Redlands United are one step closer to claiming a place in the Finals Series with a 2-0 win over FNQ FC Heat at the Cleveland Showgrounds on Saturday afternoon.
A clinical finish from an unmarked Igor Sao Jose followed by Graham Fyfe’s second half penalty extends Redlands’ winning streak to nine matches as they surge towards finals.
The result sees the end of Heat’s push for a second straight Finals appearance as well as their five-match unbeaten run in the league.
The hosts were out to prove a point early on as Lyndon Dykes was unleashed in attack, hitting the side netting within minutes of kick off.
Heat’s Nicholas Mooney had plenty to do in goal, producing a number of telling saves to deny Dykes and Elliott Ronto after failing to clear his line in the first instance before the ten minute mark.
Ronto had an opportunity to break the deadlock minutes later, his shot missing the top corner by inches before Mooney’s quick reflexes denied Fyfe’s effort from out wide.
Just when three big games in eight days seemed to catch up with the visitors, Crios O’Hare found a way through Redlands’ back four but was unable to finish as his shot went wide.
Sao Jose would provide The Red Devils with their break through goal in the 32nd after being picked out be Bechar to slot home his eighth goal of the season.
The hosts were back on the front foot after the restart as Ronto tried to catch Mooney off guard with a long range lob before Dykes back heel flick went just wide of the post.
O’Hare tried his luck with a long range effort to bring the visitors level but was unlucky as his shot curled upwards to clear the crossbar.
Heat were reduced to 10 men in the 66th minute after Jennison brought down Ronto just inside the box with a last minute tackle.
Fyfe extended his lead at the top of the PlayStation® 4 NPL Queensland Golden Boot race to 18 goals as he sent Mooney the wrong way to convert from the spot.
Speaking post match, Redlands’ captain James Donnelly was pleased with the way his side has been able to turn around their season.
“We all stuck together and got our heads down to work hard and it looks like it’s hopefully going to pay off,” Donnelly said.
Heat captain Tamas Maffey Stumpe said that while the teams’ playing schedule may have taken its toll on the boys, they had no excuses for today.
“We did come to play here today and we put all our effort in. It’s always tough going down to ten men but you can’t fault the guys for their effort,” Maffey Stumpe said.
Redlands United FC 2 (Igor SAO JOSE 32′, Graham FYFE 68’p)
FNQ FC Heat 0