Bundaberg Spirit’s Korey Nix, left, keeps his Fire opponent at bay as he considers his options.
Bundaberg Spirit’s Korey Nix, left, keeps his Fire opponent at bay as he considers his options. Paul Donaldson

Spirit pays penalty for question

BUNDABERG Bundaberg Toyota Spirit coach Tony Roebuck believes they should have been awarded a penalty for a foul late in the first half of their Queensland State League home clash with Sunshine Coast on Saturday.

With scores dead-locked at nil-all, it would have given the Spirit the chance to draw first blood against the unbeaten reigning premiers but it was not given, and the Fire made the most of their let-off.

They bagged two goals in the last 10 minutes of the half, before wrapping up a 3-0 victory with another about 15 minutes from the end.

Roebuck said he “thought it was a valid penalty” but instead of receiving a shot from the spot, English import Kallum Nix copped a yellow card for his outburst in response to the decision.

“If we had been awarded the penalty and got it, it would have changed the game and it would have been a whole different story but we also had a few other dubious decisions against us,” Roebuck said.

“Their first goal came from a defensive error and second from a free kick set piece, and it was disappointing they came so close to half-time because I consider we outplayed them in the first half.”

Roebuck said the team played well despite another loss.

To add salt to their wounds, Kallum Nix succumbed to a hamstring injury later in the first stanza.

“It's fairly serious and he'll probably miss a month at least, and it's another great import on the sidelines (after Vanuatu international Commins Menapi suffered a long-term knee injury in previous home game).

“It's the story of our luck at the moment,” Roebuck said.

The coach said Laurie Stephenson was again a tower of strength at the back.

“Also Kitchy (captain Brett Kitching) did a good job in the middle for his first game back (from injury) and John Brillante and Jack Hambrecht did a lot of running out wide,” he said.

However Roebuck said he did not play Luke Leggett “because his hamstring was still suspect” and Tom Kimber and Elliot Causer both played off the bench.

“But Jason De Papi was sent off for a second yellow card with five minutes to go, and with him, Kallum through injury, Elliot with work commitments, and Jack and Luke, both with personal commitments, I'll lose five out the team to travel to Townsville next week,” he said.

“I just hope everyone else gets through training.”

This Saturday's clash with North Queensland Razorbacks will mark the start of the second half of the season, and Roebuck believes they can improve greatly on their one win and one draw in the first half.

“It's the same story again – the opposition coach complimented us on playing some good football, and we just have got to keep working away at it, and eventually our luck has got to change,” he said.

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