Photo of Gold Coast United’s new centre-back pairing, Archie Tomic & Dean Wernerson
With Olympic ‘unbackable’ favorites to secure their sixth successive win for season 2018, it was United who shone in a ‘thriller’ last night at Robina.
An outstanding all-round team performance from the home side left the previously unbeaten league leaders scrambling late to salvage a point.
An even first half saw the two sides locked together 0-0 at the break.
Englishman, Conor Smith, opened the scoring for the Coast early in the second with a sublime free kick from the edge of the box, his first goal for the season. And when Nick Panetta bagged his maiden goal soon after, an upset looked on the cards.
But after a solid challenge from United’s newest signing, Matt Green, drew straight red with 20 minutes left, the visitors ceased the momentum and the pressure began to mount.
United’s advantage was halved with 8 minutes left after an Olympic player was brought down in the box and substitute Adam Edgar converted from the spot.
On the stroke of full-time another contentious decision resulted in a second Olympic penalty which Edgar slotted again, 2-2.
A tense extra time saw a weary 10 man United hang on for a draw.
Coach Sean Lane was full of praise for his side after the game.
“While I’m gutted for the lads, it’s definitely something to build on.
The game was there for the taking and on balance we probably deserved to win that. We prepared well, turned up and got stuck in.
“Olympic are a good side, you’re not top of the league by mistake. It goes to show that if we bring the right mindset & attitude, and get our fair share of luck, we can compete with anyone.”
In a squad of solid performers, it was the Coast’s most recent recruits, Lochie Reus, Jack Gates & Matty Green that added some much needed flair in attack.
The coach was full of praise for newest signing Matty Green, “I thought he was excellent on debut, he kept the ball and drove us forward. He did exactly what we needed and will be a good player for the Club.”
In a re-shuffled backline, the inclusion of Dean Wernerson alongside Captain Archie Tomic centrally, stiffened up the defence.
Mid-field tyro Lochie Reus was buoyed by his side’s performance.
“We played very, very well tonight and not to get the result is a shame. But we can take a lot of positives out of this, work hard on those areas that need some attention, and focus on building a better performance next week.”
“We proved tonight what we can do and what we’re capable of. It’s a good sign for the future.”
A tough trip to Townsville awaits, with the Coast set to meet North Qld United FC at Brolga Park next Saturday.
National Premier Leagues Queensland – Round Six
Saturday, March 10, 2018
Robina Station Reserve
Gold Coast United 2 (Smith 51’, Panetta 63’)
Olympic 2 (Edgar 82’, 90’)