Home Fire Burning For Redlands Clash

Aug 03, 2017 by

There’s no place like home, says Brisbane Strikers skipper Michael Angus.

As he looked ahead to the first of two consecutive home fixtures beginning with Saturday’s visit by Redlands United FC, Angus (pictured) said coming back to Perry Park after a month’s absence could make all the difference for his team as the PlayStation ® 4 NPL Queensland 2017 premiership and finals race goes down to the wire.

Second placed Strikers (42 points) are currently three points behind league leaders Gold Coast City and three ahead of third-placed Olympic, while only four points separate Western Pride (32 points), Moreton Bay United (32), Brisbane City (31) and FNQFC Heat (28) in the desperate scrap for the fourth spot in the end of season finals.

It’s a gripping scenario that is bound to see plenty of drama unfold over the last three rounds of the competition. But Angus said he is hopeful that playing two of their last three fixtures at home will help Strikers earn the points they need to overhaul Gold Coast City for the premiership, provided Gold Coast slip up at least once.

“It’s pretty nice to be able to say that we have two home games,” said Angus before training on Thursday.

“It’s been a couple of tough away games that we’ve had over the last few weeks and it’s always nice to come back home, for sure.

“Honestly, I think we can take advantage of that to put is in good stead going into the last fixture, which is away at Olympic. Perry Park suits our style. It suits the way we play and we should be taking advantage of that.”

The midfielder said Strikers will take confidence out of their improved performance in winning 5-1 in Townsville against Northern Fury last weekend following a deflating 1-0 loss to SWQ Thunder in Toowoomba.

“Toowoomba wasn’t the result we would have wanted but that happens in football,” Angus said.

“But I think that certainly we can take some confidence out of the performance that we had in Townsville. I think it was one of our most complete performances and we were all delighted with that.

“We can look to take that on into the final three games.”

On paper, Strikers’ task this Saturday in taking on Redlands United looks easier than those facing most of the other finals-chasing teams. Redlands, the defending PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland champions (grand final winners) are out of the equation, currently ninth on the league table on 18 points.

But Angus said he was wary of Redlands’ recent form, their propensity for finishing a season strongly and their record at Perry Park, where they knocked Strikers out of the 2016 finals.

Strikers won 4-1 at the Cleveland Showgrounds when the two teams last met this season. However, Redlands have amassed two-thirds of their points in the games played since and have won three of their last six matches, including last week’s come-from-behind win over FNQFC Heat.

“They’ll be taking confidence out of those games and we’ve got to be careful,” Angus said.

“Redlands are always latecomers, as well. Traditionally they’ve always come home strong and that’s what shown over the past couple of games. And they love coming here and have gotten some results here at Perry Park”.
While Angus said Redlands would have threats “all over the park”, the threat Strikers will need to be most wary of was a familiar one.

“We know the prowess of Graham Fyfe,” he said. “Anywhere around the eighteen-yard box, in terms of delivery, you won’t get much better.

“So I think you look at someone like that, and we understand that and know that. We’ve just got to be smart about it”.

But Angus said that if Strikers could take last week’s form into this weekend, and look after their own game first and foremost, they should be able to come out on top.

He also said Strikers could draw encouragement from their ability to change formations and tactics – something that has been a work in progress throughout this season after the loss of last season’s top scorer Rhys Meredith – but which was now bearing fruit.

“We have several different systems that we’ve played this year and each one of those systems has their role to play in terms of what opposition we play,” Angus said.

“We know we’ve got that now and we can adjust to different systems, even throughout games if we need to.

“It just gives us that extra bit of arsenal, where the players have that understanding, and that can be a pretty valid thing to have throughout the squad and within a game”.

Saturday’s main game will follow two matches featuring Brisbane Strikers juniors against their Gold Coast City counterparts. The Under 12s will kick off at 2.15 pm and Under-13s at 3.45 pm.

PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Queensland, Round 20: Brisbane Strikers FC v Redlands United FC, Saturday 5 August, 6.00 pm, Perry Park

Photo: Albert Perez

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