Lions FC were crowned NPL Queensland Champions for a second consecutive year after overcoming Olympic FC 3-1 in an absorbing Grand Final.
A brace from striker Alex Fiechtner and an audacious 40 yard effort from substitute James Baty secured the win, after Costas Psaros had earlier equalised for Olympic FC.
For Olympic Head Coach Ben Cahn, it was a case of Grand Final agony once again, having seen his side edged out for a fourth straight year- three times beaten now by Lions.
The two sides had been separated by just two points at the end of the regular season, and it showed in an even first half that was full of intensity but had little in the way of goal scoring opportunities. Olympic forward Daniel Leckthought he had given his side the lead on the half hour, but referee Zac Keenan disallowed it correctly for a handball in the build up.
The game burst into life on the 50-minute markwhen Fiechtner latched onto a through ball from Shaun Carlos to finish well from a tight angle.
Olympic roared back though, and were level within 10 minutes when Psaros combined with fellow substitute Isaka Cernak to drill the ball into the bottom corner past Lions keeper Luke Borean.
At this point Olympic were in the ascendency, and they will no doubt look back and rue missed chances, with Psaros guilty of not taking advantage of two one on one opportunities, the striker firing straight at Borean on both occasions.
Defender Zac Anderson also saw his header cleared off the line by Tommy Jarrad as Olympic pushed for a winner.
Lions had other ideas though, and it was Fiechtner who grabbed his second goal with just ten minutes to go with a superb strike.
There looked to be little danger when he picked up the ball on the edge of the penalty area with his back to goal, but the forward swivelled and unleashed an emphatic left foot shot into the top corner, giving Olympic keeper Lachlan Hunter no chance.
It would have been a strike worthy of winning any game, and Olympic had to go for brokenow, throwing Anderson and fellow defender Jack Glover up front in a bid to take the game into extra time.
As the game entered the final moments, Leck was sent off for his foul that sparked a mass brawl, which required a few minutes until the officials had finally restored order.
And just when you thought there couldn’t be anymore drama, Baty brilliantly shot from 40 yards into an empty net with Hunter caught out of position.
It was a breathtaking Grand Final that will live long in the memory, and Lions FC Head Coach Darren Sime was able to toast another Grand Final win.
‘It was always going to be a close game’ Sime admitted. ‘I’m not sure if 3-1 was indicative of the game, but I’ll certainly take it.’
On Fiechtner’s second goal Sime said ‘It came at a perfect time. It was a fantastic strike, I don’t often get up to celebrate goals, but I was certainly off my feet for that one.’