Suns left in dark
By MARK ROBINSON
THE North Coast Suns face an agonising wait until Wednesday night before knowing if they have earned a place in the final of the Summer Soccer Youth League.
The Suns surrendered top place on the ladder to the Queensland Academy of Sport with a 4-1 loss to the QAS at Weston Park, Goonellabah, on Saturday night, but are still clinging to second place after other results went their way.
Palm Beach meet Rochedale Rovers on Wednesday night in the final pool match.
A win to Palm Beach would allow them to steal second spot from the Suns on goal difference. A loss or draw for Palm Beach would put the Suns into their first final, when they would again face QAS.
The two sides produced a highly entertaining clash at Weston Park on Saturday night, with the Suns showing great intensity and purpose in the first half to hold a surprise 1-0 lead at the break.
Joel Gosper scored a well-constructed goal after Eden Robinson instigated the move with a break down the right flank, before Tom Guttormsen set up Gosper with an unselfish square ball in front of goal.
Guttormsen came close to scoring himself several times and was unlucky to hit the upright just before the break.
QAS also created chances during the first half with Australian Under-20 representative David Williams and Joeys striker Robbie Kruse looking ominous.
It was Williams who turned the game around after the break, setting up the opening goal for QAS with a clever back-heel just after the restart.
He then went on to score a hat-trick of brilliant goals, the first coming when he brought down a long ball under pressure before turning his marker and slotting home a clinical finish.
Williams' pace and control allowed him to find room to blast two more goals past Suns goalkeeper Alex Pratt in a consummate display of finishing skills.
While QAS finished the game well on top, the Suns had periods where they were in control and will learn a lot from the experience should they meet again in the final.
nThe North Coast Flames have ended their Women's Summer League group games in disappointing fashion, with a 6-1 hiding from the Gold Coast at Coomera on Saturday.
The Flames had no answer to the pace of the Gold Coast and trailed 3-0 by half-time, with Amanda Brett scoring their solitary goal after the break.
The Flames will now contest the fifth/sixth place play-off in their final match at Crozier Oval, Lismore, next week.