Pride Ready To Fire Big Gun At Strikers

May 27, 2017 by

The Brisbane Strikers senior men’s team will attempt to put icing on the cake of a momentous week for their club when they take on ‘banana-skin’ opponents Western Pride at Perry Park tonight.

Four nights after a highly entertaining but physically and emotionally draining 3-1 win over crosstown rivals Brisbane Olympic FC on Tuesday, Michael Angus and his teammates will begin the back end of the 2017 season in second position on the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland table with 25 points, just one point behind leaders Gold Coast City and three ahead of third-placed Brisbane City.

But if they are to capitalise on Tuesday night’s good work they must prove they can back up against a young, fit and quick Western Pride outfit who gave Strikers their fare share of problems when the two teams met at Briggs Road in Round One and drew 2-2.

After a promising start to the season Pride have slipped off the pace in recent weeks and now sit in ninth position, ten points outside of the top four. If they are to mount a challenge for a finals place later this season they need to start picking up points now.

Perhaps it is no surprise, then, that right on cue for their clash with Strikers the Ipswich-based Pride have announced this week that 195 centimetre forward Harrison Sawyer is ready to play for them after returning from a stint with Hyundai A-League club Newcastle Jets.

Sawyer, 20, looks set for a massive clash with 19-year-old Strikers centre half Jake Marshall, who has himself been on the radar of A-League clubs since last season.

Strikers will be aiming for their seventh successive league win on Saturday to keep the pressure on Gold Coast City, who face a tricky assignment at home against FNQFC Heat.

Coach Sean Lane will have his work cut out coming up with the right selections in his midfield engine room after four players – Michael Lee, Ethan Docherty, Shaun Carlos and Ryan Palmer each played one half of Tuesday night’s game alongside Angus and attacking midfielder Jake McLean.

The silver lining to that puzzle will be that all four players should remain fresh and ready for the challenge of subduing Pride’s midfield, likely to include skipper Jesse Rigby and Adam Endean, and making sure that Sawyer’s pacy forward partners Joe Duckworth and Mitchell Bird don’t get an even share of the ball with which to attack the home team’s flanks.

Equally, however, Pride coach Graham Harvey will have a difficult job finding a way to curb the attacking talents of a Strikers team that has scored 42 goals in just eleven games and has been unstoppable at home.

While Jeremy Stewart and Greg Cheshire jointly head the Strikers’ scoring chart with eight goals, the rest of the team’s goals are coming from everywhere. Of the fourteen players who took the field for Strikers against Olympic, only Docherty and goalkeeper Zac Speedy had not scored at least one goal for them this season, and Docherty had started in only two games.

Harvey will no doubt have a plan, based on his usual assiduous level of homework on his opponents, to stem the home team’s flow of goals and Strikers will need to overcome that plan. But provided they can make whatever tactical adjustments are required, and based on their record of five home games for five wins with 26 goals scored, Pride goalkeeper Max Davison is going to find himself seriously tested at some stage of the game and will need to be at his best.

PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland Round 12, Brisbane Strikers FC v Western Pride FC, Perry Park, Saturday 27 May, kick-off at 6.00 pm.

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