Queanbeyan City beat Canberra Olympic 5-3 to claim first ever title in reserve grade

The Queanbeyan City squad that delivered the club its first trophy in reserve grade after 51 years. Photo: Supplied
The Queanbeyan City squad that delivered the club its first trophy in reserve grade after 51 years. Photo: Supplied

You hear about plenty of fairy tales in sport.

The Western Bulldogs last year, Lebron James delivering Cleveland its first championship in over 50 years. Leicester City sending betting agents across Britain broke.

Now we have Queanbeyan City’s triumph in the Men’s Capital Reserve League. It may not sound as impressive, but Disney could hardly write a better storyline.

Queanbeyan City won its first ever trophy in the reserve grade competition after spending 51 years competing in it.

It was just the third time the team qualified for the postseason at all, having lost in the first round of the finals last year.

Queanbeyan City celebrating their 5-3 victory over Canberra Olympic. Photo: Supplied

Queanbeyan City celebrating their 5-3 victory over Canberra Olympic. Photo: Supplied

City secured the minor premiership in the final round of the season with a 2-2 draw against Canberra Olympic. They faced Olympic again in the grand final and walked away champions with a 5-3 scoreline.

The game got underway with a goal for City 12 seconds in.

Nathan Walker picked out Dragan Stegnjaic with a clever cross and Stegnjaic played Zac Knight in for the goal. City coach Stephen Peios said he had to keep his emotions in check after the early excitement.

Coach Stephen Peios (right) said it was extra special to win in front of his dad Jim Peios (left) who played for Queanbeyan City in its inaugural season. Photo: Supplied

Coach Stephen Peios (right) said it was extra special to win in front of his dad Jim Peios (left) who played for Queanbeyan City in its inaugural season. Photo: Supplied

“It was unbelievable, it was just a crazy start,” he said

“That would have to have been one of the quickest goals ever scored in this competition.”

However Mr Peios said perhaps scoring so early was a detriment to City as they then sat back too much and were not looking to get forward as aggressively as they should.

“We went back in our shell a bit and a few defensive mistakes let them back in the game,” he said.

This allowed Olympic to score three goals in the first half, including one just before the halftime whistle. Staring down the barrel of a 3-1 deficit in the final led to a spirited atmosphere in the sheds at halftime.

“The turning point for our season was when our captain Anthony Pulciani just grabbed me and said stop carrying on like a pork chop and tell us what to do,” Mr Peios said.

It was decided that Walker, who had played as a defensive midfielder all season, would be moved up front and they implemented a back three.

The gamble payed off immediately with Walker scoring a screamer from outside the box into the top corner 24 seconds into the second half. He backed that effort up with another goal minutes later.

The club’s leading goalscorer Stegnjaic bagged a brace himself in the final 15 minutes of the game to put it beyond doubt.

Mr Peios said it was an incredibly special feeling to coach the team that finally broke the drought for Queanbeyan City after 51 years.

“To bring a trophy to a team that has never had that sort of success before was really the best part of it,” he said.

“There was a big feeling of relief as well. It was something we had worked so hard for all year, just to get over the line and win, the feeling of relief was brilliant.

“The fact they were all really close mates, they enjoy each other’s company and hang out every weekend. The fact everyone was so close personally is what got them through the tough times on the pitch.”

There was added significance for Mr Peios who finished playing for the club in 2011. His father Jim Peios played for City in its inaugural season in 1966 and he said embracing his father after securing the team’s first trophy was a feeling he would never forget.

“It was amazing to have him there and to be a part of our club’s history,” he said.

Queanbeyan City will hope to win many more trophies in their future, but the story of their first in reserve grade will be hard to top.