Lions FC 1 (Reardon 33′)
Olympic FC 2 (Lofthouse 45+2′; Lucas 77′)
Played at AJ Kelly Park.
In an ever classic close encounter with Olympic FC, Nathan Reardon’s first half header was not enough to prevent Olympic inflicting a first defeat on Lions since early May and progressing to the NPL QLD Grand Final with a come from behind 2-1 success at AJ Kelly Park on Saturday evening.
The last loss for the Richlands side was at the hands of Brisbane Strikers in Preliminary Round 5 of the FFA Cup and this latest defeat was only Lions fourth in all competitions this year.
Reardon opened the scoring shortly after the half hour mark when he guided his header past Olympic stopper Brandon Cuminao from Joe Duckworth’s free kick as Lions looked to be getting control of preceedings.
However, with the first half into added time, Shelford Dais laid the ball back to Jez Lofthouse who from a 15 yards out, drilled a low shot across Lions keeper Luke Borean into the bottom far corner to restore parity on the stroke of half time.
Neither side grasped the initiative in the second term until, with a quarter of an hour remaining, neat build up play from Olympic saw Steven Whyte deliver a delightful cross into the box for Chris Lucas who ghosted between two Lions defenders and cushioned his header past Borean to give his side the lead.
Lions tried in vain to respond but in the end rarely troubled Cuminao in the Olympic goal as once again another thrilling encounter between these two foes finally went the way of the side from Yeronga, putting behind them last season’s Grand Final defeat to the men in orange.
Both sides had opportunities in the opening period. Andy Thompson seeing his free kick from the edge of the box go narrowly wide and soon after Chris Lucas played through on goal by Costa Psaros after picking the pocket of Shaun Carlos, but Broean did narrowed the angle and got a leg to Lucas’s effort.
Lions seemed to lack their usual penetrative attacking style, especially in the second half. Despite the disappointment of not progressing through to a consecutive NPL Grand Final berth, attentions will firmly turn to the National NPL Finals Series and their home clash against Campbelltown City SC, the side that defeated them in the National NPL Final in 2018 and maybe a week’s rest before that encounter may prove to be a blessing in disguise.
“Firstly I want to say congratulations to Ben Cahn and Olympic and we wish them all the best for the final. On the game, we just couldn’t get going and the concerns were there all week from our perspective.”
“We tried all we could to get into the game but in the end it wasn’t to be. I couldn’t be prouder of our playing group for the efforts they’ve put in all season culminating in us winning league over 28 games. We have one more trophy to play for so we will give the boys a rest and go again.”
Team Line ups:
Borean (gk), Jarrard, Thompson, Reardon, Carlos, M. Hore, Duckworth, H. Hore, Macuace, Brindell-South, Kim.
Subs: Riley (rgk), Walpole, Sawyer, Shepherd, Madle.
B. Cuminao (gk), Glover, Whyte, Mundy, Dais, Ito, Lucas, Lofthouse, Psaros, Lasm, Smith.
Subs: Sprange (rgk), Waters, Panzer, Driver, J. Cuminao.
Referee: Anton Shchetinin