A bitterly cold Saturday evening at Compass Grounds in Cleveland, greeted both teams for the Football Queensland Naidoc round of fixtures. Both teams looked resplendent in their Naidoc Week playing strips.
Redlands United continued their home form in a hard fought battle with Caboolture Sports FC. The Reds picked up another valuable 3 competition points to consolidate 2nd place on the ladder, keeping pressure on leaders Rochedale Rovers who are just 2 points ahead of the Red Devils.
As soon as the match commenced Caboolture were at Redlands playing an “in your face” pressing defense intent on putting the Reds off their usual fast paced passing style game.
Just over 4 minutes into the game and Redlands were on the board as Ryo Emoto received the ball out left and drove to the goal line and into the box at speed only to be brought down by the Caboolture defenders. Dylan Brent stepped up to take the penalty and made no mistake to give Redlands an early lead.
The game was nonstop going from end to end with both sides defending tightly and not letting the other side settle on the ball. Both sides earned a few corners but all were handled well by both defenses.
As the game progressed Redlands created a few opportunities but were unable to make them count on the scoreboard due to Caboolture’s tight scrambling defense. Caboolture on the other hand had not tested Ryan Govan, his role had been more of a sweeper cleaning up long balls played through and organizing his defensive line. At half time Redlands maintained their 1-0 lead.
The 2nd commenced just like the 1st half had. Caboolture continued to apply their tight pressing game and try to attack at pace, however Govan and Redlands defensive line held firm. Redlands continued to push forward and after a couple of minutes Ryo Emoto’s slide just could not connect with Bird’s shot across the face of goal.
Just 5 minutes in and Redlands were back on the scoreboard. Mitch Bird drove down the right and crossed to Guil Santana in the goal mouth. His initial shot was stopped by the defenders on the goal line but after a short goal scramble Santana cleverly back healed the ball into the net to extend Redlands lead to 2-0.
For the next half hour Redlands had the better of the play creating chances but just unable to add further to the scoreboard.
On 72 minutes Tyson Randle got the visitors on the score sheet. Caboolture were controlling the ball around Redlands’ goal where it was headed back to Randle just outside the penalty box. His first time shot rocketed into the bottom corner of the net giving Govan no chance.
The goal lifted Caboolture and for the next 15 minutes, they had their best passage of the game as they chased an equalizer and Redlands dug deep and defended stoutly. A free header inside the box forced Govan into a point blank save tipping the ball over the crossbar.
Redlands survived the Caboolture onslaught and on 87 minutes Dylan Brent turned his defender and played Emoto down the right line where he played the ball in behind the defense to allow Ben Njie to gather the ball and make no mistake making 3-1 to the home side.
As the game neared fulltime Ryota Sumiyoshi gathered the ball on half way and played it to Njie who turned and played it to Bird who went between 2 defenders at pace and then from the edge of the box slotted the ball into the corner of the net giving the keeper no chance.
The referee’s whistle went for fulltime a few minutes later giving Redlands a hard fought but deserved 4-1 victory.
After the match Redlands Assistant Coach Griffin Mansfield-Taylor commented “It's great to get 3 points at home, credit to the boys for digging in deep when things got tough and we continue to look forward to the rest of the season.”
Redlands Man of the Match was the hard working goal scorer Mitch Bird.
The Red Devils a week’s break and then are on the road to Ipswich as they take on Ipswich Knights at Bundamba on Sunday afternoon in Round 18 of the FQPL1, at 3.15pm with the Under 23’s at 1pm.
Redlands United FC
1. Ryan Govan, 2. Dylan Brent, 3. Max Ellenger, 5. Mitch Bird, 7. Guil Santana, 8. Gabriel Hawash (C), 10. Ryo Emoto, 12. Noah Hitchcock, 15. Liam O’Bryan, 17. James Bonomi, 19. Ryota Sumiyoshi
Subs: 9. Ben Njie, 11. Lee-Navu Faunt, 14. Deane Alterio, 22. Prasiddha Paudyal, 23. Daniel Varma
Red Devils Ryo Emoto in action for Redlands United in Saturday’s clash against Caboolture Sports FC.
Photo Ray Gardner