Redlands snuff out Heat’s unbeaten run.

IMG_3636Rafe Griffin (@rafegriffin)

Redlands have ended FNQ Heat’s seven-game unbeaten run to the start of the NPL season with a 2-0 victory at the Cleveland Showgrounds on Saturday afternoon. A first half goal to Michael McGowan was complimented by substitute Taylor Brayley-Combe’s winner in the dying moments.

The Heat signaled intentions first as Darcy McCormack delivered a cross that provided Redlands keeper Matt Lugo with few issues.

Josh Pin almost took advantage of a sleeping Redlands defence fifteen minutes in. After being played in from a free kick, he belted a ball into the side netting.

Both sides struggled for cohesion going forward, something that could be attributed to a warmer than normal late April afternoon as well as a fierce seabreeze whipping off nearby Moreton Bay. The Heat may also have had heavy legs from their midweek FFA Cup match that was played in equally as heavy conditions.

Nico Bechar made a customary run down the left flank for the home side before linking up with Nick Danicic who took a shot from the edge of the box that forced FNQ Heat custodian Kevin Ward into a fine save.

Midway through the half, an Ari Isman cross was initially defused but the Redlands defence struggled to completely shut down the threat. Pin and Darcy McCormack putting successive shots from near the six-yard box that failed to find their target.

The opening goal came when McGowan was able to rise above the pack to head across the face a Graham Fyfe free kick.

On the stroke of halftime, Jamie Carroll’s attempt to find an equaliser was cut out by a desperate Redlands defence.

The breeze died down in the second half making for a better spectacle but opportunities were still few and far between.

Michael Lee delivered a free kick for Russell Woodruffe near the hour mark but he steered his header high and wide of the goal.

Danicic almost doubled the home side’s advantage but a last-ditch block by Isman ensured that Ward wasn’t cut short.

Ward kept his side in with a chance to take something out of the match as Bechar attempted to blast home but a disorganised Heat defence from a subsequent Redlands advance allowed substitute Brayley-Combe, scoring off the bench for the second week in a row, to ice the win.

Both sides keep their respective places on the table but the gap between top-placed FNQ Heat and second-place Redlands narrows to just one point a third of the way through the season.

Redlands 2 (Michael McGowan 27’, Taylor Brayley-Combe 88’) v FNQ Heat 0

Redlands: Matt Lugo, Grant Brix, Kai Haliiday, Paul O’Brien, Michael Lee, Russell Woodruffe (Tyler Brayley-Combe 74’), Nico Bechar, Graham Fyfe, Adam Chandler, Nick Danicic (Igor Sao Jose 74’), Michael McGowan. Subs not used: Sam Langley, Jono Burrowes.

FNQ Heat: Kevin Ward, Shaun Owens, Shimon Watanabe, Charlie Beverley, Ari Isman, Josh Pin (Mqondise Nkiwane 71’), Crios O’Hare, Kieran Sanders, Darcy McCormack, Bronson Koppen (Cam Nucifora 63’). Subs not used: Jamie Gosling, Josh Wilson.

Referee: Alan Milliner