Jets Make It Four Losses On The Bounce For Out-Of-Luck Strikers

Jun 02, 2018 by

Brisbane Strikers football manager David Large assured supporters that his team has the quality and courage to turn around a mid-season form slump that continued tonight when they suffered their fourth successive defeat in all competitions when beaten 1-0 by Moreton Bay United Jets at Wolter Park.

A second half goal to Jets winger Chom Arop stole the three points to his team as Strikers, for the second time in three NPL Queensland fixtures, were forced to play more than an hour of the game one man short after goalkeeper Nathan Archbold was marched by referee Casey Reibelt for a last-man foul on United’s Riley Campbell.

Tomislav Mesaric (pictured) replaced Archbold between the posts for Strikers and midfielder Jake McLean was the sacrificed outfielder as Large adjusted his team and tactics. While Strikers did just as they had in similar circumstances against Western Pride a fortnight ago in maintaining a large share of ball possession, they struggled to find any penetration against a well-organised Jets defence.

But the same could be set for Jets, who seldom threatened Mesaric’s goal despite their numerical superiority as the match became a dour struggle between two teams who lacked a cutting edge.

The breakthrough for Jets arrived in the fifty-second minute when Arop, whose height had been a problem throughout for Strikers and had created the nodded-on half-chance that saw Campbell felled by Archbold, again made a nuisance of himself as he contested a high ball with Mesaric.

Mesaric got his hands to the ball but could not hold it under pressure from Arop and, when the ball fell loose, Campbell lashed it goalwards only to see the ball rebound off a teammate’s shins and fall into the path of Arop. The winger then knocked it into an empty net from eight yards as Strikers centre half Greig Henslee tried too late to slide in for the block.

It was an ugly, scrappy goal that settled an ugly, scrappy game to leave Strikers ten points adrift of league leaders Olympic FC and five points adrift of a top four currently anchored by Lions FC, who upset Olympic 1-0 tonight.

It left Large scratching his head wondering to turn around a depressing run of results that seemed unthinkable only a fortnight ago, when Strikers were in scintillating form after nine straight league wins – and how to end a totally uncharacteristic goal scoring drought that now spans 360 minutes.

“We’ve lost four games and we’ve lost three of them 1-0, and in two of those games we’ve only had ten men on the park for an hour of football,” Large said in reviewing what has happened since his team thrashed Magpies Crusader 5-1 in mid-May.

“It’s very difficult. The boys are just working so hard. I can’t answer why it’s happened, but it’s circumstances that are putting us in this situation. I’m not even sure it’s ill-discipline, really. Some of the decisions certainly don’t seem to be going our way.

“I don’t want to be going ‘oh, woe is me or woe is our team’. We’re a strong unit and we still believe that we’re going to get something out of this. We’ve just got to keep fighting and show some inner strength – whether it be the management group or whether it be the players.

“I honestly believe that we’ll turn this corner and who knows what’s going to be by the end of the year.”

Large said he did not believe his players would continue struggling to score goals.

“On Thursday night we had a video session and looked at a lot of the things we’re doing and, believe it or not, when you start analyzing us instead of the opposition it’s amazing what you see. And our entries into the (opposition) box have been exceptionally good. In having those entries into the box all we’ve had to do is get on the end of them.

“We worked really hard on Thursday night to try to fix that problem and we all walked away believing that we are not far away.

“I can honestly assure you that we will keep working hard for this club and its fans and hopefully we can arrest it sooner rather than later”.

Moreton Bay United 1 (Arop 52) v Brisbane Strikers 0

Moreton Bay United: Behzad Ariayee Ravesh (gk), Sam Dickinson, Matthew Byrne, Matthew Capelo, Riley Campbell, Alex Janovsky, Chom Arop, Darren Thomson, Benjamin Harris, Lachlan Strogusz, Rhys Gwynn-Jones. Subs: Nicholas Bernardi, Declan Smith, Sekou Jomanday. Coach: Pouria Nabi.

Brisbane Strikers: Nathan Archbold (gk), Jack Stevens, Greig Henslee, Michael McGowan, Michael Lee, Rhys Meredith, Jake McLean, Sam Knight, Hiroki Omori, Trent Clulow, Zach Maltby. Subs: Tomislav Mesaric, Braedon Steel, Tana Entrop. Coach: David Large

Red card: Nathan Archbold

Referee: Casey Reibelt

Photo: Mitch Pitman

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