By Liam Emerton
There’s a huge match brewing in the Central Queensland Premier League (CQPL) this weekend with the teams in green clashing in Round 18.
Gladstone’s Clinton FC will battle arch-rivals Frenchville Roos and will seek revenge after succumbing to the league leaders two weeks ago.
In their last meeting, Frenchville outplayed Clinton, winning 6-1, rising to the top of the leaderboard.
Since that match, the Roos and FC both picked up wins against Central FC and Bluebirds United respectively.
In Frenchville’s last match against Central, the deadlock broke in the 81st minute when Roos captain Jordan Miller put his side ahead.
Central reacted rapidly to going behind, finding an equaliser through Joel Frost just three minutes later.
But with time ticking away Cooper Lems became Frenchy’s hero with a 90th minute winner to keep the Roos at the apex of the table.
Clinton travelled to Webber Park on Sunday 25 July and managed to pick up a huge three points despite naming just 12 players on the sheet.
Heading into the half-time break, tensions began to rise when Bluebirds’ Blake Penfold and Clinton’s Ryan Finlay were sent off within minutes of each other.
That left both sides with 10 men on the pitch for the second half, but Clinton teammates Scott Rouse and Anthony Cobb took advantage, scoring two goals to give their side a two-goal lead.
The Bluebirds managed to pull one goal back but Dan Jackson secured the win for Clinton with an 89th-minute strike.
Both teams’ wins have sent each other on a collision course with just three competition points separating them on the league table.
Frenchville got the better of Clinton in recent matches, so it will be a huge test for the Gladstone team and could give it the perfect run into the upcoming finals series.
In other men’s CQ Premier League matches, Central FC will play Nerimbera Magpies on Sunday 1 August at Brian Niven Park.
The Magpies have been impressive in recent weeks, securing a win against Frenchville and on the weekend picked up a handy 1-1 draw against Capricorn Coast FC, meaning they have not lost a match since round seven.
Central has also beaten the league leaders Frenchville this season but has fallen off in form in recent matches.
However, the Gladstone team are the last team to have defeated the Magpies, who are now gunning for Central’s top-four spot.
The final match of the men’s CQ Premier League round 18 will see Bluebirds United facing off against Capricorn Coast Eagles.
In the women’s CQPL, Central FC will play two games on the weekend, facing off against Bluebirds United Blue on Saturday then taking on Nerimbera on Sunday.
The Magpies will face off against Gracemere Redbacks on Friday night giving them an extra day off before clashing with the current league leaders.
Bluebirds United White will be in action Friday 30 July, shaping up against Capricorn Coast while Frenchville hosts Clinton FC on Saturday 31 July.