Bechar Brace Takes Devils Top
Redlands United jumped to top of the NPL Queensland standings on Friday night following a solid 2-1 win over Brisbane Roar NYL at Perry Park.
Frenchman Nico Bechar proved the hero for the Red Devils in the free-flowing contest, netting a second half brace in a commanding performance on the left wing.
Kofi Danning scored Roar’s only goal on a night that saw the hosts spurn several promising opportunities in the final third and record their first defeat of the campaign.
The match-up between the two sides delivered attacking football from the outset with half chances at both ends of the pitch inside the opening five minutes.
The sides traded counter-punches throughout the first half, with Jai Ingham working his way into some promising positions for Roar but proving unable to find the target in the early exchanges.
For Redlands Nick Danicic called Roar goalkeeper Fraser Chalmers into action before Rhys Meredith and Bechar both skimmed the crossbar immediately prior to the half hour.
Ingham saw the best chance of the first half on 35 minutes when he was found in space by Shannon Brady’s early ball, however Andrew Ralph rushed off his line to effect a sharp save.
Still locked at nil-all at the interval, the Red Devils returned the sharper of the sides, with Zach Brattan’s glanced header shortly after the restart forcing Chalmers into a full-stretched, fingertip save.
Roar caught a glimpse at goal as Danning and Costa Psaros blazed wide of the target before Redlands again gained the upper hand.
Just prior to the hour mark, Bechar was picked out by a cross-field ball from Brattan on the counter attack that resulted in Chalmers again saving Roar’s blushes at the near post.
It served as a precursor of things to come, when Bechar again showed his combination of pace and control down the left to beat his man and slot home a composed finish on the angle in the 73rd minute.
Parity was restored only a minute later though when Danning fashioned space at the near post, controlling well and driving home his shot from 8 yards.
The contest looked set for a draw before Bechar replicated his first goal with six minutes remaining – again bursting down the left to outpace his defender and then producing a sharp finish to seal the result.
Roar saw a chance to salvage a point in injury time through substitute Yando Manawar, but Ralph proved up to the task with a low save at the near post.
The result sees Redlands with nine points from their opening four NPL Queensland fixtures, temporarily lifting them to the top of the table with the rest of the round still to be completed.
The results leaves Roar in danger of dropping into the bottom half of the table depending on other results.
Brisbane Roar NYL 1 (Kofi DANNING 74’)
Redlands United 2 (Nico BECHAR 73’ 84’)
Words: Michael Flynn (Brisbane Roar)
Image: Ray Gardner (Redlands United)