QUEANBEYAN City FC is through to the grand final of the ACT State League 1 competition after a stunning 3-2 victory over two-time defending premiers White Eagles.
On a beautiful, sun-drenched afternoon at Kaleen last Saturday, Queanbeyan pulled off one of the upsets of the season in local sport to end White Eagles’ incredible 52-game unbeaten run.
The result sees Queanbeyan move directly into next week’s decider.
The last time the White Eagles lost was the 2010 grand final. Their conquerors on that occasion – Queanbeyan City.
It was apparent from the outset on Saturday what coach Jeremy Butler expected from the boys.
Unrelenting possession football punctuated with a crisp, low passing game while harrying the opposition at every opportunity was the order of the day.
It didn’t take long for these tactics to bear fruit. One minute into the game, Nathan Walker tapped in a cross for the first goal and four minutes later a deserved penalty was awarded and captain Matt Ryan slotted it home.
2-0 up before the fans took their seats and a major boilover was in the air.
With no sign of complacency, Queanbeyan closed down just about every White Eagles attack in the first half and they maintained their 2-0 advantage at the break.
Five minutes into the second period and the White Eagles were awarded a penalty which Queanbeyan keeper Chris Trajanoski miraculously saved, even though he sustained injuries which he bravely carried until full-time.
Shortly after Queanbeyan went down the other end and a precise floating ball reached Vele Dukoski who duly discarded the attention of a defender, rounded the keeper and slammed the ball into the net.
With the score at three zip with 20-odd to go, it was last chance saloon time.
White Eagles launched a sustained raid on the Queanbeyan defences and shortly after were awarded their second penalty of the game.
This one just managed to escape the outstretched arm of keeper Chris Trajanoski, who minutes before had saved a powerful point blank volley, described by onlookers as the save of the year.
Five minutes later and the game was suddenly on a knife’s edge as a cross was headed in by the Eagles to make the score 3-2. But Queanbeyan refused to buckle under the pressure.
Butler made some clever substitutions as the game wore on and the full-time whistle was finally blown.
The euphoria amongst the boys was apparent as players hugged and congratulated each other.
It was a special team performance of self-belief and resilience marshalled admirably by leader Ryan.
The raucous celebrations in the shed went on for over 20 minutes with the proud chant of “Queanbeyan, Queanbeyan” repeated at length.
The grand final this Saturday will kick off at Hawker enclosed ground at 6.30 pm against the very dangerous Narrabundah, who Queanbeyan has drawn 3-3 and lost 5-4 to this season.