Belconnen United 8 (Wells 20′, 45+4′, 51′, Macor 64′, Whithear 73′, Reinhart 79′, Mauragis 82′, Habtemariam 83′) def. O’Connor Knights 5 (Krajacic 23′, Rukavina 27′, Ritchie 44′, Hrstic 54′, Hawker 90+1′)
Belconnen United booked their spot in the final four of Canberra’s FFA Cup qualifying rounds with an enthralling 8-5 win over O’Connor Knights at McKellar Park on Wednesday night.
Knights started well and came out of the blocks strong, with Jake Wilsener nearly opening the scoring just a minute into the game.
The visitors pressed hard on Finn Jurak whenever the goalkeeper had the ball, and Wilsener’s deflected drive and the resulting corner applied more heat to the home backline early on.
But momentum swung when Keegan Jackson was deemed to have brought down Daniel Barac in the area to receive a yellow card, and Dustin Wells stepped up to slot home the penalty and put Belconnen ahead.
Knights wasted no time hitting back though as Danny Krajacic chased a ball deep towards the byline that Jurak whiffed on, before cutting back in and finishing calmly.
Four minutes later they had the lead through great work from Wilsener, as he beat two players along the byline, before cutting the ball back for Corey Rukavina to fire home.
Knights firmly were in control of the momentum, and Krajacic’s swinging corner came to Aldie Cummins just before the half-time break and he controlled the ball down for Eamon Ritchie to put into the back of the net, and double the lead.
But moments before the half-time whistle United were awarded another penalty and Jackson received his second yellow card, and when Wells converted the penalty O’Connor were leading by a goal and down to ten men at half-time.
Wells completed his hat-trick and tied the game on the other side of the break, but a superb goal from Robert Hrstic put O’Connor back ahead. The midfielder took possession a long way out from goal, and hit a superb weighted effort over Finn Jurak and in to give his side the advantage once more.
From there though the man advantage of United began to show and Adrian Macor restored parity with a sensational line drive from 30 yards out that nestled in the top corner.
Sam Whithear scored with just over 25 minutes remaining to give Belconnen the lead and Cam Reinhart nodded home to push the lead to two goals with 10 minutes to play.
A quick-fire salvo from Lucas Mauragis and Sam Habtemariam pushed the lead to 8-4 as the game entered stoppage time, but there was still time for one more sensational goal as Brandon Hawker curled in a brilliant effort over the top of Jurak and into the corner to round off the scoreline.
Belconnen United will now join Canberra FC and Gungahlin United in the semi-finals, with one more team still to progress.