Injury dogs Gladstone Gladiators

THE Gladstone Gladiators under-13 representative soccer team broke through for its first victory of the Champions Cup at the Gold Coast yesterday but were still dogged by bad news.

Celebrations should have been the only thing on the players' minds following their 3-1 breakthrough win over Townsville Stingers yesterday.

Instead, the team was left to lament the loss of Dominic Tanner who was carried off the field with just one minute of the match remaining after breaking his foot.

The incident dampened what was otherwise a joyous moment for the side who had battled hard on the opening two days of the event without much reward.

The Gladiators opened their campaign on Sunday with a 3-0 loss to Capalaba Academy.

Despite the lop-sided scoreline, the effort against Capalaba Academy, considered the top outfit in their pool, was a spirited one with Aaron Hitchcock and Brett Robinson standing out in a good team performance.

Running into an estimated 25 knot wind during the first half, the Gladiators held the academy side to 0-0 at halftime.

Capalaba Academy scored all of its goals during a 10-minute period of the second half when Gladstone's concentration wavered.

The Gladiators recovered from the setback to push Merimac hard in another impressive all-round performance on Monday with Calvin Schluter, Luke Woof and Tanner dominating.

The Gladstone outfit created plenty of scoring opportunities but could not convert, including one effort in which the ball appeared to cross the Merimac goal line but was not awarded.

Team manager Ross Tanner, Dominic's father, said yesterday's win had actually co-incided with Gladiators' least impressive display but believed it would provide a welcome shot of confidence.

The Champions Cup features 141 teams and more than 2000 players and will continue until Saturday.