Maltby Fires Strikers Through To Silver Boot Final

Jan 24, 2018 by

The Brisbane Strikers are through to Saturday night’s Kappa Silver Boot final against Lions FC after squeezing past Brisbane City 1-0 in tonight’s first semi-final.

In a hard-fought encounter against their local derby rivals, Strikers prevailed through a fine individual goal to young centre forward Zac Maltby, who produced an eye-catching display of pace, aggression and more than a little panache throughout his seventy or so minutes on the field.

Maltby (pictured) struck in the twenty-fifth minute, cleverly deceiving City’s defence with pace and dribbling skills before slotting his shot past City goalkeeper Bon Scott from close range.

Midfielder Jake McLean could have doubled Strikers lead only a minute later, but blasted his volley from ten yards narrowly over Scott’s crossbar.

More misfortune befell City when their skipper, Nathan Bird, was forced from the field with a leg injury after colliding with a teammate.

But City did create chances in the first half, rattling Strikers’ crossbar from close range after substitute winger Kye Bolton had crossed low from the left touchline before Bolton himself sidefooted an attempted finish over the top after being fed by a cutback from the byline.

Strikers goalkeeper Nathan Archbold was forced into a sharp save low to his right from a City direct free kick struck hard by Andre Bonotto a few minutes into the second half before Strikers regained their grip on the contest to create most of the second half opportunities.

Scott saved well with his legs from Strikers midfielder Ryan Palmer, Maltby blazed a shot narrowly wide of the top corner, substitute Joel Anich tested Scott’s agility with an inventive shot from twenty yards and Michael Lee sprayed a left-footed effort across goal after Scott had forced him wide as Strikers banged on the door for a second goal without success.

While City enjoyed some good periods of their own in the second half they were not able to seriously test Archbold again as an experienced back four of Sam Knight, Greig Henslee, Michael McGowan and Hiroki Omori stood firm in front of him and the ‘keeper dealt confidently with set pieces and high balls.
After the match, Knight said that City had given Strikers the solid workout they were hoping for.

“Brisbane City are much better this year. Kossie (City coach John Kosmina) has got them well organized so it was a tough game but I’m happy to come away with the win,” Knight said.

Knight agreed that Maltby, leading the offensive line for Strikers in the absence of more experienced forwards, had done well.

“Absolutely,” Knight said. “He’s been around the traps and he’s really only got his chance this year, so he’s taken it with both hands and got himself on the scoresheet, which is really good for his confidence”.

The fullback was also encouraged by Archbold’s performance between the posts for his team.

“He was really good. He made some important saves at important times and he’s really good at directing traffic at the back and gives you that confidence to play out,” Knight said.

The tournament final pairing sets up a rematch of the 2016 final after Lions also prevailed 1-0 in their semi-final over Moreton Bay United.

Strikers will be hoping for better luck this time around after losing 2-1, courtesy of a late goal from Nathan Reardon, in 2016.

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