Olympic FC became the second Queensland club to qualify for the 2019 FFA Cup Round of 16 last night after a 5-2 victory over Bayswater City SC at Perry Park.
Goals from Chris Lucas, Alex Smith and Jez Lofthouse secured the win for the home side as Lucas made history, becoming the first player to bag multiple hat-tricks in the national stages of the FFA Cup competition.
It was a dominating first half for the NPL Queensland side in front of a crowd of 917 spectators. While the first 20 minutes remained goalless, Olympic held majority of possession and pushed forward with close chances while Bayswater remained defensive.
Lofthouse and Steve Whyte both had chances early in the game, but it wasn’t until the 24th minute that Olympic opened the scoring as Lucas fired a sharp shot from within the box.
The goals didn’t stop there for the NPL Queensland side. Just ten minutes later, former A-League star Alex Smith found the back of the net after a swift setup from Lucas.
In high spirits, Olympic kept pushing forward and had multiple chances from corners and free kicks for the remainder of the half.
Minutes before halftime, a handball offence from Bayswater captain Trent Kay handed Olympic a penalty. Stepping up to the mark, Lucas found the back of the net for the second time to extend Olympic’s lead to 3-0 before the break.
The hosts continued their thrilling form in the second half. Within ten minutes, Lucas secured his hat-trick after a cut-back assist from Shelford Dais.
Just two minutes later, Dais continued his round of assists with a through ball to Lofthouse, taking the score to 5-0 after 58 minutes.
After failing to create chances in the first half, Bayswater switched gears in the second. In the 59th minute, the team pounced on the counter and found the back of the net after Gordon Smith chipped the ball over Olympic’s keeper Brandon Cuminao.
Finding their confidence, Bayswater continued pushing forward with multiple chances forming from counter attacks.
This newfound momentum saw the team bag another consolation goal minutes before the final whistle when Brent Griffiths found the back of the net; leaving the final score at 5-2.
This is now the second time Olympic has reached the FFA Cup Round of 16 after their appearance in the 2014 edition of the cup competition. In last year’s FFA Cup, the side bowed out in the Round of 32 after falling to defeat at the hands of Lions FC.
Speaking after the match, Olympic Head Coach Ben Cahn commended his team’s efforts despite losing control of the match in the second half.
“For the rest of our season, league and cup, we had to have a good performance today. We had to have a good result. I think we did that for most of the game,” Cahn said.
Cahn also congratulated Lucas on his historic hat-trick efforts.
“He’s scored goals wherever he goes. We knew by bringing him here this year that when we had games like this on the big stage, he’d be someone we’d be looking to.”
Fellow NPL Queensland team Magpies Crusaders are also through to the Round of 16 after a close 2-1 victory over Gold Coast Premier League club Coomera Colts last night.
Words: Vivien Topalovic
Image: Bradley Kanaris/Stringer