Final Loss a Bump in the Road
The two sides have been virtually inseparable all year, so it’s no surprise that a penalty shootout was needed to decide Saturday’s Capital League One grand final between Caboolture FC and Toowong.
Caboolture finished six points clear at the top of the ladder at the end of the regular season, securing their spot in the 2019 Brisbane Premier League, but results of 5-4, 1-1, 0-0 and 2-1 against Toowong throughout the year hinted at what they would face in the decider.
A contentious penalty in the 18th minute could’ve seen them concede early, but Toowong’s Lachlan Brown fired wide from the spot.
Both teams had their chances during regular time, but the 0-0 score at the 90-minute mark could’ve been very different had a penalty been awarded to Caboolture’s Ethan Wilson, who was brought down in the box early in the second half.
The Snakes had two more golden opportunities early in extra time, with Jamie Hilliar denied by the woodwork and a header from a free kick just tipped over the bar by Toowong ‘keeper Daniel Mcilwain.
Still nothing separated the two sides after extra time, but when Jack Hayes missed the first penalty for Caboolture, and Mcilwain stepped up again to save Hilliar’s attempt, Toowong capitalised by converting all their shots and taking the shootout 4-2.
“We really didn’t want to get to that point, because penalties are 50-50,” Caboolture coach Nathan Walker said.
“I think we were the better side to be honest, and had a couple of huge chances, but we got a bit impatient and started going long which Toowong picked off.
“It’s disappointing, but it certainly doesn’t spoil the season for us. Our main goal was to qualify for the BPL, and we executed our plans perfectly all year – the result just didn’t go our way in the final.”
Toowong skipper Rob Morrison was gracious in victory, admitting Caboolture were the form side all year.
“We’re writing a nice chapter in Brisbane Football at the moment, and I can’t wait to play you in the BPL next year and see where it goes.”
The Snakes’ promotion caps a remarkable rise through the ranks of the Brisbane leagues, having entered Capital League 4 in 2016 after 20 years in the Sunshine Coast competition.
A premiership in their debut season, followed up by the Capital 3 League championship in 2017 saw them skip Capital League 2, due to a reshuffle in the structure of the competition, and enter Capital League 1 this year with their eyes on the prize of BPL qualification.
State MP for Morayfield, Mark Ryan, praised the teams’ achievements in Parliament recently.
“To progress through to the Brisbane Premier League this quickly is an amazing achievement by a group of down-to-earth individuals from all walks of life who, together as a team, achieved extraordinary things,” he said.
“Nathan’s leadership and networking skills have been critical to the team’s success. That success has enabled the Caboolture club to attract an exciting group of young players from around the world—not only people from the Snake pit in Caboolture but also people like Djamel (Maghraoui) from France and Jacob (Boyle) from the United States.”
Boyle joined the club midway through the season as part of the SoccerSmart program, after the US-based goalkeeper travelled to Spain to trial for the scouting agency, which allows players to pursue overseas opportunities.
“He’s been a huge find for us,” Walker said.
“Having a good ‘keeper like him saves you points all throughout the season, and gives you an advantage every time you step on the field.
“It wouldn’t mean much though if the rest of the team weren’t doing their jobs.
“I was asked recently to pick a coach’s player, and I still can’t decide, as so many guys have been outstanding this season.
“The support staff as well have really kept us going as well – our manager Russ, physios Glen and Kristel and photographer Yvonne.
“We’ve created a really tight bond between the players and coaching staff, which will serve us well going into the BPL.
“We’re already looking to start recruiting for next season. The promotion, along with the move to our brand-new facilities in 2019, will not only attract a lot of talent to the club, but ensure that we retain the crop of really talented juniors coming through.”