Read the latest from the Queensland NPL.
Redlands United 0-1 Brisbane Strikers, Cleveland, 16 July.
A delayed match from round 13 was the only game of the weekend, but the implications for the finals series were huge. Redlands were struggling to keep their spot in the top four, while a win would see Brisbane Strikers move within a point of the league lead. It would be the Strikers who would get the better start, taking the lead on 25 minutes. A Jake Mclean through ball into the box is laid off by Hiroki Omori before Fraser Hills hits home from inside the area. As the rain started to come down in the second half, the Strikers pushed, looking for a second goal but were unable to find the back of the net. Still, three points for the Strikers strengthens their title chances and sets up a bumper game against the Fire next weekend.
Redlands United 1-0 Western Pride, Cleveland, 22 July.
Redlands looked to bounce back from that loss to Brisbane Strikers in the visit of Western Pride. A good attacking performance by Redlands would end up paying off when they took the lead on 33 minutes. Delors Tuyishime’s deflected shot fell to the feet of Paul O’Brien, before his shot from the edge of the area found its way into the bottom corner on 33 minutes. Redlands continued to push in the first half, with Igor Sao Jose and Jake Sherwood both went close to doubling the advantage. Redland’s aim of winning just their third game in nine was made harder after Grant Brix was sent off for a last man challenge on Bonventure Thomas-Remijo on 53 minutes. Western Pride failed to get an equalising goal and the match finished 0-0.
Brisbane Roar Youth 0-1 FNQ Heat, Cleveland, 23 July.
FNQ Heat went into this game knowing they needed a win to ensure their top spot ahead of the FFA Cup Round of 32 matches. They took on a Roar Youth side looking to return to the winners circle. Heat would take an early lead on 4 minutes, as Crios O’Hare’s blasted cross after a penalty box scramble cannoned off Shimon Watanabe’s head and into the back of the net. Both FNQ Heat and Brisbane Roar Youth would have chances throughout the rest of the game, but none would find the back of the net. FNQ Heat escape with three points and head back to Cairns ahead of their FFA Cup clash with Edgeworth Eagles on Wednesday night.
SWQ Thunder 0-5 Gold Coast City FC, Toowoomba, 23 July.
Gold Coast City went into this game against lowly SWQ Thunder with a perfect opportunity to solidify their spot in the top four. They went a long way to doing that as Rhys Saunders launched a devastating long range free kick into the back of the net on 8 minutes. Ben Liftin would double the advantage on 15 minutes when his run down the right was finished with a shot from a tight angle into the back of the net. A foul on Rhys Saunders by Mitchell Tansky gave Liftin an opportunity for his second from the penalty spot on 31 minutes, which he converted. Daniel Dragicevic would add a fourth to the tally on 70 minutes with a shot from the edge of the area. Rhys Saunders would wrap up the scoring on 84 minutes after a poor backpass and a chip of the goalkeeper from 30 yards.
Brisbane City 0-0 Northern Fury, Brisbane, 23 July.
Brisbane City needed a win in this game to keep up with the top four, and a clash at home with last placed Northern Fury seemed the easiest opportunity for three points. Brisbane City would push and push throughout the game, with Mathew Biggins and Scott Coulson both hitting the crossbar, but they were unable to find a way through the Fury. For the first time this season, the Fury keep a clean sheet, while Brisbane City miss their opportunity to retake their top four spot.
Moreton Bay 0-2 Olympic FC, Brisbane, 23 July.
This match was must win for both sides top four chances. With Olympic 5 points, and Moreton Bay 6 points off the top four, anything but a win could end a top four push. Both sides pushed forward throughout the game, with chance after chance coming, but without a goal until very late in the match. Matthew Gordon’s cross was knocked forward by Matthew Heath, before Kazuya Ito passed to Danny Byrne. Byrne shot from 12 yards and found the back of the net to finally give Olympic a lead on 85 minutes. On 93 minutes, a Sam Cronin through ball to Danny Byrne would be smashed into the net from the edge of the area to wrap up all three points. Olympic’s win puts them in a strong position to make the top four. For Moreton Bay, with a seven point gap to be overturned in their next four games, it seems that their finals chances are over.
Sunshine Coast Fire 0-2 Brisbane Strikers, Kawana, 24 July.
The battle of two of the old enemies of the Queensland State League couldn’t have come at a better time. The Fire had a three game winning run, while the Strikers were pushing for top spot. The Strikers would get the earliest clear chance, with Rhys Meredith having his shot deflect of Sam Nickolls before Grant de Chastel cleared in front of goal. Meredith would end up finding the back of the net though on 18 minutes. A long ball forward down the right by Trent Clulow left Meredith behind the Fire defence and he shot across Nickolls and into the net to give the Strikers the lead. The Strikers would continue to push, with Fraser Hills shooting narrowly wide from 6 yards and Meredith hitting the post from roughly the same distance. In the second half, Alexander Warrilow went extremely close to drawing the Fire level, as his shot from the edge of the area hit the post and bounced wide. Moments later though, Jake Mclean’s through ball to Trent Clulow sent him free down the right and he shot home on the edge of the area. Both sides would continue to push but the score stayed 2-0. The result sees Strikers stay only a point behind first and prepares them nicely for their FFA Cup trip to Darwin Rovers.
SWQ Thunder vs Olympic FC, Toowoomba, 30 July.
Northern Fury vs Brisbane Roar Youth, Townsville, 30 July.
FNQ Heat vs Redlands United, Innisfail, 30 July.
Moreton Bay United vs Sunshine Coast Fire, Brisbane, 30 July.
Gold Coast City vs Brisbane City, Gold Coast, 31 July.
Brisbane Strikers vs Western Pride, Brisbane, 31 July.