Redlands United went down 3-2 to top of the table Gold Coast City FC on Saturday night at Palm Beach.
Gold Coast took an early lead as they scored three goals in the opening half an hour of the game.
Coach Nick Dibbs said it was unlucky for his side not to grab a point after the effort Redlands put into the second half.
“You can’t be disappointed with that second half,” he said.
“I thought the boys reacted really well at half-time. It was absolutely fantastic and they showed an awful lot of character,” Dibbs said.
Golden Boot leader Sam Smith opened the scoring for the game as he flew above the defenders to head the ball past Redlands goalkeeper James Edgar.
Gold Coast doubled their lead almost 10 minutes later through Jarrod Kyle and added their third as Roman Hofmann curled the ball into the back of the net.
It took Redlands until halftime to make their mark as experienced midfielder Graham Fyfe’s free kick evaded everyone.
Redlands was not going to let Gold Coast have the three points, and brought the game to them as a strong header from youngster Stuart Edgar gave Redlands hope of stealing a point.
“They are a quality outfit but we rattled them and at the end, I thought we were unlucky not to grab a point if not more,” Dibbs said.
“It just shows when you put in a little determination and belief, you can rattle the best sides out there.
“I’m really happy with the reaction after half-time,” he said.
Redlands currently sit in the bottom half of the table and are unlikely to make the finals series in 2017.
However, the side has been dealt with another heavy blow as the squad has lost young midfielders Liam O’Bryan and Sam Langley to season-ending knee injuries in separate training sessions during last week.
“This is the sad side to this as they are two great players,” Dibbs said. “Firstly, Sam Langley’s game has gone to another level in the last few weeks and he now has an unfortunate grade three tear to his ACL.
“Liam, as well, has gone to another level and he has put in so much effort so it will be a big loss to the team,” he said.
The loss of two players has seen members from Redlands United PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland Youth squad step up into the role.
Redlands will be back at the Cleveland Showgrounds as they face the Moreton Bay Jets on Friday July 14 from 7pm.
Defender Adam Chandler will make his 100th senior appearance for the club against the Jets.