Ahern On Cloud Nine After Derby Win

Mar 09, 2015 by

Brisbane Strikers holding midfielder Josh Ahern (pictured) was still buzzing on Sunday, two days after the Strikers’ 2-1 victory away to their closest PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues neighbours Brisbane City on Friday.

The player recruited to the club by Strikers coach Kevin A’Herne-Evans from Brisbane Premier League outfit Peninsula Power, said the game had “definitely felt like a derby” to him.   And he said he felt confident that, when the Strikers went behind to the opening goal midway through the second half, they would find a way back.

“I was definitely disheartened, because I thought we didn’t deserve to concede then, but that’s football.  I mean, you saw it last week with Redlands as well”, said Ahern.

“But I felt that the character we have in the side is uncanny – it’s brilliant.  So I had every faith in my teammates to come back, it was just whether or not we take the goals”.

Seventeen minutes later the Strikers had indeed taken their goal scoring chances to bag two and take the lead with eleven minutes remaining.  It was then that they had to prove to themselves they could learn from the previous weekend, when they were unable to hold a lead with only stoppage time remaining.

This was a test they passed, in part through Ahern’s ability to protect the back four behind him from the determined ball running and passing of the player rated by A’Herne-Evans as one of the best midfielders in the league – Mat Biggins.

Ahern, 22, said he had enjoyed the challenge of trying to nullify the threat posed by City’s experienced playmaker.

“Biggins is a good player and I thought he played quite well, but defensively I’m happy with my game and I love those sorts of tests”, Ahern said.

“I don’t want to go out and play easy teams.  I relish the fact that I’m playing good players like Biggins and that kind of lifts me up to play even better.  I love playing against players like him”.

It is still very early days in Ahern’s transition into NPL football but the youngster says that, two games into his stint with his new club in a new league, it feels as if he is on an entirely new football journey.

“I absolutely love it”, Ahern said.  “I was talking to a few mates after the game and I said I thought that scoring a goal and winning a game in the NPL is just, for some reason, better than in BPL.  It actually feels like, I don’t know, a greater achievement.

“When we scored, and when we scored the winner – I’ve been on a high all weekend!  It’s been awesome.

“I’ve been trying to figure it out (why it feels different).  It could be just the fact that the league is more professional  – I mean City are a good side and beating them was an achievement, especially in front of their crowd.  I think that has a lot to do with it as well”.

Ahern said that a lot of credit for helping to steer him through his first couple of NPL games should go to his former Peninsula Power teammate, defender Greig Henslee.

“It’s so important”, Ahern said.  “I played with ‘Henners’ (Henslee) last year as well and he’s one of my favourite players I’ve every played with.  He gives you a lot of information, he’s so positive and he’s definitely someone I look up to.  I need players like him behind me because they help me keep my head on and help me to perform consistently”.

Photo: Steven Gibson (Note: for more images from Steven Gibson of Friday night’s game, including a ripper of the moment that Cameron Draper ends “the longest scramble on earth” to score the equalizing goal, plus images of the City v Strikers “Old Boys” curtain raiser, visit http://www.stevengibsonphoto.com/events)

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