With Brisbane Strikers having wrapped up the title last week, there’s two battles to be resolved in this last round of the NPL. Will FNQ Heat retain second spot in the league, or will Gold Coast City pip them at the very end? Who of Redlands United, Brisbane City or Olympic will fill the final spot in the top four? Those questions will be answered.
Redlands United 3-0 Brisbane Roar Youth, Cleveland, August 19.
It was Redlands United who made the opening case for a top four spot. Redlands had managed to regain their form following their win over Adelaide United in the FFA Cup, while Brisbane Roar lost three of their last four headed into this clash of local rivals. Graham Fyfe got Redlands off to a brilliant start, when he latched onto a loose ball before shooting home from 25 yards. Delors Tuyishime doubled the advantage late in the first half, when he received a through ball from Michael Lee before tucking home across the goalkeeper. Graham Fyfe would get a second early in the second half, when Michael Lee had his cross deflected to the edge of the area, where Fyfe shot home from. Despite the best efforts of the Redlands players, they were unable to add to their advantage. The result saw Redlands move into fourth spot, with the result of the Brisbane City and Olympic games to decide their finals fate.
Sunshine Coast Fire 2-5 Gold Coast City, Kawana, August 20.
Sunshine Coast Fire may have seen their season end weeks earlier, but they took on a Gold Coast City side playing for a home final. The Fire didn’t get off to a good start in this match, as Jeremy Stewart was shown a straight red card for a tackle on Fraser Eller. Eller would end up opening the scoring not long later, as he got on the end of a pass from Nikola Mirkovic before hitting home from the edge of the area. After the break, the Fire would draw level when Alexander Warrilow stepped around his defender and coolly slotted across the goalkeeper from the edge of the area. Two minutes later, Mirkovic restored the advantage for City as he received the ball just outside the area, and wickedly curled it into the net. Ben Litfin, in the Golden Boot race, would add a third for City when he shot home from inside the area on the hour mark. Litfin doubled his goal tally with another shot from inside the area on 81 minutes. Two minutes after that, Paul Mikula found himself through on goal after a botched clearance and shot home from 6 yards to give the Fire some hope of a comeback. That was quashed when Mory Kone deftly tapped the ball into the net from close range just before the end of the game. The result moved Gold Coast City up into second position.
Brisbane Strikers 1-1 Brisbane City, Brisbane, August 20.
The Brisbane Derby took on a unique feel this time around. Brisbane Strikers had just lifted the NPL Queensland trophy for the first time, while Brisbane City needed a win to have any hope of making the finals series. Both sides pushed forward looking for a goal. It took until the 68thminute for that goal to come, as Trent Clulow wiggled through a handful of City defenders before tucking home from close range. City would end up drawing level when Kai Smith was brought down in the box, and the resulting penalty was put away by Samuel Sibatuara. Unfortunately for Brisbane City, they were unable to get a winning goal – the score remained 1-1 and City were eliminated from finals contention.
Moreton Bay United 1-1 Northern Fury, Brisbane, August 20.
It’s been a long season for Northern Fury, as they have gone 21 rounds without a win. Their final chance to rectify that came at Wolter Park against the former champions Moreton Bay United. They got the perfect start to the game, when George Dalton struck with a 35 yard effort over Matt Stein. Royce Brownlie pulled Moreton Bay United level on the hour, when Andrew Ford delivered a corner into the box and Brownlie headed home from close range. This game ended 1-1, with the result meaning Northern Fury went the entire season without a win.
FNQ Heat 0-2 SWQ Thunder, Cairns, August 20.
FNQ Heat went into this clash with an improving SWQ Thunder knowing they needed a win to secure a home final. They got off to the worst imaginable start, as Thomas Fanning hit home a pass from Mustafa Jafari to give the Thunder the lead on 12 minutes. Heat would push forward looking for an equaliser, but it was Jackson Haussler who doubled the advantage for the Thunder on 93 minutes. Haussler received the ball on half way and ran the ball in on the counter attack, wrapping up the match for the Thunder. There would be late fireworks in the game, though, as two 95th minute red cards were issued. Both Adam Daly for the Thunder and Matthew Filip would be sent off. The result consigns the Heat to third place.
Olympic 2-3 Western Pride, Brisbane, August 21.
The last game of the regular season saw Olympic take on Western Pride at Goodwin Park. Olympic went into this game needing to win by five goals in order to make the finals series. They got a great start, when on 5 minutes, Danny Byrne delivered a free kick from the edge of the area that was curled into the net. Pride would end up drawing level on 11 minutes, when Joseph Duckworth ended up with a chance against an open net which he duly converted. Shaun Core would end up giving the Pride the lead on 20 minutes, when he volleyed home from the edge of the area. Things got worse for Olympic, when Jacob Minett struck from 25 yards to give Pride a two goal lead. Barely a minute later, Olympic went down to ten men when James Cuminao was sent off for a serious challenge on Minett. Olympic had hope midway through the second half, when Linden Farr hit home from Danny Byrne’s free kick with a volley inside the area. The game would end up finishing 3-2, with the result eliminating Olympic from finals contention and confirming Redlands United as the fourth place getters.
Brisbane Strikers vs Redlands United, Perry Park, Brisbane, August 28.
Gold Coast City vs FNQ Heat, Barlow Park, Cairns, August 27. (Game relocated to Cairns due to absence of venue on Gold Coast).