INJURED: Liam Stephen takes a corner at Clinton Oval last season. The teenage striker aggravated a quad injury in Clinton's 8-0 win against Southside Utd at the weekend.
INJURED: Liam Stephen takes a corner at Clinton Oval last season. The teenage striker aggravated a quad injury in Clinton's 8-0 win against Southside Utd at the weekend. Matt Harris

Defending champs back on track with crushing win

SOCCER: Their position on the ladder hasn't changed but Clinton FC has signalled to the rest of the CQ Premier League competition they're just as deadly in front of goal as they were during their victorious 2018 campaign.

The Grubs got their season back on track at Rockhampton's Jardine Park on Saturday night with a comprehensive 8-0 thrashing of bottom-of-the-league Southside United.

Clinton FC coach Brad O'Sullivan said his side put in a well-rounded performance.

"We controlled the game from start to finish, which was pleasing," O'Sullivan said.

"In the past we've had the habit of once we get going we'd put the cue in the rack but the boys kept at it and kept moving the ball for the whole 90 minutes, which was really good.

"We started off well but similarly to our other games we wasted a few chances and that's been a theme for us this year - we'd have good possession and chances and if that didn't come off we'd go away from our plan.

"But they kept at it and stuck to the game plan we had and we eventually ran them down.

"The ball movement took its toll and they couldn't keep up with it and we saw that in the second half.

"It's good to see it come off for the boys because they've been working pretty hard at it."

The game still wasn't without drama as returning striker Liam Stephen limped off not long after scoring the opening goal in the 22nd minute.

"He ended up injured but he still got us on the board and got us going," O'Sullivan said.

O'Sullivan said Stephen came into the match under an injury cloud.

"It was a credit to him because he wasn't 100 per cent but desperately wanted to play," he said.

"It's a shame about the injury but we've got a few weeks now to get him right.

"It was a niggling quad injury that hasn't gone away and he aggravated it scoring his goal."

The Stephen name found its way onto the scoreboard during the second half with Liam's father, 43-year-old Michael scoring in the 69th and 71st minute.

"He is brilliant. He's assistant coach with me this season but he's still a top player," O'Sullivan said.

"In his day he would have been a weapon. He's a top bloke and quality player."

 

Michael Stephen in action during the 2016 season.
Michael Stephen in action during the 2016 season. Paul Braven GLA150616SOCCER

Sam Roberts also found form again with a hat-trick, scoring in the 37th, 46th and 74th minute.

"Sammy has been training hard ... He seems to get his goals in bunches," O'Sullivan said.

"Once he gets scoring he bangs them in which is good.

"It's a shame we don't play next week because I'd back him in for more."

Clinton now has an extended wait before its next game with the competition breaking next weekend for Easter.

The competition resumes in Round 7 but Clinton have a bye meaning they won't play again May 11 as there is no fixtures over the Labour Day long weekend. They'll face Bluebirds United at Clinton Oval at 7pm.

O'Sullivan is treating the extended break as both a positive and negative.

"It would be great to play next week and keep the momentum going, but we've got a couple of guys who have been playing busted so be able to give them a couple of weeks of light training will be good," he said.

"But the rest means nothing if it takes us another month to get going again."

Clinton FC 8 (S Roberts 3, M Stephen 2, L Stephen, R Finlay, E Munster) def. Southside United FC 0 at Jardine Park, Rockhampton. Half-time: 3-0 Clinton.



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