Strikers Back On Track With Win Over Thunder

Jun 17, 2018 by

Brisbane Strikers have returned to winnings ways with a rousing come-from-behind win over SWQ Thunder in Toowoomba on Saturday night.

A pair of goals in the final ten minutes from midfielder Jake McLean and defender Greig Henslee delivered Strikers a 2-1 win over the Thunder after conceding early in the first-half.

The result ends a four-match losing run in all competitions for the Strikers and keeps the two-time defending NPL Queensland Premiers in touch with the league’s top four.

Strikers were on the back foot early when Travis Cooper netted the opener for Thunder on six minutes.

Thunder went on to strike the frame twice in the first-half via Chris Hatfield and Anthony Grant, however, Strikers saw the better of the play with Rhys Meredith, Michael Lee and Sam Knight all forcing telling saves with on-target efforts.

Unable to find an equaliser before the half, Strikers mounted increasing pressure in the second stanza – with McLean and Knight both striking the woodwork after the hour mark.

The leveler came as the contest entered the final ten minutes when McLean converted a well-placed free-kick over the Thunder wall from the edge of the penalty area.

The winner also resulted from a set-piece when Henslee headed home from close range after Strikers won a corner with just minutes remaining in regular time.

The result marked Strikers first double of the NPL Queensland season after defeating Thunder at home in March – and marks a ninth win in ten meetings against the Toowoomba club since 2014.

Head Coach Owen Baker said that despite leaving the goals late, he believed the team were good value for the win.

“The most important thing was that we got the three points. It was a good show of character from the lads,” Baker said.

“Although we left it a bit late, and we conceded the early goal against the run of play, I feel we were more in control of the game.”

“We created a lot of chances and we always had that feeling we were going to score and, once we did, it opened up a bit and it was a convincing last 15 minutes.”

McLean explained the return to winning form after a testing few weeks of results has the team ready to push on in their quest for a sixth straight NPL Queensland Finals appearance.

“After our poor start to the season we went on a ten-game winning streak. If we can do that again then I’m sure we will finish in the top four,” McLean said.

“We’ve changed up the formation a little bit now – adding a bit more width and the fullbacks playing a bit higher – and that gives us a bit more up front and bit more space in the midfield.”

He added that he was personally pleased with netting the much-needed equaliser in the second half.

“I’ve missed a few free-kicks lately so I thought it was about time I put one in,” he joked, “The keeper got a hand to it but luckily for me he couldn’t keep it out.”

Strikers face another away test in their next match when they travel to Robina to face Gold Coast United next Saturday.

NPL Queensland
Saturday, June 16
Clive Berghofer Stadium, Toowoomba

SWQ Thunder – 1 (Cooper 6’)
Brisbane Strikers – 2 (McLean 80’, Henslee 88’)

Image supplied by SWQ Thunder / DSL Photography

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