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Opinion

FFA Cup Round of 32 preview: Edge Hill United vs Gold Coast Knights

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Roar Guru
2nd September, 2021
7

NSW and Victorian teams may have had their FFA Cup Round of 32 matches postponed indefinitely, but there are still five matches scheduled to go ahead interstate in the coming weeks.

On September 15, in the all-Queensland bracket, there is a match between FNQLD side, Edge Hill United and QNPL side, Gold Coast Knights.

Gold Coast are one of the youngest clubs left in the competition. They were founded in 1978 by the local Croatian community.

The Knights have always been competitive, but struggled to win major honours.

However, the club rose like a phoenix from the ashes after being relegated in 2014 – winning several trophies since, including the prestigious QLD NPL title in 2019.

Gold Coast are sitting in fourth place in a logjam of an NPL QLD season – a win could see them jump to second, but a loss could see them tumble down to seventh.

Results haven’t gone their way recently and the club hierarchy have made the decision to go a different route in terms of coaching.

Scott McDonald is a name all A-League fans should be familiar with, and he is now the man in charge of trying to push this gifted team forwards.

In terms of star players, look no further than Jhison Macuace.

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The diminutive Colombian midfielder has been one of the best overseas players of recent times in NPL QLD – averaging double figures in goals for the past three seasons, he is the top scorer currently with 11 goals this year.

Twenty-two-year-old Cai Tipalo has represented two A-League clubs’ youth teams, but his ten goals this season possibly might see him given a chance at yet another A-League club.

Generic football

(Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Max Brown and Curtis Stolley also have added multiple goals from midfield in 2021 and then there is an A-League blast from the past, in Mitch Nicholls – who still has the quality to control the game.

As for their opponents, Edge Hill United were founded in 1967 and, much like Gold Coast, have been extremely successful in the last few years, winning several trophies.

United look to have already sewn up the league as they are 16 points clear of their nearest rivals.

Edge Hill are the league leaders in goals scored with 64, averaging over four goals a game and have the best defence with only a measly 18 goals conceded – averaging only one goal a game they let in.

The Tigers have the weapons to hurt the highly fancied Knights – none more so than Chris O’Hare.

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O’Hare, besides also being the team’s coach, is the top scorer out of all the NPL competitions in Australia with 29 goals in just 14 games.

He has consistently found the back of the net in the lower leagues of England as well as throughout Queensland and has a good record of scoring goals in previous years of the FFA Cup.

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O’Hare will draw the attention of the Knights’ defence and this might work in the favour of another well-known player at NPL level in QLD – Joshua Taylor.

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Taylor has proved the perfect foil to O’Hare, grabbing nine goals this season while juggling being an assistant coach for the club.

The crown jewel of the Tigers’ team, though, is young starlet Ben McDonnell.

McDonnell has been watched by A-League clubs this season and has not disappointed, scoring eight goals. His fine form has been cruelly stopped though, suffering a broken leg from a bad tackle recently.

Ari Isman and David Davitadze are two other players of interest to keep an eye on.

Even though it’s Edge Hill’s home match, they won’t be playing out of the comforts of Tiger Park – the match has been moved to the larger Barlow Park.

Barlow Park is the best football ground in Cairns. The main pitch has an old school feel as it’s surrounded by an athletics track – which is regularly used by the Cairns Athletic Association and the pitch itself is also used for rugby.

The Knights should advance if they can control the Tigers’ ferocious attack.

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