The post-Glen Volker era commenced for Brisbane City on Friday night at Corporate Travel Management Stadium when the traditional derby between Brisbane City and Olympic FC took place. Incoming City coach Darron Hesseldon taking charge of his first senior NPL Queensland match, promoting under 20 players Paul Stevens and Hamish Maguire into the senior squad but youthful enthusiasm wasn’t enough as Olympic clinched a 3-1 win.
The early signs were looking good for Brisbane City as they dominated early possession and territory, rewarded in the 7th minute when a corner was whipped into the box, Olympic gifting Antonio Murray a free header and from close range made no mistake giving his side a 1-0 lead.
Olympic looked for an immediate reply, Tim Smits shot in the 9th minute falling harmlessly for City keeper Matt Stein. The momentum began to shift firmly in Olympic’s favour shortly after with Smits again looking to take advantage again, his shot deflected out for a corner.
It was then time for Smits’s attacking partner, Rhys Meredith to get in on the action. Firstly having a shot from the edge of the box blocked by the City defence and then setting up Danny Byrne with a lovely cross from the left but Stein intervened to ensure Olympic wouldn’t score inside the first 20 minutes.
Olympic were awarded a free kick midway through the first half and while unable to convert that opportunity, piled sustained pressure on the City defence, ultimately for no reward.
Michael Lee (pictured) was presented with a good opportunity in the 26th minute but in the dewy conditions, scuffed his shot from 10 yards out. While Costa Psaros’s 33rd minute effort was the closest Olympic had been so far, a desperate last-ditch clearance off the line by Koh Satake maintaining City’s lead.
But the Brisbane City defence would ultimately surrender to Olympic’s attacking raids, Meredith claiming the equaliser three minutes before the break, tucking a ball away from a tight angle near the junction of the by-line and six-yard box to beat Stein at his near post.
Olympic continued their attacking dominance early in the second half when in the 48th minute, Stein was again beaten at his near post, this time by Kazuya Ito and the visitors claimed a 2-1 lead.
More joy was to come just two minutes later when the aerial prowess of Smits came to the fore, heading home from the edge of the penalty box to extend Olympic’s advantage out to two.
That spurred City back into life, firstly in the 51st minute when Murray’s effort from the edge of the box went straight to Olympic custodian, Matt Acton. Then City looked to have brought a goal back two minutes after, Nick Buckley who was industrious in the second half, played in Koh Satake and he rounded Acton near the edge of the six-yard box to put the ball into the back of the net but the goal was disallowed with the assistant’s flag intervening for offside.
The home side then had a series of long range efforts, two from Buckley, an Olympic defensive error gifting Murray a gilt-edged chance before Murray’s best effort for the half came in the 68thminute, belting a ball towards goal forcing Acton to parry away from danger.
Possession then see-sawed from that point, substitute Sam Cronin sliding a shot narrowly across the face in the 83rd minute. Before City came so close to scoring a second in the 88th minute, Murray denied by Acton who came deep near to the edge of the box to make the save, Hamish Maguire then looking to take advantage of that situation only to be denied by Ito’s goal-line clearance hard up against the left upright. Murray then turning an effort in injury time into the Olympic defence and in the end, Olympic took the three points and moved into third place on the ladder.
For Brisbane City, it looked to be a much more improved effort than in recent weeks. There’s obviously plenty for new coach Hesseldon to still work on but he would be encouraged by this performance and effort from his side going into their Anzac Day match against the Northern Fury in Townsville. While Olympic look to be getting more into their groove with each match, a tough test awaits next Friday night at home against the Strikers.
Brisbane City 1 (Antonio Murray 7’) v Olympic 3 (Rhys Meredith 42, Kazuya Ito 48’, Tim Smits 50’)
Brisbane City: Matt Stein (gk), Curran Ferns, Luca Jannese, Kai Smith, Hamish Maguire, Antonio Murray, Paul Stevens, Nick Buckley, Ryan Roderick, Bronson Koppen, Koh Satake. Subs: Matt Lugo (gk), Young Jae-Joo, Nathan Bird, Chris Toovey, Pazung Thang.
Olympic: Matt Acton (gk), Kazuya Ito, Matt Byrne, Mark Fisk, Matt Mundy, Darren Gray, Costa Psaros, Rhys Meredith, Michael Lee, Danny Byrne, Tim Smits. Subs: Jacob Minett, Sam Cronin, Mustafa Jafari, Nick Efstathis, Duncan Short (gk).
Possession : BC – 46%, OLY – 54%
Corners: BC – 3, OLY – 6
Shots on Target: BC – 8, OLY –14
Shots off Target: BC – 5, OLY – 8