Moreton Bay v Brisbane Strikers

Moreton Bay United are the NPL Queensland Champions after a Jordan Farina free-kick delivered a dramatic last-gasp 2-1 win over Brisbane Strikers at Wolter Park.

The attacking midfielder delivered the decisive goal with only minutes to spare in the NPL Queensland Grand Final to the delight of the 1,500 strong crowd at Jets’ home ground.

The winner came only minutes after Strikers had dramatically levelled terms courtesy of teenage attacking midfielder Fraser Hills.

The 2015 Premiers had earlier edged ahead via a headed goal from central defender Alex Henderson just prior to the hour following a scoreless first-half.

The win secures Jets the Premiership-Championship double in only their third season and marks their first victory over Strikers since the 2013 season.

The contest started at a frantic pace but the first chance wasn’t fashioned until ten minutes in when Stephen Green called upon Strikers goalkeeper Fraser Chalmers with a speculative strike from distance.

Strikers went closest to finding the opener in the first half from a short corner just after the quarter hour – midfielder Josh Ahern sending his header crashing into the crossbar from 10 yards.

The visitors continued to threaten as striker Apai Ukuno fashioned space nearing the penalty spot, but scuffed his shot directly at Jets goalkeeper Luke Borean.

A rehearsed free-kick routine offered Charles Mendy a sight on goal for Jets shortly after, however the Frenchman’s shot was saved low by Chalmers.

From thereon clear cut chances were scant until the break as both sets of defenders held sway – Green’s incursion into the box in time added the best of the half-chances before being closed down by recovering Strikers defender Chris Maher.

Strikers started the second half strongly but spurned another opportunity to take the lead on 53 minutes when Maher headed wide of the target on the burst.

It allowed the hosts to open accounts against the run of play five minutes later – Henderson delivered a pin-point looping header from a free-kick against his former club for only his second goal of the season.

The visitors pushed forward in reply but despite promising periods of possession continued to struggle to truly test Borean in the Jets’ goal.

Soon the balance tilted towards the hosts one more as Mendy forced a full-stretched save from Chalmers with a curling effort and Brownlie shot wide from the top of the box.

Strikers upped the ante entering the final ten minutes but Jets appeared to have their measure until the 84thminute – substitute Scot Coulson picking out Hills at close range, who turned in a first-time finish at the near post.

Extra time loomed before the ever-present Mendy won a free-kick just outside the penalty area in the 88th minute to set-up a stunning final twist.

Farina bent a low shot around the Strikers’ wall that left Chalmers unsighted on the bounce to again restore the host’s advantage and notch his eighth goal of the season.

A tense period of time added on followed but Strikers proved unable to breach the Jets’ defences for a second time – Ukuno unable to make the most of an opportunity at the near post in the closing stages.

Moreton Bay United FC  2 (Alex HENDERSON 58’, Jordan FARINA 88’)
Brisbane Strikers FC  1 (Fraser HILLS 84’)

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