Olympic FC Head Coach, Danny Byrne says the performance of his players in Friday’s 2-2 NPL Queensland Women’s opening day draw against Virginia United has left him incredibly proud.
A 91st minute Natasha Ridley equaliser denied Olympic, who scored through Teani Karalouka and Nadine Keast all three points in a pulsating match in front of a healthy crowd at Goodwin Park.
It took Olympic just nine minutes to open the scoring, through Karalouka, who spent eleven years at the club as a junior fittingly firing home a free-kick from the top of the box to Olympic ahead.
United forced their way back into a see-sawing contest, when Jasmine Genovesi fired home from close range to level the scores in the 71st minute.
It took Olympic just three minutes to regain their lead, when Keast latched onto an India Kubin through ball and calmly finished past United keeper, Emilie Adams.
It wasn’t to be for Olympic, with Ridley popping up with a back post finish for the visitors in second half stoppage time to send both sides home with a share of the spoils.
Speaking post-match, Byrne said his side had laid an excellent foundation to build on going forward.
“The girls have been fantastic after a difficult week, I couldn’t be prouder.” Byrne said.
“Nine weeks ago, we didn’t have any players at all and tonight we’ve played the opening game of the 2021 NPL Queensland Women’s season, Im so proud of the girls.
“It’s a good foundation to build on, take nothing away from Virginia, they came with a game plan and they managed to come and get themselves a point.
“The atmosphere in that change room after the game speaks volumes to me in that every single one of the girls was disappointed with the result.
“It would’ve obviously been good to get off to a winning start but i’m super proud of every single one of them and it gives us a lot of positives moving forward, but also a lot of things that we can start working on.”
Byrne added for the side to finally be back playing NPL football at Goodwin Park was a special moment for not only the players but the club as a whole.
“As soon as the girls got here, the preparation was perfect and seeing the crowd, having the young SAP girls there with them walking out onto the field it was a special moment for them and moving forward as a club and as a women’s program,”
I think there’s a lot of people that should be patting themselves on the back tonight because a lot of work has finally paid off, again the result didn’t go our way but at the end of the day there’s a lot of winners at Olympic tonight
Olympic’s focus now turns to next Saturday’s trip to Richlands to face defending Champions, Lions FC (5pm KO).
NPL Queensland Women’s 2021: Round 1 – Olympic FC vs Virginia United
Goodwin Park, Yeronga
Friday, 12 March
Olympic FC – 2 (Teani KARALOUKA 9’, Nadine KEAST 74’)
Virginia United 2 (Jasmine GENOVESI 71’, Natasha RIDLEY 91’)