Caboolture complete rare double
It was a tense finish to a spectacular season for Caboolture FC on Sunday evening, as they were crowned Capital 3 League A-grade champions, adding to their reserve grade victory on Saturday.
After smashing minor premiers Sgt George Willawong 5-1 in the first week of finals to advance straight to the decider, Caboolture came up against an AC Carina team high on confidence after ending Willawong’s season with victory in the preliminary final.
It was a scrappy opening to the game, with Carina playing their trademark long-ball style.
“That’s how they always play, a very old-school style with the ball in the air and lots of physicality,” Caboolture coach Nathan Walker said.
“It’s not pretty but they do it well and it gets results for them.”
Caboolture settled into a rhythm and had the majority of possession and attacking chances, before a spectacular long-range goal against the run of play from Carina’s Daniel Abbey broke the game open in the 22nd minute.
The Snakes still had the upper hand though, and it wasn’t long before Mitchell Sheumack levelled the scores with a point blank finish after the ball came loose from a corner.
As they continued to penetrate Carina’s defence, winger Lewis Bargh appeared to have been fouled in the penalty area but there was no call from the referee, before the inevitable lead was delivered on the stroke of half-time by Stephen Cleary after another loose ball in the box.
“Carina really tried to rattle us, as they do, but once we started moving the ball around and got the lead we looked comfortable for most of the match,” Walker said.
When Cleary made it a double and the score 3-1 with less than half an hour to go, it seemed like Caboolture would run away with the game, but defensive errors and contentious refereeing decisions allowed Carina to wrestle back momentum.
“They had a player deliberately handball but somehow the ref didn’t give him a second yellow card, which would’ve left them with ten men and probably sealed the game for us,” Walker said.
“We had Jimmy (Fairgrieve) taken out early in the second half too and he had to come off.
“A few of the decisions were pretty shocking to be honest, but really we switched off for 10 minutes or so late in the game which let them back into it.”
A goal to Carina captain Michael Thompson sparked his side’s relentless finish to the match, resulting in Abbey’s second goal from a poor defensive clearance and sending the game into extra time with scores locked at 3-3.
Luck wasn’t going Caboolture’s way, hitting the post early in the first period and Paul Arnison having his penalty saved spectacularly by Josh Mckee.
A darting run through the middle by captain Kieran Worthington set up Bargh on the right though, who finished emphatically for 4-3, a lead Caboolture would hold onto for the final 15 minutes to secure the title.
“We certainly didn’t do it the easy way, but we haven’t done anything the easy way this season,” Walker said.
“I wasn’t too impressed with letting those two late goals in, especially given they came from errors or lapses of concentration.
“That being said, there were plenty of times when we could’ve dropped our heads and thought it wasn’t our day, but credit to the boys for digging in and getting the job done.”
It capped a huge weekend for the club, with goals to Keegan Barnett and Ben Muzyka helping the reserve grade side to a 2-1 win over Bardon Latrobe in their grand final on Saturday.
“They had a tough game on a really poor quality field, but just found a way to get the goals and finish the job” Walker said.
“The penalty Bardon had to make the score 2-1 was really their only chance of the game.”
The weekend’s results are a confidence booster ahead of the club’s move into Capital League One next season, skipping Capital League Two due to the inaugural Queensland Premier League and resulting reshuffle of Brisbane teams in 2018.
“It’ll certainly be a big step up, and I think a few of the boys will get a bit of a shock, but we’ll be ready,” Walker said.
“It’s been our plan all along to move up into Capital League One so there’s a chance now we might be a Brisbane Premier League team by the time our new fields open in 2019.”