Redlands United have returned to winning ways in their round 13 NPL clash against Olympic FC at the Compass Grounds.
A goal each from Guil Santana and Ryo Emoto in the first half and some dogged, last ditch defending saw the Red Devils secure a 2-1 victory and all three competition points.
Some spectators had not even taken their seats when the Red Devils were on the scoreboard through Santana in less than one minute.
Straight from the kick off, Redlands gathered possession and moved the ball forward in a sweeping move before the ball rebounded out to Santana whose first-time volley dipped over the keeper and into the net.
Olympic continued to press forward and were on the scoresheet after 10 minutes when Redlands were unable to cut out a ball into the box, leaving Keeper Ryan Govan with little chance to stop the close range shot and allowing Olympic to level the score.
Just under the half-hour mark, the Red Devils were awarded a penalty when Dylan Brent’s driven cross into the goal mouth produced a hand ball as the Olympic defender dueled for the ball with Peter Klaassen.
Emoto stepped up to the penalty spot and made no mistake to give the Red Devils the lead.
Redlands, who were already missing two of their normal starting defenders, were dealt a blow when Brent was forced off a minute later. Young Deane Alterio filled in for Brent admirably in an unfamiliar role.
Redlands had a scare before half-time when a miscalculation by Govan on a long ball by Olympic required Sam Langley to make a clearance off the line and settle the play down.
The game continued in the same manner during the second half, with the majority of play taking place in Olympic’s territory.
With a good share of possession, the Red Devils created a number of chances but were unable to properly break down Olympic’s defence and make the opportunities count.
As the game entered its final stages, Olympic increased their efforts but the Redlands defence held firm to help deliver a 2-1 win.
Fiction Bar and Restaurant man of the match was awarded to Michael Lee for a strong performance in midfield.
Coach Daniel Varma said it had been pleasing to see his team evolve throughout the season.
“There have been multiple occasions this season against teams who currently occupy the top four where we have, in my view, outplayed our opposition for the majority of matches but dropped points,” he said.
“So tonight it was fitting that although we didn’t put on our best performance, we found a way to win.
“In saying that, and upon review, we definitely had better chances. A team can only win in this manner if they have matured, if they have evolved.”
Redlands are on the road to Underwood Park next Friday night to take on Rochedale Rovers.
Kick-off is at 8.30pm with the under 23s at 6.30pm.