Under 19 GF Match Report
The Sunshine Coast Fire Under-19s have overhauled a two goal deficit to win the HQSYL Grand Final, claiming a 4-2 extra time victory over the Brisbane Strikers.
Brisbane surged to an early lead with two goals to Taylor Marshall, before Rhys Roberts and Beau Lyle netted to make the score 2-2 at half-time. After a scoreless second half, Andy Harrison bagged two goals in two minutes in extra time to propel the Sunshine Coast to victory.
The win capped off a remarkable season for the Sunshine Coast Fire, with both the youth and senior sides winning the Premiership/Championship double.
At Gympie’s One Mile Ovals, the opening exchanges were ferocious and both sides looked switched on from the start. Wearing armbands to commemorate Daniel Morcombe, the Sunshine Coast were finding plenty of the ball and pressuring hard in midfield.
Ten minutes in, it was Brisbane who struck the first blow through Taylor Marshall. Lachlan Dale produced a strong run down the right wing before slipping a tidy ball towards Marshall on the edge of the penalty area, who tucked a low shot past Fire keeper Sam Nickolls to open the scoring.
The Sunshine Coast looked to rally after going behind early, as Beau Lyle played a long ball towards Andy Harrison, who raced to the byline but had his cross intercepted.
With the match evenly poised but the Strikers ahead on the scoreboard, the Fire almost found an equaliser as Rhys Roberts launched a long ball that landed well for Harrison to run on to. Under pressure from three defenders, Harrison laid a pass off to Kaine Frew who rolled a shot past the left upright.
Disappointed to miss this opportunity, the Fire suddenly found themselves two goals behind when the Strikers struck again minutes later. An incisive pass from Nick Danicic again found Taylor Marshall in plenty of space, and Marshall produced a cool finish to give his side a big advantage.
The Fire now had a mountain to climb, but on 29 minutes managed to halve the deficit. Following a corner, Andy Gillen looped a ball into the box that slipped out of Brisbane keeper Brayden Nielsen’s grasp, and Rhys Roberts was well placed to knock the ball home from six yards out.
As half-time approached, the Sunshine Coast kept pressing for an equaliser. Kaine Frew fired in a shot from the edge of the area that Nielsen did well to block.
On the brink of half-time the Fire found their second goal to tie it up at 2-2. A chipped ball into the penalty area was headed away from goal by the Strikers defence, but Beau Lyle collected the loose ball and launched a piercing volley that Nielsen managed to block. The rebound came back to Lyle who capitalised on his second chance, shooting into the bottom corner to score with the last kick of the half.
After the break, the two sides looked tighter defensively and there were fewer genuine chances. The home supporters had reason to cheer on 58 minutes when Frew found the back of the net, but the flag was up for offside. For the Strikers, Marshall went close to notching his hat-trick when he headed just wide of the target following a free-kick.
As the match drifted toward full-time locked at 2-2, James Verdin and Daniel King both had chances to find a winner for the Fire, but it wasn’t to be. Extra time would be needed to find a State League Champion.
Nearing the end of the first period of extra time, the Fire had their breakthrough. A quick dash down the left flank from James Verdin left the Brisbane defence scrambling, and Verdin had time to pick out the run of Harrison who blasted the ball home from close range for a 3-2 lead.
Barely a minute later, Harrison collected a pass 20 yards out and took an early shot, squeezing the ball inside the right post and scoring a second goal in as many minutes, to all but guarantee the Fire a Grand Final triumph.
Both Harrison and Verdin had chances to add a fifth in the second period of extra time, but before long the final whistle sounded for a come-from-behind 4-2 victory and a Premiership/Championship double to the Under-19 Sunshine Coast Fire.
Undefeated since May, the Fire showed consistency and determination all season to be crowned Champions, and have set the bar very high for the 2012 season.
Final Score – Sunshine Coast FC – 4 (Roberts, 29, Lyle, 45, Harrison, 103, 104)
Brisbane Strikers – 2 (Marshall, 10, 26)
LINEUP – Sam Nickolls, Rob McNicol, Rhys Roberts, Joshua Atkinson, Brad Wallace, Beau Lyle, Mitch Broom, Andy Gillen, James Verdin, Andy Harrison, Kaine Frew. SUBS – Nico Ford, Nick Pointon, Daniel King, Alex Henderson, Nick Roth, Luke Lewis, Damien Cox.