Last Saturday evening the Red Devils prevailed in the top of the table clash at Perry Park when they overcame a very strong Brisbane Strikers side 2-1 to move clear top on the FQPL1 Table.
Redlands came out of the blocks strongly and after only 2 minutes Ryo Emoto had the ball in the back of the net after fine lead up play by Ben Njie but unfortunately after a long discussion with the linesman the goal was disallowed for offside.
With the Redlands players out of position celebrating the goal Strikers sent it long to Jordan Farina trying to catch Redlands off guard. Redlands goalkeeper Joel D’Cruz was alert to the situation and managed to cut out the ball, but it also was called back for offside. The ball was then sent long again into the Strikers goal area only for the officials to call another offside, in the space of a minute.
The 1st 10 to 15 minutes were all Redlands with the game played mostly in the Strikers half of the field. The Red Devils were pressing hard and closing down the Strikers at every opportunity. Then the Strikers started to move more into the game. Redlands were not being allowed to play their fast crisp passing game and Strikers were moving the ball wide at every opportunity trying to stretch Redlands compacted defense.
Midway through the half, Strikers had their best period of the game, as they looked to use their height advantage. A cross from out wide was met by a Strikers’ head but was denied by a diving D’Cruz save. A dominant header from a corner was cleared off the goal line at the far post and a shot from the clearance found D’Cruz perfectly positioned to safely take the ball.
The remainder of the half was a battle ranging from goal box to goal box with neither side gaining the advantage.
As the 2nd half commenced Redlands came out fired up and created more and more scoring opportunities whilst limiting the Strikers scoring chances. Redlands had Strikers on the back foot from the onset creating opportunities and forcing goalkeeper Luke Borean into action a number of times to hold the Red Devils at bay.
Finally the pressure told and the breakthrough came on 61 minutes when from a Redlands free kick the ball was cleared out wide in the goal box where Ryota Sumiyoshi was 1st to the ball and fouled from behind inside the box giving the referee no choice but to award a penalty.
Ryo Emoto stood up to take the penalty and making no mistake to give the Red Devils a 1-0 lead.
On 67 minutes the Red Devils almost extended the lead when a Ben Njie free kick beat Borean in goals but hit the far post and bounced back across the goal and the Redlands players following in the free kick were unable to control the rebounding ball giving the defenders time to get back.
The resultant goal kick went straight to Emoto who slid across the goal mouth and slipped the ball past the defender and despairing Borean giving Redlands a 2-0 lead.
Strikers had developed a reputation as comeback kings over the past few weeks and weren’t to be discounted as they increased the pressure on the Redlands defense. Strikers worked the ball downfield for Farina to meet a low cross and force D’Cruz into a diving save. Despite Strikers increasing pressure on Redlands, the Red Devils front 3 were continually causing headaches for the Strikers defense and creating opportunities.
However Strikers really stepped up the pressure on the Redlands defense in the last 8 minutes but Redlands were able to absorb the pressure and repel the Strikers advances. Against the run of play, Sumiyoshi stole the ball on the edge of the box worked it to the byline and cut the ball back to Njie in the 6 yard box whose shot unfortunately found Borean who comfortably took the ball.
On 90 minutes Strikers were awarded a penalty when D’Cruz was adjudged to have fouled Farina whilst clearing a ball. Farina made no mistake to put the Strikers on the board. The remainder of the game was played around the Strikers end of the field and the final score ran out 1-2 in favour of the Red Devils.
Redlands Head Coach Graham Harvey was pleased with his side’s performance and commented, “The boys were very disciplined and professional tonight. We have a lot of football ahead of us so it is important we take one game at a time.”
Redlands Man of the Match was our inspirational skipper Sam Langley.
Next weekend Redlands are at home Saturday 7 May against the in-form Magpies Crusaders United, at 6pm in their Round 9 fixture at 6pm.
.Redlands United FC
20. Joel D’Cruz, 2. Dylan Brent, 6. Sam Langley ( C ), 7. Guil Santana, 8. Gabriel Hawash, 9. Ben Njie,
10. Ryo Emoto, 12. Noah Hitchcock, 13. Angus Broderick, 15. Liam O’Bryan, 19. Ryota Sumiyoshi
Subs. 1. Ryan Govan, 3. Max Ellenger, 11. Ryan Hughes, 14. Deanne Alterio, 21. Byron McLeod
Red Devils Guil Santana caused problems for the Strikers all game in Redlands 2-1 defeat of The Brisbane Strikers FC. Photo Ray Gardner