The statistics suggest today’s FQPL 2 Under 23 semi-final, between ACE and North Star at Wolter Park (5pm), could be a cracker.
One goal separated the sides in the regular season (ACE won 2-1 both times). One place separated them on the ladder (ACE were second, North Star third).
ACE had the second best defence (conceded 27), North Star the second best attack (scored 75). The clubs are also the closest sporting neighbours with just 8.4kms between the grounds.
However, in a season which started with huge change, as ACE moved in the FQPL, four key figures remain from last year’s all-conquering Reserves.
Danny Bryant (pictured above), Charlie Coster, Kel Neil and Aaron Powell were in the ACE Reserves side that won the Brisbane Premier League (BPL) Premiership and Grand Final – without losing a game.
And tonight they will be looking to lead ACE to its first FQPL 2 grand final.
“I think we’ve had a good season,” said Danny Bryant, who has been with ACE or Moreton Bay United for 16 of his 20 years.
“We lost some quality players and leaders from last season (when the BPL finished) but the players who came in have been up for the task since day one.
“We have a very young squad and all finals have a bit of pressure, but the boys can handle it.”
The midfielder said there are players on both sides who have played with and against each other, adding to the spice of a local derby semi-final.
“Our last game against Magic was good (won 3-0),” he said. “We’ve not scored a lot of goals this season, but we have defended well.
“We have plenty of quality and creativity in the side and this match may be decided on who wins the midfield.”
Key figures for ACE may be top scorers Santiago Castro Marin (16 goals) and Max Gray (8 goals) as well as keeper Caleb Patterson.
North Star have the division’s leading scorer, Kelechi Ndiulo (23 goals) and former ACE junior Kyle Speirs (10 goals).