With just four games remaining in the 2010 football season, much has still to be decided in the bottom half of the ladder with Pine Rivers, Mt Gravatt, Beenleigh, Taringa Rovers and Redlands United all battling to avoid relegation from the Veto Premier League. Redlands United have a Canale Cup semi-final to play on Wednesday evening at Capalaba before welcoming Peninsular Power to the Cleveland Showgrounds in what should be another nail biter on Saturday.
On Sunday afternoon Redlands went out to Yeronga to take on third placed Brisbane Olympic and although the result was not what they wanted, going down 2-1 in a very close affair, their overall performance showed that league positions can be deceptive.
The Devils got off to a flyer with Chris Arslan opening the scoring within 90 seconds, lobbing Olympic keeper Shannon Lancini from 25 yards after Jack Lyons put him in behind the Olympic back line. The lead was short lived though with Richard Greer volleying home from a corner in the fourth minute. Both sides went on to have good spells of possession and Redlands Keeper Mitch O’Brien saved at the foot of his post from a Hyuk-Su Seo free kick, and then thwarted another attack, saving with his legs after racing off his line. At the other end, Jack Lyons appeared to be crudely pulled to the ground in the Olympic penalty box, but nothing was given and Chris Arslan put a free kick just over the bar before Shannon Lancini was forced to save from Jack Lyons. With four minutes remaining in the half the pacey Matt Heath was put through and as Mitch O’Brien came out to close the angle Heath took a touch past the keeper and slotted his shot inside the near post to take the home side into the break with a one goal advantage.
Within a minute of the restart, Redlands carved out a great scoring opportunity following some fine build up play involving Scott Bow and Graham Fyfe, which culminated in Jack Lyons shot being hacked away off the goal line. Both sides moved the ball around quickly, but it was probably the visitors who were gaining the upper hand in terms of possession in a half of few genuine goal scoring opportunities. In the 71st minute Mitch O’Brien was alert enough to push a quickly taken free kick past his post and Jack Lyons responded in the 80th minute with a rocket from twenty yards out that fizzed just over the Olympic crossbar. Alex Panic burst through the Redlands back line in the 86th minute but wastefully pulled his shot well wide of the Redlands goal. Redlands pushed big defender Nevin Saroya into the forward line with five minutes remaining in an attempt to force the draw, but despite their efforts they could not force a second goal.
Despite the narrow loss Devils Assistant Coach Dave Thorogood was still upbeat after the match. “Obviously we are all disappointed about the result, but not about the performance. We certainly matched it with Olympic today and played some good football before eventually losing out in a very tight game. Apart from the obvious goal that won them the game there was nothing between the two sides and I thought from a neutral viewpoint it would have been a decent game to watch. Unfortunately decent performances don’t always get the reward and we have to lift again when we play Power on Saturday. The attitude amongst the lads is very positive though and we will go into the game in a good frame of mind.”