Gold Coast City 0-1 FNQ Heat, Cairns, August 27.
It may have been a home fixture for Gold Coast City having earned second place during their clash with the Sunshine Coast Fire, but the venue was far more familiar to their opponents. Due to the condition of the pitch at Duncan McKenna Field, Gold Coast City’s home venue, the decision was made to move the fixture to Cairns. Once the game got underway, the first chance fell the way of the Heat. On 6 minutes, a Heat free kick was headed on into the box, before Jamie Carroll snatched his shot from six yards across the face of the goal. City had a chance midway through the first half when Jordon Lampard delivered a corner to the outside of the penalty area, but Ben Litfin skied his shot over the bar. The breakthrough in the game came on 32 minutes when the Heat took the lead. Keiran Sanders delivered a cross from the left flank into the middle, where Crios O’Hare rose above the City defence and headed home. City nearly pulled themselves level just before halftime when Jordon Lampard delivered a long range free kick, but it sailed narrowly wide of the goal. On 56 minutes, Jamie Carroll completed a run down the right flank, but his cutback to Darcy McCormack is sent over the goal. On 70 minutes, Riley Dillon decided to try a long range shot from 25 yards but he saw his shot comfortably saved. Neither side was able to further threaten the goal and the game finished 1-0 to the Heat. Heat book their spot in the Grand Final.
Brisbane Strikers 1(2)-(4)1 Redlands United, Brisbane, August 28.
The other semi final saw a battle of the two sides who represented Queensland in the Round of 16 of the FFA Cup. While Brisbane Strikers bowed out to Melbourne City 2-1 at Perry Park, Redlands United travelled to Canberra to face Canberra Olympic, before losing 2-0. Of particular note was the fact that all four goals conceded by Queensland teams in these games were from the penalty spot. By the end of the night, both sides had their chance to prove their mettle in penalties. The first chance of the game went to the Brisbane Strikers on 4 minutes. Jake Mclean’s free kick was fumbled by Brendan White, before Luke Marsh tapped his shot from 6 yards on the rebound over the net. On 16 minutes, Trent Clulow saw his shot blocked by Kai Halliday, before Luke Marsh shot over the crossbar. On 18 minutes, it was number 18, Trent Clulow (Brisbane), who opened the scoring. Fraser Hills delivered a through ball to Clulow in the box, before he cut back and shot home from 6 yards. Redlands would get a chance to equalise on 38 minutes, when Graham Fyfe’s right wing cross into the box was headed over by Delors Tuyishime. On 62 minutes, Redlands would end up drawing level. Kai Halliday’s deep cross from the right side was headed on by Jake Sherwood, before Graham Fyfe hit home from inside the box. On 74 minutes, Igor Sao Jose laid off the ball to Alastair Davis, before his shot from 35 yards bounced wide of the goal. The Strikers had a handful of half chances throughout the rest of the game and extra time, but the game went to penalties. Michael McGowan missed the first penalty when Michael Weier palmed his shot away, before Chris Maher shot over the crossbar. Alastair Davis was the first to convert a penalty, followed then by Trent Clulow. Adam Chandler converted before Jake McLean saw his penalty turned onto the post by Michael Weier. Both Igor Sao Jose and Hiroki Omori would convert their penalties, before Graham Fyfe scored and won Redlands the game.
Onto the Grand Final now and for one of these two sides, it will be their first trophy won in the NPL Queensland. These two sides met twice during the regular season, with both games being 2-0 wins to the home side. On April 23, Redlands won 2-0 at the Cleveland Showground following goals by Michael McGowan and Tyler Brayley-Combe. On July 30, FNQ Heat won 2-0 at Innisfail following goals from Crios O’Hare and Jamie Carroll. Since that fixture, Redlands United have been the better side. They’ve won three and drawn one of their four NPL Queensland games, as well as one win and a loss in the FFA Cup. Conversely, the Heat have just one win and a draw in that time period, also from four games. That run saw them slip from first to third on the ladder. While the Heat will have to travel to Brisbane for the clash, it’s likely that Redlands will still show more fatigue following on from their FFA Cup trip to Canberra and their penalty shootout victory just six days before. Rain is expected in the area on the morning of the game, with that clearing out for a clear evening and 21C for kickoff.