Olympic FC coach Jim Bellas lamented missed first half chances after his team fell 3-2 to Palm Beach Sharks in last night’s NPL Queensland Grand Final.
The defending Champions took an early lead in the decider through Tim Smits, however a brace to Sharks striker Chris Lucas saw the Brisbane club go in a goal down at the break.
Jack Boxell added a third for the hosts and, despite Smits netting his second late in the contest, Olympic were unable to reel in Sharks on their home ground.
“We missed our chances. It could’ve been 3-1 to us in the first half but it didn’t eventuate and in the end they won,” Bellas said matter-of-factly.
Olympic captain Danny Byrne had two great opportunties to restore Olympic's lead in the first half - including a cracking volley that was denied by finger-tip save from Sharks goalkeeper Shane Vitikangas.
Despite the disappointment of the result, Bellas praised his team’s resolve to fight until the final whistle late in the tough conditions.
“The team’s got good spirit. We came back twice against FNQ Heat (in the semi-final) and I thought tonight, with a few more minutes, we might have got it,” he speculated.
Bellas further added, ““It was always going to be difficult coming down here and playing Palm Beach – they didn’t win the Premiership for no reason.”
“The way they play is suitable to this ground. We’re not used to playing that way and you can’t teach it one training session.”
Olympic suffered a massive setback in the opening ten minutes of the Grand Final, with influential midfielder Terry Hughes stretchered off the field after turning awkwardly in the centre of the pitch.
Bellas said that preliminary reports suggested that Hughes damaged his anterior cruciate ligament and that the injury had altered the balance of the match.
“It affected us a lot. He’s been an integral part of our team in the middle of the park. Everything comes through him and when we lost him that was it,” Bellas explained.
Despite the loss in the state-level decider, Olympic’s season continues on Tuesday night on the national stage when they host Hyundai A-League powerhouse Central Coast Mariners in the Westfield FFA Cup at QSAC.
Bellas said his side will look to bounce back against the AFC Champions League qualifiers, who also played last night - drawing 1-1 with Brisbane Roar at Ballymore Stadium.
“We take every game as it comes and every team is a different proposition,” Bellas explained.
“Me and (Assistant Coach) Tim Brown have been planning for it for the past few weeks. We have our video analysis of their players and we will go from there.”
Image courtesy of Alberto Perez/Football Queensland