Saturday afternoon football returned to Redlands last weekend as the Red Devils played host to Sunshine Coast Wanderers in round 19 of the men’s NPL competition.
Beautiful July weather greeted the teams at the Compass Grounds as both sides looked for maximum points out of the game.
For the first 15 minutes, Redlands applied immense pressure on the Wanderers’ goal with at one stage, five shots fired in one after the other, with each shot blocked by the defence.
With Ryo Emoto, Fionn Reilly, Guil Santana, Jack Skinner and Peter Klaassen controlling the ball early for the Red Devils, they pushed on but could not find a way through the Wanderers packed defence.
Wanderers absorbed the pressure from the home side and the game settled into a tough battle between the two swarming defences for the remainder of the half.
The Redlands back four of Deane Alterio, Noah Hitchcock, Angus Broderick and Max Ellenger held firm, cutting out the play on the ground and in the air.
Right on the cusp of half time Redlands thought they may have had a penalty when Emoto appeared to be brought down just inside the box, but the referee waved away the appeal.
The second stanza continued in much the same pattern as the first, with Redlands looking to get on the scoreboard but being denied by Wanderers as the visitors grew into the game.
After the first 10 minutes of the half, Wanderers started to push forward with more intensity and urgency.
Redlands Keeper Ryan Govan was called into action after 62 minutes, pulling off a great save to deny the visitors as they started to assault the Redlands goal.
As the half progressed, Redlands were forced to increase their defensive efforts to repel the waves of Wanderers attacks.
Redlands’ best chance of the night came in the 81st minute when a worked free kick from out wide saw the cross knocked back to the penalty spot, only for the shot to crease the top of the cross bar.
Wanderers got their reward on 85 minutes when a headed corner came back off the cross bar only to be slotted into the far corner of the goal just beyond Govan’s reach.
The late goal was enough to see Wanderer’s take the points from the tough, tight game.
Redlands’ Fiction Bar and Restaurant man of the match was awarded to Deane Alterio.
Redlands now have a week’s break to regroup before their next vital game, which will be on Friday, August 11 at home against Brisbane City FC, kicking off at 8.30pm with the under 23s at 6.30pm.