Keeper Simons stars as NPL title hopefuls Brisbane held to 0- 0 draw Fury shock Olympic
THE Northern Fury have produced perhaps the gutsiest effort of their season to secure a 0- 0 draw with NPL title hopefuls Brisbane Olympic in Ayr.
A superb individual game from Fury goalkeeper Joseph Simons denied Olympic on numerous occasions, and helped achieve what Fury coach Paul Roncato called one of their most admirable 90 minutes of football.
Playing in front of a bumper crowd at Ayr’s International Park, the Fury almost snatched a win when Hamish Cassidy was presented with a late scoring opportunity, only for the shot to be dragged wide.
The result could still influence the upcoming finals, which the Fury won’t play, with Olympic now in danger of dropping out of the top four.
Saturday’s draw comes a week after the Fury hammered Brisbane Roar Youth 5- 1 away from home.
“We had to play out of our skins to compete, and it was a magnificent team effort,” Roncato said.
“Joey Simons was probably our man of the match in between the posts, he was outstanding.
“There were moments you could swear Olympic would certainly score, but Joey was always there.
“But we had our chances to win the game as well and even though we didn’t get the win we caused a big upset for them.
“It’s made their run to the finals a lot harder, and if they lose next weekend and we win, they will probably miss finals altogether.”
The Fury’s purple patch comes after their 5- 1 losses to the Brisbane Strikers and Western Pride. They finish the season this weekend with the NPL’s toughest assignment, winning away against the Pride.
The Pride have won their past seven games and thumped the Fury 5- 1 when the teams last met in Round 11.
“I think they’ll win the competition, without a doubt,” Roncato.
“They’re on fire and even if we had our full- strength team it would be tough to beat them.
“They’re just putting teams away, but that’s the challenge ahead of us and we’re building up a lot of confidence.
“We lost a handful of big NPL players throughout the year like Jono Bagley, Nick Dalton and Reid Murray, so to still compete against a side like Olympic shows how far this side has come.”
Roncato, himself an Ayr resident, said the Fury would aim to hold more games at regional venues over the next few seasons.
“The hospitality we received from the locals and the Burdekin Panthers was second to none,” he said.
“The players loved playing in front of such a big crowd and good atmosphere.
“I hope we play more games here in the future.”