Redlands bounce back from last start loss

Rafe Griffin (@rafegriffin)


The moment Michael Lee rounds Olympic keeper Nick Mooney for the opening goal

Redlands claimed a 2-1 win at the Cleveland Showgrounds on Friday night, inflicting more haplessness on Olympic.

After a scoreless first half, Michael Lee opened for the home side followed by a reply from the penalty spot by Abel Fesseha within ten minutes. A Matt Mundy own goal saw Redlands claim all three points.

Curiously, Olympic coach Jim Bellas had three of his better players starting from the bench, former Brisbane Roar duo Sam Cronin and Logan Grillo as well as the current leading scorer in the competition, Youeil Shol.

Both sides struggled for traction in their respective attacking thirds with the ball mainly being contained in the midfield in the first half.

Olympic did have the better of what opportunities there were and they almost took early advantage of an uncharacteristic Brendan White fumble. Defender Grant Brix attempted to clear but Olympic’s Ryan Roderick was on hand and launched a lob towards goal with White off his line but could only steer his effort wide of the upright.

Olympic’s new Victorian recruit Fesseha, provided lead-up play shortly after with some fancy footwork as he attempted to beat defender Nick Danicic but the resulting shot fell wide.

Redlands first real chance came when Paul O’Brien pulled off a wonderful tackle in midfield to dispossess Danny Byrne. O’Brien then set off towards goal, drawing out keeper Nick Mooney who had to be and was decisive in ending any chances of the opening goal, saving at O’Brien’s feet.

Mooney was on hand again midway through the half when former Olympic player Lee crossed in from the right for Russell Woodruffe. Mooney getting to the ball first.

Straight down the other end, Fesseha, Matt Gordon and Lachlan Munn couldn’t find their way past a tight Redlands defensive unit camped on their 18-yard line. Scott Bow was eventually played in but he could only send a low drive straight to White.

Lee and Woodruffe combined once more after a poor Olympic clearance and it was the same result as the previous attempt with Mooney getting up high to punch away with an outstretched hand.

Fesseha was busy down the left and while good with retaining the ball, probably needed to provide quicker delivery in order to better link with his teammates. He was guilty of that five minutes before the break as he got to the by-line and with Byrne screaming for the ball to be cut back to the edge of the box, too much time was wasted and the Olympic captain attempted to dip his shot below the cross bar but was unable to do so.

Two chances to Redlands Nico Bechar prior to halftime to break the deadlock were shut down by Mooney.

Bechar again showed intent straight after the break lifting an effort from outside the box over the bar.

It would be Lee who would break the deadlock. After being played in wonderfully by an Igor Sao Jose pinpoint throughball, he committed Mooney out of his area, was able to round the gloveman and finish into an open net.

Just when it looked like Redlands had wrestled control of the match, Fesseha made a threatening run into the box, so threatening that White collected his feet on the way through and referee Casey Reibelt had no hesitation pointing to the spot.

He then converted his own penalty and Olympic found themselves back on an even keel.

The score came close to see-sawing again when Adam Chandler turned a corner towards goal. Assistant Joey Lee was in the right spot to adjudge on a line-ball decision with Byrne deemed to have cleared off the line in time.

Bechar continued to weave his way more and more into his side’s attack as he forced Mooney into a superb save.

From the resulting corner, Redlands piled the pressure on the Olympic defensive unit with Matt Mundy getting up high with a header in an attempt to clear the area but the ball ended up in his side’s own net.

The opportunistic Igor Sao Jose spotted Mooney off his line and launched an audacious lob from 40 yards out. His attempt falling narrowly wide but while in the process of striking was fouled and ended up succumbing to injury.

Redlands looked certain to put the result beyond doubt as Graham Fyfe launched a wonderful ball on the halfway line forward for Lee to run onto. As he hit the Olympic defenders, he crossed for an unmarked Stephen Green who should have taken it earlier than what he did but that allowed the defenders to recover in time to block his shot.

The result lifts Redlands up into third while Olympic remain in second last with just one win from five outings.

Redlands 2 (Michael Lee 51’, own goal 70’) v Olympic 1 (Abel Fesseha (pen) 60’))

Redlands: Brendan White, Michael McGowan, Grant Brix, Paul O’Brien, Michael Lee, Russell Woodruffe (Stephen Green 79’), Nico Bechar, Graham Fyfe, Adam Chandler, Nick Danicic, Igor Sao Jose (Greg Warden 77’). Subs not used: Doyle Bissett, Sam Langley, Matt Lugo.

Olympic: Nick Mooney, Liam O’Bryan, Mark Fisk (Josh Jokic 60′), Scott Bow, Matt Mundy, Lachlan Munn, Danny Byrne, Ryan Roderick (Youeil Shol 79’), Brad Scott, Matt Gordon (Logan Grillo 88’), Abel Fesseha. Subs not used: Sam Cronin, Dakota Sprange.

Referee: Casey Reibelt