Western Spirit eyes top four spot as Ripley salvage victory
WITH six games, including the local derby to play, Western Spirit are still chasing a top four spot in this year's hotly contested Capital League 1 competition.
Spirit's latest win - 2-1 against North Pine at Kippen Park - was only the Goodna-based side's second of the season.
However, head coach Mario Malesevic believes his new-look side can capitalise on its catch-up games to still make the top six, or even higher for the playoffs.
"It's still fairly close and it could go either way,'' Malesevic said after his team's much-needed win at home.
"Realistically we are going to try and push for the top four.
"We've had that little bit of an up and down start.
"I'm hoping now the team is going to be fairly settled.
"Everything depends on the more experienced players because everyone else is so young.
"We're seeing good progress from everybody.''
Among players who have stepped up are centre back Anson Huang and goalkeeper Nikko Brown.
"He is gaining a lot of experience from this but I rate him quite highly,'' Malesevic said of the team's custodian.
"He's another good kid who has got a good future ahead of him.''
Tyler Baker has also taken over the captaincy as Spirit look to field some stable line-ups each week.
The annual local derby between Spirit and the Ipswich City Bulls is at Sutton Park on September 18.
Anthony Menendez and David Rodriguez scored for Spirit against North Pine.
Spirit's timely win came as Ripley Valley maintained their unbeaten record with a 2-1 win over North Brisbane in Capital League 2.
Ripley conceded their first goal of the season in the first half, in a performance head coach Nick Paterson described as poor.
"In the first half, it looked like we had 11 blokes out there who didn't know each other,'' Paterson said.
However, after a halftime spray with Ripley down 1-0, they played some better football to secure another victory following goals by Alex Weatherby and a "screamer'' from Michael Leech.
With a showdown against CL2 promotion contenders Pine Hills next weekend, Paterson expected a stronger all-round effort.
"Coming into these top sides, if you dished what we did in the first half, you are not going to be as fortunate,'' he said.
Paterson praised Ripley goalkeeper Mitch Love for some crucial saves that gave the competition newcomers a chance to continue their undefeated run from five games.
In women's football, the Ipswich City Bulls remained unbeaten this season with a 5-0 win over Robina in their latest Brisbane Premier League away match.
STATE OF PLAY
CL1: Western Spirit 2 (Anthony Menendez, David Rodriguez) def North Pine 1.
CL2: Ripley Valley 2 (Alex Weatherby, Michael Leech) def North Brisbane 1.
BWPL: Ipswich City 5 (Nikki Cox, Sharni Wilton, Natasha Ridley, Sophie Weatherby, Nuala Georghegan) def Robina 0.