City Peg Back Strikers In Derby

Jul 28, 2018 by

Brisbane Strikers coach Owen Baker was left lamenting his team’s lack of ruthlessness around the opposition penalty area after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Brisbane City at Corporate Travel Management Stadium tonight.

A Strikers team lacking the services of forward Greg Cheshire and centre half Ryan McGowan, both unavailable for family reasons, played plenty of attractive football but could not convert their dominance into further goals after young midfielder Braedon Steel had put them ahead in only the second minute by turning in a low cross from Zac Maltby.

Strikers had much the better of the first half as midfielder Jake McLean ran the show, deftly controlling passes and releasing willing runners in Maltby, Trent Clulow and Steel. But while McLean’s incisive passing and the speed of his support men tormented a scrambling City defence, Strikers were not able to add to their advantage before half time.

City rallied early in the second half, equalising through Kai Fiechtner’s header from James Meyer’s cross in the forty-eighth minute, and the game became and end-to-end spectacle with neither team really on top and neither goalkeeper – Tomi Mesaric for Strikers or Stefan King for City – seriously tested before the ninety minutes were up.

Both teams needed to produce some last-ditch defending at times, most notably when City’s Tristan Hugo cleared off his own goal line and Strikers’ Brock Messenger made a desperate sliding intercept to prevent a cross from reaching the foot of City’s Owain Thomas for a simple tap-in, before the 1-1 result was confirmed.

“We’re disappointed not to come away with the win,” said Baker immediately after the match.

“In the first half we thought we created a lot of good chances and we probably should have gone in at half time two or three goals to the good.

“We probably weren’t clinical enough in the first half, and in the second half, once City got the goal, we struggled to gain real control of the game. We lost that and it became a very end-to-end game where City looked dangerous on the counter-attack and we, in the final third, just rushed ourselves a little bit. We should have shown a little bit more patience on the ball to try to create those chances to go and win it.”

Baker said his team had only itself to blame for the way City’s equaliser had been conceded.

“It was a turnover high up the field – and they are big at the moment for us, because they seem to turn into a chance down the other end pretty quickly. So it’s something that we need to look at in training. City have broken pretty quickly and the boy (Meyer) has put a cross in and Fiechtner’s tucked the header in quite well.

“But it was a disappointing goal because, one, we should have kept the ball higher up the park initially and then I think the cross that came in probably should have been dealt with.”

The two points dropped by Strikers tonight, while not mathematically ending their hopes of finals football this year, certainly made it increasingly unlikely. With only four games to play, Strikers are stranded seven points outside the top four.

Given the situation, however, Baker can take solace from the performances of youngsters such as Tomi Mesaric (in goal), Steel, Maltby, Seb Scaroni and Josh Matcham, all of whom saw game time either from the start or off the bench.

“Given our season and the stage that we’re at now, to give the young players some exposure is priceless,” Baker said.

“We’re happy with their effort and endeavour, but we’re just trying to tweak things so that they have the nous to go on and win games of football. Unfortunately we couldn’t do it today. Although I felt we had enough in us to win, you get guilty of not taking your chances, unfortunately.”

Baker was also justifiably enthused about the performance of the club’s ‘artful dodger’, the slippery and more experienced McLean (pictured).

“Since we’ve changed our shape in the last few weeks it’s allowed Jake McLean to get back into his most comfortable role and he’s getting a lot of the ball,” Baker said.

“He’s lucky in that he’s got good runners off the ball, which are helping him, but Jake’s a special player. He’s a ‘Strikers’ player and we love having him at our club. He’s absolutely vital to what we’re doing here and what we’re doing in the future.”

Brisbane City 1 (K. Fiechtner, 48) v Brisbane Strikers 1 (Steel, 2).

Brisbane City: Stefan King (gk), Thomas Aulton (c), Scott Halliday, Adam Edgar, James Meyer, Tristan Hugo, Alexander Fiechtner, Nathan Beagley, Kai Fiechtner, Preston Hugo, Mark Stewart. Subs: Sam Sibatuara, Jamie Dimitroff, Owain Thomas. Coach: John Kosmina

Brisbane Strikers: Tomislav Mesaric (gk), Brock Messenger, Greig Henslee, Michael Angus (c), Jake McLean, Braedon Steel, Sam Knight, Ryan Palmer, Horoki Omori, Trent Clulow, Zachary Maltby. Subs: Sebastian Scaroni, Josh Matcham. Coach: Owen Baker

Referee: Paul Eldridge

Photo: Michele Pitman

Match Reports, News

About the author

Marketing Brisbane Strikers