Brisbane Strikers and Redlands United shared the first points of the PlayStation® 4 NPL Queensland 2015 season, drawing 2-2 at Perry Park on Saturday night.
Jheison Macuace and Greig Henslee struck late in each half for Strikers, however were immediately answered by goals to Redlands’ Graham Fyfe and Igor Sao Jose.
Strikers threatened early through off-season recruit Trent Clulow but he proved unable to get past fellow debutant Brendan White in the Redlands goal.
The visitors also spurned an early chance when Strikers goalkeeper Michael Turnbull saved a 17th minute penalty attempt.
The deadlock broke in the final ten minutes of the half when Macuace pounced on a loose ball outside the box, delivering a smart finish on the turn into the top corner.
The advantage proved short-lived though as Turnbull was judged to have impeded Redland’s Mitch Bird, allowing Fyfe to restore parity from the penalty spot.
Strikers started the second half brightly with Jonti Richter volleying wide of the target and Macuace heading over from Greg King’s cross.
White continued to keep Redlands in the contest saving from both King and Richter as the hosts continued to apply pressure.
Strikers ultimately regained the lead in the final minute of regulation time after Greig Henslee turned in Scot Coulson’s cross at the back post.
However, Redlands sensationally levelled terms once more in time added – Sao Jose headed in from a free-kick to secure a share of the points for the visitors.
Speaking after the match, Strikers coach Kevin A’herne-Evans was philosophical but pleased in his assessment of the performance
“We got what we felt was a deserved second goal and then the sucker punch comes and we’ve seen it hundreds of times in football,” he explained.
Redlands player-coach Graham Fyfe said his side’s spirited response would stand them in good stead for the rest of the season and
“To go 2-1 down, well it almost feels like a win when you get that goal back. The boys are buzzing and I’m very happy overall,” he explained.
Brisbane Strikers FC 2 (Jheison MACUACE 37’, Grieg HENSLEE 90’)
Redlands United FC 2 (Graham FYFE 44’(p), Igor SAO JOSE 90+1’)