps pressure on Pride to win all their remaining games, including their next opponents Easts at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex on Saturday night.
Pride also still have a game in hand having to tackle Brisbane City, the Brisbane Strikers and Gold Coast Knights in a catch-up match.
However, former Pride workhorse Duckworth said the Ipswich-based team were always going to provide a stern opposition to Lions.
"Pride had won a few games in a row so they probably had a bit of confidence going into the game,'' Duckworth said, having watched some of their recent matches at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
"We didn't manage the game very well.
"They (Pride) really hung in there and made us earn the three points and we had to play for the whole 80 minutes.
"They really battled hard the whole game. Full credit to them.
"They came out in the second half ready to go, which was good to see.''
After a slow start to the 2019 season, Lions have stamped their authority on the state league competition with key players returning from injury.
"It's amazing,'' the former Ipswich Grammar School student said of Lions' consistent success over the past few years.
"It's from the coaching staff to the players and everything.
"There's no way you can pinpoint one determining reason for their success.
"All the boys are really, really good lads. They are terrific players.
"Everyone wants success and the culture is great.''
In his fifth NPL season, the hardworking attacking midfielder/striker has settled into the Lions style scoring six goals from 19 matches.
"I've loved it,'' Duckworth, 22, said.
"It was obviously hard leaving Pride. I had been there a long time.''
The Western Pride women broke their drought of victories with a 3-2 win over Gold Coast United at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex on Saturday afternoon. It was Pride's third win this season.
State of play
NPL: Lions 2 (Shaun Carlos, Chris Hatfield) def Western Pride 0.
NPL women: Western Pride 3 (Victoria Merrick, Georgia Rink, Jessica Curran) def Gold Coast United 2.