The Beaudesert Rangers premiership dreams were dashed in one of the cruellest ways known to world sport on Saturday – the penalty shootout.
The heartbreaking 7-8 grand final loss at the hands of the Westminster Warriors means Rangers finish a valiant runner up in the Queensland Christian Soccer Association Division Two league.
Disappointed manager Lachlan Snow said the team had played well all year and it would have been nice to lift the trophy but it was not to be.
“It is one of the worst ways to lose a final but unfortunately there has to be a runner up and a loser,” he said.
Snow said Westminster had been worthy adversaries throughout the season and were deserving champions.
It was scrappy from the get-go in the finale, with the Rangers taking some time to find their rhythm. Twenty-five minutes in, the Warriors opened the scoring, poking home a cheap goal at the post after the Rangers failed to clear a throw-in which was directed across the net.
At half-time Beaudesert trailed 1-0, despite dominating possession and territory.
A determined Rangers’ outfit returned to the field knowing it must put it all on the line in search of an equaliser.
With about 15 minutes left on the clock, Lewis Steindl chucked a speculative pass over the top to Michael Rogers, but the ball was too long and the keeper intercepted.
Only to boot the ball into Rogers’ back and see it rebound into the net.
Snow said it was the stroke of luck his misfiring side needed.
“It was the biggest fluke but we just took it and ran with it,” he said.
In the closing stages, Beaudesert threw everything in its arsenal at the opposition in order to break the deadlock.
Prior to extra time, the team believed it was in a strong position to launch its last stand, having been on top for much of the match, with Snow saying Westminster had not looked like troubling the scorers again.
Rangers’ coach Brandon Rayner issued a simple message to his players – keep going.
The first 15 minutes of extra time were played at a furious pace, as each team showed its desperation. With five minutes to go, Westminster converted a penalty to go ahead 2-1 and all looked lost for the Rangers who would need a miracle just to stay alive.
It was provided on the last play of the game when Dylan Lawrence played the ball over the top and Lewis Steindl collected the pass and broke through the defence before stroking it beyond the keeper to tie the match 2-2 and send it into a penalty shootout.
Snow said the Warriors shot first and Rangers had three chances to seal the victory during the shootout but all proved unsuccessful. When Sunnybank got a chance, they made it count.
Snow thanked his players for their time and effort during the season, the club’s sponsors and supporters.
It is one of the worst ways to lose a final but unfortunately there has to be a runner up and a loser."Lachlan Snow