Olympic FC returned to the top of the NPL Queensland standings with a 2-2 draw against Gold Coast United at Goodwin Park on Sunday evening.
Jez Lofthouse and Brandon Reeves scored a brace each as Olympic edged a point ahead of Western Pride, Lions FC & Moreton Bay in an increasingly congested top end of the table.
Reeves got in behind the Olympic defence on a number of occasions early on and opened the scoring for United in the 10th minute when he rounded Nicholas Mooney and finished into an empty net.
Olympic levelled midway through the first half when Lofthouse cut in from the left and coolly finished past United debutant Pasquale Gioffre to cap off an impressive team goal.
Lofthouse grabbed his second of the night to put the hosts in front on the stroke of half time when he tapped home Costa Psaros’ cross at the back post after Kieran Sanders found Psaros with a crisp through ball.
Within two minutes of the second half commencing United found themselves level as Reeves capitalised on defensive lapse to lock the scores at 2-2.
Olympic were presented with a golden opportunity to win the match ten minutes from full time when they were awarded a penalty after Zelfy Nazary was brought down inside the area by United substitute Fraser Eller.
However, it wasn’t to be as Danny Byrne sent his penalty crashing against the post allowing United, who survived a late onslaught – defending a barrage of corners in the final ten minutes to hang on for a point.
Speaking post-match, Olympic head coach Ben Cahn said he felt his side were extremely unlucky not to get the three points.
“Other than two really poor goals that we gifted them the performance was pretty good, the initiative was good, we created an unbelievable amount of chances
“I think we had 18 shots, that were really good quality chances including a penalty, unopposed chances inside the six-yard box, that type of thing so it’s unbelievable that we haven’t come away with three points.”
“They say that footballs a game of luck, chance and randomness, we’ll be eagerly anticipating what happens when that luck turns around and decides it’s on our side.”
Cahn added that his side remained focused and full of belief as the table continues to tighten at the top.
“Although the result was disappointing we have to keep believing now that other teams around us will drop points, I think the mid-table teams have all gotten stronger.”
“I’m still absolutely certain that Lions, Moreton Bay and Pride are not only going to take points off of each other but drop points against the other teams as the season goes on.”
“We’ll be doing everything we can to make sure we control what we can control and that’s winning the remaining eight games we’ve got.”
Olympic’s leading goal scorer Lofthouse bagged his 9th & 10th league goals of the season in Sunday’s match; Cahn said he was proud of Lofthouse’s performances this season.
“Jez has been doing really well, the next step for Jez is to develop that consistency.”
“We know what an unbelievable talent he can be but as teams have started to work him out now a bit it’s up to Jez to find ways to be a little bit more unpredictable.”
“He showed great desire to get into goal scoring positions which is something we’ve been working hard with him on”
“I’m really proud of him for how he’s coming along and there’s a long way to go in Jez’s development yet.”
Olympic’s focus now turns to next week’s trip north to face Cairns FC at Barlow Park.
NPL Queensland – Round 19
Sunday, July 01
Goodwin Park, Yeronga
Olympic FC – 2 (Jez LOFTHOUSE 24’ 45’)
Gold Coast United – 2 (Brandon REEVES 10’ 47’)
Possession: OLY 57% | GCU 43%
Shots: OLY 18 | GCU 7
On target: OLY 8 | GCU 4
Yellow cards: OLY 2 | GCU 3
Red cards: OLY 0 | GCU 0
Olympic FC team: 1. Nicholas MOONEY, 2. Jack GLOVER (9. Danny BYRNE 65’), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 4. Kristen WATERS, 5. Steve WHYTE, 6. Matt MUNDY, 10. Kieran SANDERS, 11. Jez LOFTHOUSE, 12. Costa PSAROS, 20. Zelfy NAZARY, 23. Alex SMITH
Unused Subs: 14. James CUMINAO, 17. Almir BASINAC, 19. Jean-Philippe LASM, 21. Dakota SPRANGE