GCU Youth triumph in the rain

Gold Coast United Youth has given its finals chances a massive boost, with a 5-0 win against the AIS on Saturday at a rainy Southport Tigers.

Gold Coast United Youth has given its finals chances a massive boost, with a 5-0 win against the AIS on Saturday at a rainy Southport Tigers.

Matt Osman and Ben Halloran each scored a brace on a wet and windy afternoon riddled with errors, heavy touches, and heavier rain.

United fielded a strong eleven, giving starts to first-team regulars Dino Djulbic, Robson, Osman, Tahj Minniecon and James Brown, signaling its intentions to control the match against an AIS outfit that is younger, less experienced, and has notched up only two wins for the entire season.

Gold Coast needed a win to keep alive its hopes of playing finals football, and came out of the blocks firing, scoring three goals in the first 16 minutes.

The first came in the 8th minute, after a lovely Tahj Minniecon run saw the ball come to Ben Halloran, whose shot from the edge of the 18-yard box went in the back of the net, past AIS keeper Aaron Lennox.

Minutes later, a mistake from the AIS's Curtis Good in the middle of the park left space for James Brown to exploit, but his shot on goal hit the upright. The ball bounced out to Halloran, who was fouled just outside the box in the 12th minute before he could take his shot.

Matt Osman took the resulting free kick, and put it straight past an out-of-position Lennox.

Soon after, an AIS mix-up left Chris Harold with a clear run to goal, but his legs were clipped just outside the area, and the referee awarded a free kick almost in the exact same spot as the one taken minutes earlier. This time, Osman's 15th minute shot deflected off the wall, but it still ended up past the keeper.

After their third goal, it was clear United's hunger for more had gone, with the weather perhaps keeping both sides on the back foot until at least half-time.

James brown made a jinking run from the middle of the park to just outside the box, weaving his way through the AIS defence, but his 33rd minute shot lacked power and was easy for the keeper to pick up.

The AIS had a rough time, only threatening on the counter attack where their execution of the final ball was sorely lacking.

Their best chance in the first half came from a Marc Warren free kick just outside the box to the right, but he skied it well over the crossbar.

After the break, the AIS came out with a lot more purpose, but the first goal in the second half was again to United.

In the 54th minute, Halloran found himself with the ball in the attacking half, and dribbled through the AIS defence who gave him far too much room.

His shot from outside the box hit the left upright before dribbling into the back of the net.

Almost immediately after, the ball came to AIS keeper Lennox, who had possession just on the inside of his area. As he passed it around with the defenders around him, the ball went through a large puddle of rain, which slowed the ball-s movement down significantly.

Harold kept the pressure on and eventually stole the ball, and chipped it over the keeper and into the back of the net.

The rain became more and more of a factor as the game went on, with large areas of the pitch becoming waterlogged. Referee Alan Milliner called the game off in the 62nd minute, with the result at the time standing.

Gold Coast now needs a win against Adelaide United next Sunday at Hindmarsh Stadium to secure its place in the finals series, which starts on Saturday 13 March.

Gold Coast United 5 (Halloran 8, 54, Osman 12, 15, Harold 58)


@ Southport Tigers