Ipswich City Bulls Reserve grade player Justin Gordon finds room to move on his way to scoring three goals in his team’s 7-1 trouncing of Western Spirit.
WESTERN Spirit coach Nev O'Sullivan has plenty to celebrate over Easter after a winning trifecta at Saturday night's local derby.
For the first time in more than two years, Western Spirit beat cross-town rivals Ipswich City 2-1 in a hard-fought Division 1 duel at Brassall.
A relieved O'Sullivan praised his team for getting the job done against their bogey side.
He left Sutton Park with two more reasons for some long weekend cheer – O'Sullivan won the Easter hamper drawn at the game and he collected a six-pack of Jim Bean, courtesy of a bet with opposing coach Trent Abel.
“I'm quite happy with that,” O'Sullivan said of his winning hat-trick.
However, most important for the coach and his team was Spirit's third victory from six games, keeping them in touch with the top four.
“We've got more wins than losses. That's a good thing,” O'Sullivan said.
“It's just our confidence building.
“We take this and we just keep building. We can lift the bar a little bit higher next time.”
On a wet Sutton Park field, either team could have won until Luke Haydon slammed home an emotion-charged goal in the second half.
Spirit goalkeeper Chris Morrall denied the resurgent Bulls a number of times, including two great close-range saves just after halftime.
Rob Palmer was the only Bulls player able to pass Morrall – heading in a first-half goal to level the scores at 1-1.
Dangerous striker Phil Randal netted the first goal.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” O'Sullivan said.
“We stuck to our guns and worked really hard and got what we wanted.
“It didn't have to be pretty.
“The last few years we've been on the wrong end of the scoreline.
“Now we've got to string two or three together.”
Among Spirit's best were defenders Joel Hancock and Richie Armstrong, who stabilises the backline.
Josh Walton played well out wide.
The Bulls dominated the midfield for much of the game, setting up some dangerous attack, especially through Norbert Duga and Shaun Kitching.
Kitching was one of the best, playing on in the second half despite copping a knock to his right ankle.
Comeback winger Zygan Condie was also dangerous, threatening to score an equaliser.
“We need to score goals, that's what it comes down to,” Abel said.
“We're creating good chances. We're just not taking them.”
While happy to see his team's fluent play improving, Abel was concerned the wins weren't coming.
“On the first half performance, we probably should have been 3-1 up. They just had the one chance,” he said.
“The second half, fair enough, they got a few more than us.”
The Bulls Reserves continued their steady progress, winning the earlier local derby 7-1.
In-form goalscorer Justin Gordon netted a hat-trick in City's second win after a series of draws.
“It was a fantastic result,” Bulls Reserve grade coach Dan Burnell said.
“We did ourselves a few favours last week up in Toowoomba. We put six away.”
Burnell said his team was keen to capitalise on its winning platform.
“We turned up today, our preparation was good during the week and the boys did everything I asked of them,” he said.
With the club for six years, Burnell is coaching the Bulls Reserve grade side full-time for the first time.