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MATCH REPORT: NPL MEN RD 2 VS Peninsula Power

Our Lions show heart, pride, and passion to earn a statement win against last year’s Premiers after an extraordinary finale to the match.

In remarkable fashion, our Lions sealed their first win of the season through a marvellous Matt Ridenton freekick in an iconic game of football that will go down in the history books.

After leading one-nil at the break following a tidy finish from Jean-Carlos Solórzano just before halftime, we looked set to repeat our failures of last week after two goals in less than two minutes saw the away side flip the advantage in their favour.

Peninsula Power took control of the game after taking the lead, but our Lions showed mettle when it mattered most and fought courageously to seize victory in a staggering conclusion that saw four goals in the final ten minutes.

We overwhelmed Power in the final third, fighting for possession after a marauding Andy Thompson dribble and shot saw the ball pinball around inside the box. Shawn Carlos had a crack, with his deflected effort finding the feet of substitute Zach Maltby, who forced a deflected shot into the bottom right corner of Zabaks’ goal to draw us level with eight minutes remaining.

With victory now on the cards and our sense of belief restored, our Lions wasted no time attacking Power’s goal with purpose. Putting them under an abundance of pressure, we took the lead two minutes later after Joe Duckworth broke Peninsula’s backline with a defence-splitting pass that left Andy Pengelly free to strike down his former side. Andy made no mistake notching goal number 101, coolly slotting the ball inside the back post from an acute angle after his original effort was saved.

In a game guided by fortitude, Peninsula Power reminded us why they are Premiers, landing a momentum-killing equaliser on the 89th minute. Defender Dan Morgan burst into space on the left, before piercing the bottom right corner with an accurate finish to set up an enthralling six minutes of stoppage time.

With three points on the line in the 91st minute, Matt Ridenton made no mistake. Standing calmly over the ball during a freekick, he stepped up in the paramount moment, curling his right-footed strike beautifully into the top left corner. Perfectly placed, the ball rose high over the Power wall, curling away from Zabaks as it dipped under the crossbar to earn us our first victory of the season.

Head Coach Darren Sime praised the way his side recovered from last weekend’s defeat and fought until the very end against last year’s Premiers.

“That’s what I just said to the boys”, Sime said. “After having a game like last weekend, and there were some similarities in this game, they never gave up, they played until the end.

“They potentially could have had a reason to say, ‘here we go again’ and get their heads down, but they learnt from last week and that’s all that we can ask, that they learnt from the experience, and they’re better for it.”

Sime spoke about how his side responded to going behind in the second half.

“I think we were a bit shellshocked last game, but this game we certainly made a pact to learn from that experience and I thought the boys performed, really controlled the game even though we were down two-one.

“I thought it still felt like we were controlling parts of the game, but [Power] always looked dangerous, always looked dangerous, they’ve got some quality players, they’re well-coached.

“I think having that quality of Matty Ridenton at the end [helped], that was a fantastic freekick, great composure, and a fitting end to a great game.”

After a statement win and a display of valour, our Lions look to build from this victory at home next Saturday evening when we face the Sunshine Coast Wanderers.

 

MATCH DETAILS

Men’s NPL Queensland 2022 Round #2

Queensland Lions FC vs Peninsula Power

Saturday, 26th March

KO: 7:00pm

Lions FC Stadium, Richlands

 

QUEENSLAND LIONS 4

PENINSULA POWER 3

HT: 1-0

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