Miners get the points in spiteful game

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In great conditions for football, the Whitsunday Miners picked up their first win of the season in a vicious match against Gold Coast Stars that saw no less than six yellow cards handed out.

The Miner’s win, along with the 1-1 draw between the Razorbacks and QAS has evened out the ladder, leaving only four points between third and seventh position as the competition heads into Round Eight next week.

The game started at a frantic pace, the Miners applying the early pressure with a number of shots on goal including one stinging effort that was nicely saved by Stars ‘keeper David Chambers. As it turned out this was to be the story of the day, a number of athletic saves by the Gold Coast custodian the only thing standing in between the Miners racking up a big score.

Skillful flanker Jordan Corte was proving to be a handful for the Stars defence, streaking past his opposite number time and again. Only poor finishing and good reflex saves kept the home side in the match.

Though as can often be the case it was almost the Gold Coast who took the lead against the run of play on a rare foray down the other end of the field. The Whitsunday ‘keeper miscontrolled a back pass but managed to scramble it away just in time.

Frustrations from both sides were becoming evident as the game wore on, Whitsunday annoyed that their dominance had yet to pay off and Gold Coast struggling to cope with the game play in general. Tensions were quickly reaching boiling point and it almost spilled over after 25 minutes when a mini-melee erupted but the referee was quick to put a stop to any nonsense.

Just as it seemed that Gold Coast was getting a foot into the match, Whitsunday finally got the breakthrough their dominance deserved in the 34th minute. Despite most of their play being directed down the wings, the first goal was created down the middle of the park with a brilliant ball being played past the out-of-position Murray Goodwin. This lead to a one on one opportunity for the Miners which was initially saved but with the rebound falling to the feet of dangerman Corte he easily tapped into an open net to make it 1-0.

The rest of the half then turned into a niggly affair featuring a number of squirmish tackles and heated exchanges with no real chances for either side. Just as the crowd started to turn towards the clubhouse for wedges and sour cream, a simple slip by a Miners defender left a gap in the backline for Gold Coast to get into shooting range. Although the defender recovered, he did so only to clumsily topple over the Gold Coast forward resulting in a penalty that Matt Hilton put away with aplomb. 1-1 at half time.

Aside from a few more heavy tackles and some acrobatic saves from Chambers, the second half was much less of a spectacle than the first. A cracking volley from Whitsunday forward Aaron Craig from the edge of the box in the 68th was the difference between the two sides in a match where Gold Coast never really got going.

Whitsunday were deserved winners against a surprisingly flat Gold Coast and Miners coach Graham Harvey could not have been happier;

“We were bang on top to be honest… The boys’ commitment was fantastic, they played to the structure that we set them up with and they were finally rewarded for all the hard work they have been putting in.”

Harvey also saved some praise for Man of the Match Jordan Corte (who also caught the attention of Gold Coast United coach Miron Bleiberg, who was watching on from the sideline);

“He [Corte] was good. He’s a Brisbane/Gold Coast boy and this is his territory so he was desperate to start and he put in a good performance.”

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Christian Layland
Christian is co-founder and Chief of Staff of The Football Sack and has worked in media/marketing for FIFA, AFC, Football Australia, Western Sydney Wanderers, and Melbourne Victory. Also a coach, Christian has been on the Y-League coaching staff for Wanderers, and the A-League coaching staff for Central Coast Mariners.

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