Lee Sparks Second Half Avalanche As Strikers Beat Roar Youth

Mar 17, 2018 by

A domineering second half showing from the Brisbane Strikers shrugged aside Brisbane Roar FC Youth at Perry Park tonight as Strikers ran out 4-1 winners to clinch their second successive NPL Queensland win for 2018.

With the match deadlocked 0-0 at half time, Strikers ran riot in the second half with goals from Michael Lee, Trent Clulow, substitute Ryan Palmer and centre-half Michael McGowan (his first in Strikers’ colours) making the three points safe for the home team before Nathan Yoon grabbed a late consolation for the visitors.

There was little hint of the lopsided scoreline to come in the first twenty minutes of the contest as the two teams fought for early supremacy in a fast-paced game in which Young Roar were the dominant team in terms of possession, but Strikers the more incisive on the counter attack.

Roar were fortunate to survive into the second minute with their goal intact. Turning the ball over to Rhys Meredith when trying to play the ball out from your defensive third is not an advisable option, but that’s what the visitors did. Meredith closed in on goal before aiming for the far corner with his left foot but watched as the ball passed just wide of the upright as Young Roar goalkeeper Macklin Freke squeezed down his shooting angles.

At the other end, Strikers goalkeeper Nathan Archbold pulled off a big save in the eleventh minute, reacting brilliantly on his goal line to palm away a first-time shot from close range by Roar’s Mirza Muratovic, who looked odds-on to convert a low cross from Roar’s left flank.

Strikers seemed to have been dealt a blow to their chances when Meredith limped from the field with what appeared to be a hamstring injury inside thirty minutes and was replaced by Denis Yongule.

But the incident only seemed to spur on the home side, who began to take control of the contest from there. That Young Roar made it into the half time break still on level terms had a lot to do with the errant shooting of Strikers, who saw McLean and Lee both miss the target from around eighteen yards, Yongule shoot straight at Freke from similar distance, and McLean touch a cross from fullback Hiroki Omori wide of the target from just six yards.

Roar had a half-chance right on the stroke of half time when a probing and patient attack finished with Daniel Leck squirming his way to the byline before unleashing a low shot that flew across Archbold’s goal line and wide. But it was 0-0 at half time and everything still to play for.

So it was a little surprising that when the teams came back out there was really only one that showed up. That was the home team, who took the game by the scruff of the neck despite McLean and fullback Sam Knight missing the target again with early shots.

With debut starter Brock Messenger and skipper Michael Angus pulling the strings in midfield Strikers launched attack after attack and had Roar pinned inside their own penalty area.

In the forty-eighth minute a chain of passes eventually found Lee fifteen yards out from goal. Roar’s defenders hesitated and Lee seemed to say “enough of this missing the target stuff” as he looked up and spotted the far corner of Freke’s goal. With his right foot he aimed a dipping shot unerringly into that spot with the goalkeeper no chance of making a save.

Having scored the opener Strikers had the bit between their teeth and they pressed hard for a second. Freke initially kept them out with a smart save to a shot on the turn from Hiroki Omori, who had been found by Lee’s pass in a crowded Roar penalty area.

But Freke was able only to palm the ball away for a corner and, from the resulting delivery from Omori, Strikers regathered possession and first Yongule, and then Henslee crossed into the six yard box before Clulow, making his first start for Strikers this season, volleyed past Freke from eight yards to make it 2-0.

Clulow then made way for Palmer, who was soon into the action running on to a perfectly-weighted pass from Michael Angus to produce another fine finish – curling the ball left-footed into the top left corner of Freke’s goal from fifteen yards with the ‘keeper leaping high to his right in vain.

At 3-0 the home side was doing pretty much as it pleased and it was no surprise when they scored again in the seventy-sixth minute. This time it was towering centre-half McGowan, having gone up for a free kick, who was on the spot to touch McLean’s exquisitely-weighted inswinging free kick past Freke to open up a four-goal lead for the home team.

With Roar having faded as an attacking force a clean sheet looked likely for Strikers, but the visitors found enough within themselves to force a corner kick in the eighty-eighth minute. Strikers made a mess of the task of defending it and, as the ball evaded Archbold and several defenders on its way towards the back post, Yoon found himself free to side-foot the ball firmly into an almost empty net to finish the scoring at 4-1 to the home team.

The result lifted Strikers to seven points from five games while Roar remain on thirteen from seven.

After the game, Knight was asked if he would have taken a 4-1 win if offered it before the match, given Strikers lack of recent match play due to washed out games.

“Yes, definitely,” Knight responded. “It was good to get another game – we’ve had a bit of bad luck with the weather recently, so it was nice to get another win under the belt. It was a bit disappointing to concede another late goal, but we’re happy with the three points”.

Knight said Strikers kept a positive mindset heading out for the second half despite having misfired with their finishing in the first half.

“We just had to keep doing what we were doing’” Knight said. “It wasn’t a case of we were doing the wrong things in the final third, we were just lacking that final blow to get the goals.

“But fortunately we broke through in the second half and it snowballed from there.”

NPL Queensland Round 7: Brisbane Strikers 4 (Lee 48, Clulow 56, Palmer 68, McGowan 77) v Brisbane Roar FC Youth 1 (Yoon, 88).

Brisbane Strikers: Nathan Archbold (gk), Brock Messenger, Greig Henslee, Michael McGowan, Michael Lee, Michael Angus (c), Rhys Meredith, Jake McLean, Sam Knight, Hiroki Omori, Trent Clulow. Subs: Denis Yongule, Ryan Palmer, Sebastian Scaroni. Coach: David Large

Brisbane Roar FC Youth: Macklin Freke (gk), Emlyn Wellsmore, Kai Trewin, Matthew Crooks, Adam Sawyer, Daniel Leck, Mirza Muratovic, Rahmat Akbari (c), Shannon Brady, Nathan Yoon, Daniel Cuttler. Subs: Daniel Driver, Bryce Bafford, Brodie Boyce. Coach: James Robinson.

Referee: Rebecca Durcau

Photo (Roze Gallo): Michael Lee celebrates with Denis Yongule (left) and skipper Michael Angus (right) after scoring the opening goal


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