FFA Cup: Port United progress to round six

PORT United could be as little as two wins away from an FFA Cup meeting with an A-League opponent.

United progressed to the final 128 teams in the competition following a successful weekend at Coffs Harbour.

Their FFA Cup campaign started as a pre-season competition with a focus on fitness that would allow them to start the Football Mid North Coast Premier League season full of running.

But they have kept winning.

They had to do it the hard way at the C.Ex Coffs International Stadium, outlasting Urunga FC 5-4 after 120 minutes on Saturday, overcoming an early 3-1 deficit.

Matt Broderick provided the match-winning play when he found the back of the net in their nine-goal thriller.

United then accounted for Armidale’s Demon Knights 2-0 on Sunday.

Jake Pugh and Harry Gordon scored the goals as United continued on their winning way and booked their ticket into the sixth round.

We have no idea how far we can go.

Port United coach Nathan Wade

Coach Nathan Wade was pleased Gordon kept finding the onion bag.

“He has the ability to slip in behind the defence and be in the right spot at the right time,” Wade said.

“He’s making the right runs at the right time.”

Wade admitted they had set no goals before the start of the competition.

Despite their success, they aren’t going to reassess how deep into the tournament they could progress.

“We have no idea how far we can go,” the coach said.

“The further we go, the harder the competition gets.

We realise at some stage we’re going to get knocked out, but when that will be we’re not sure.

Nathan Wade

“We realise at some stage we’re going to get knocked out, but when that will be we’re not sure.”

An overall weekend “plan” paid perfect dividends as United sent a squad to Coffs Harbour with the idea not to play the same 11 in consecutive days.

It worked a treat.

“We had a bit of a plan that if we got through on Saturday we’d have a few extra players on Sunday,” Wade said.

“It worked out that Demon Knights also played extra time the day before as well so both sides had played 120 minutes.

“We had three fresh guys play on Sunday and two others only had half a game on Saturday.

“That probably told in the end because we ran over the top of them in the second half.”

United now face a trip to Speers Point on the June long weekend and fixtures against Northern NSW teams that compete in the National Premier League.

We know there are stronger competitions than what we play in, but each level we get to we’ll end up playing against guys that are paid to play.

Nathan Wade

Those matches will be held on June 9 and 11 and will make up the NNSWF quarter-finals and semi-finals.

The two winners from that weekend will represent Northern NSW Football in the National FFA Cup Round of 32.

The Round of 32 is when Hyundai A-League clubs enter the competition.

“We’re realists,” Wade said.

“We know there are stronger competitions than what we play in, but each level we get to we’ll end up playing against guys that are paid to play.

“All we can do is our best and see what happens.”

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