The Beaudesert Rangers exorcised their demons on Saturday against Logan Uniting to emerge 2-0 victors and charge into the Queensland Christian Soccer Association Division Two grand final.
The Rangers entered the semi-final clash, wary of a Logan outfit which troubled them in matches throughout the season, including a forgettable 3-1 loss on August 15. But finals are a different beast and Beaudesert were ready to fight tooth and nail to reverse that result and earn a shot at the decider.
From the outset, Rangers pressed their opponents, commanding possession and territory throughout a frantic opening 20 minutes. As that dominance translated into scoring opportunities, only a brilliant save by the Uniting keeper denied Luke Cahill when he fired a shot from 18 yards out. Ten minutes later Dylan Lawrence hit the cross bar and Lewis Steindl narrowly missed the second effort.
Leading into half-time, a momentum shift saw Uniting threaten but Rangers’ keeper Sean Young came up with three sensational saves to repel the onslaught.
With the game balanced precariously at 0-0, Rangers’ coach Brandon Rayner delivered a stirring speech at the break to inspire his men.
Two minutes later, as the coach’s words echoed in his his ears, Joe Nilon slotted a telling strike inside the near post to break the deadlock.
The intensity lifted with play moving from end-to-end and Sean Young again showing his quality to prevent Logan from finding an equaliser. With 15 minutes to go, Kenny Milligan volleyed home the match winner after a pinpoint Steindl cross. Logan fought desperately, deploying every weapon in its arsenal in a last ditch barrage but the Rangers withheld.
Proud manager Lachlan Snow said it was a superb performance by his side.
“I don’t think we could have done anything better,” he said. “It was the best we’ve played all year.”
Rangers will be hoping to carry that form into Saturday’s final against the Westminster Warriors at Redbank Plains from 7pm. They’ve had a mixed bag against the Warriors this season, recording a win, draw and a loss.
Snow is confident his team can succeed but said the Warriors possessed two dangerous strikers that would need to be disarmed.
“If we play like last week, we should put more than two goals past them,” he said.
“We always seem to find form at this time of the season, so if we hold the ball under pressure and limit their chances, hopefully we can win it this year.”