The Fire’s Gareth Musson misses a shot for goal at Stockland Park.
The Fire’s Gareth Musson misses a shot for goal at Stockland Park. Warren Lynam

United account for Fire in friendly

NOT much was riding on the result and it showed as A-League club Gold Coast United accounted for QSL premier Sunshine Coast Fire 1-0 at Stockland Park last night.

There were some highlights in the friendly encounter – United hit the woodwork no less than four times – but each team struggled to find fluency in its play.

United, which is in a training camp at Hyatt Regency Coolum, is finalising its playing roster and tested combinations, and the Fire is preparing for Sunday’s major semi-final against Brisbane Strikers.

The Fire started the match with a strong side but rested some key players during the match, as did United.

United was led out by Sunshine Coast product Zach Anderson and got on the board after six minutes through Daniel Severino, who beat stand-in Fire goalkeeper Sam Nicholls.

Severino was somewhat lucky to score after a rocketing shot from teammate Chris Harold smashed into the post and rebounded to his feet.

Gold Coast dominated possession in the opening 25 minutes as Robson created a number of opportunities but failed to capitalise.

The Fire’s best opportunity came after 30 minutes when striker Gareth Musson got his head to a well-placed Sam Knight cross but failed to generate any power and United goalkeeper Glen Moss cleaned up easily.

Alex Henderson had another chance for the Sunshine Coast but his open header from a Tyson Holmes free kick went wide.

Musson then had a golden opportunity to score the Fire’s first when the ball dropped at his feet after a Gold Coast mistake, but some scrambling United defence saved a certain equaliser and maintained the visitors’ 1-0 lead at the break.

Holmes had the Fire’s first real chance of the second half but his shot sailed well wide and he was substituted straight after, along with Gareth Musson and Dylan Roberts, in preparation for Sunday’s match.

It was end-to-end for most of the second half and Ben Halloran went with centimeters of extending United’s lead, but the crossbar stopped his well-timed header.

Halloran had another chance less than two minutes later after lightning midfielder Tahj Minniecon broke down the line and set him up. But with just the goalkeeper to beat, Halloran tripped over his own feet and failed to make contact with the ball.

The Fire will need to produce a much more polished performance if it is to beat the Strikers and earn a spot in the QSL grand final.

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