Belconnen United, Brindabella Blues, Belnorth and ANU FC progressed to Round 4 of the Australia Cup with wins in the Capital Football Qualifying competition over the weekend.
Curtis Schaeffer grabbed a cup hat-trick as Brindabella Blues swamped State League Burns FC at Kambah 2, the quickfire striker scoring three times in the space of eight minutes in the second half as the Blues eased into Round 4.
Burns were plucky and organised, but the Blues were far too slick for their lower league opponents and, after first-half goals from Dhuel Nyarnhom and Jayden Deighan-Smith, they were in complete control.
Henry Wilks killed the contest with the third goal on the hour mark, before Schaeffer took centre stage with his treble. A seventh, converted by Kalan Hair saw Brindabella net five in fourteen minutes to progress.
The University derby threatened to throw up a classic ‘cupset’ as State League UC Stars led much-fancied Capital League opposition ANU FC 1-0 at half-time before the perennial CPL title contenders roared back into contention to book a place in Round 4 and a visit to Griffith to take on Yoogali SC.
The Stars shone in the opening stanza and deserved the lead given to them by Ripjeet Sohi in the 27th minute, a strike that had UC dreaming of progression at the expense of their traditional rivals in the ‘Black Mountain Battle’.
ANU FC, under new leadership in Tom Crossley, regrouped at the interval and returned a rejuvenated and different outfit. They needed to score early though to avoid giving UC additional hope and Rowan Peterkin managed just that, netting eight minutes after the resumption of play to make it 1-1.
The turnaround was full seven minutes later when Peterkin had his second of the match, and when Rory Spiers added a third with eleven minutes remaining, normal service appeared resumed and ANU FC marched on, albeit having been given something of a scare.
Belnorth earned themselves a fourth round meeting with Weston-Molonglo as three first-half goals in 26 minutes gave them the platform to sweep aside Woden Valley, 7-1, at Hawker Football Centre.
The State League battle looked likely to be evenly-matched but Belnorth stormed out of the blocks and had a three-goal cushion by half-time, a lead that they were never to relinquish.
In a team that featured Futsalroo international and former NPL star Nick Rathjen, Belnorth underlined their status as the favourites by taking the lead in the 12th minute through Jonathan Ciminelli and, after an own goal from Johnny Steenhof and the first of two from Shaun Neuss, Belnorth were in control.
Two goals in quick succession from Joshua Argenti and Joshua Broekhuyse sealed the contest and, despite a consolation from Abhishek Chapagain for Woden Valley, Neuss and Daniel Larkin completed the scoring for an impressive Belnorth.
The only match played on Sunday saw a five-goal epic at McKellar Park as Belconnen United, aback under the leadership of Steve Forshaw, had just enough to see off Queanbeyan City in front of a large and vociferous crowd.
A pair of goals in extra time, within four minutes of each other, proved enough for the Blue Devils to progress, a late strike from the visitors making for a nervy ending, but on the balance of play Belconnen deserved to go through.
City had the lead midway through a fractious first-half when Abderrahim Dellahi dispossessed young goalkeeper Lachie Brown and rolled the ball into the gaping net. The striker may have had a second close to the break, but after breaking clear from Phil Borgeaud, screwed his shot wide.
In between time Hayden Tunney forced a smart save from Queanbeyan goalkeeper Nick Middleton and the evergreen Dustin Wells shuddered the woodwork with a trademark free-kick from the edge of the area.
Belconnen levelled ten minutes into the second half as Harry Billington somehow found room on the bye-line to cut the ball back for Wells whose first-time lay-off was gleefully wept underneath Middleton by Luke Vallone, much to the delight of the majority of the packed grandstand.
Both sides had chances to win it in normal time, Vallone having been denied in a one-on-one just prior to his goal and David Carder hitting the base of the post for the hosts, whilst clear cut openings were rarer for Queanbeyan, for whom the tireless running of Dellahi and substitute Gianni Corrigan was a headache for the Belconnen defence.
Extra-time was barely underway before Belconnen hit the front, a long ball finding Tyson Livermore who sent an exquisite chip from distance over the head of Middleton for a spectacular strike, that was followed by a similarly brilliant goal as Belconnen edged 3-1 in front.
Taylor Beaton fed Abraham Kemp and the replacement midfielder skipped pasta couple of Queanbeyan challenges before clipping a beautifully placed finish into the top corner of the net.
An opportunistic finish from Daniel Felizzi with six minutes remaining made for a nerve-shredding ending as City went in search of an equaliser to take the match to penalties, but Belconnen had done enough to earn a fourth round trip to Brindabella Blues.
Saturday 4 March
ANU FC 3 (Peterkin 53’, 60’, Spiers 79’) UC Stars 1 (Sohi 27’)
Burns FC 0 Brindabella Blues 7 (Nyarnhom 12’, Deighan-Smith 31’, Wilks 60’, Schaeffer 63’, 64’, 71’, Hair 74’)
Woden Valley 1 (Chapagain 66’) Belnorth 7 (Ciminelli 12’, Steenhof 18’ (og), Neuss 38’, 87’, Argenti 57’, Broekhuyse 60’, Larkin 90+2’)
Sunday 5 March
Belconnen United 3 (Vallone 55’, Livermore 94’, Kemp 98’) Queanbeyan City 2 (Dellahi 23’, Felizzi 114’) – after extra time