Strikers Fall Short Against Cairns

Jul 01, 2018 by

Brisbane Strikers twice fought back from a goal down only to ultimately fall short in a see-sawing 5-3 defeat to Cairns FC at Perry Park on Saturday night.

The far north Queenslanders delivered a four-goal second half to wrest the points in a match full of chances for both sides – with former Strikers player Josh Taylor claiming a hat-trick.

The result ends a two-match winning run for Strikers but sees them remain in the finals hunt in fifth place on the NPL Queensland table.

Despite Strikers dominating the early exchanges – including a pair of opportunities for Rhys Meredith – Cairns opened accounts against the run of play when a ball over the backline was met by the run of Taylor, who slotted a composed one-on-one finish.

Chances continued to favour the home side – Meredith, Michael Lee and Jake McLean forcing saves –  before Jack Stevens levelled terms from a corner on the half-hour. The goal his first at senior level for the club.

Strikers edged ahead early in the second half when Hiroki Omori converted with a stinging strike at the back post for his first league goal of the campaign.

The Japanese fullback was then cruelly denied another goal just a minute later when he struck the post with a headed attempt.

Cairns capitalised on the let-off with two goals in as many minutes – Chris O’Hare levelling terms following a goal mouth scramble before Taylor’s second saw the visitors regain the lead

In-form attacker Trent Clulow squared the ledger once more with a quarter hour remaining – finishing off clever build-up from McLean and Knight that pried open the Cairns’ defence.

However, the visitors finished strongest as Johnson Slotemaker headed home from a corner before Taylor rounded out his hat-trick with a goal on the counter attack in injury time.

Speaking post-match, Strikers coach Owen Baker conceded that the team could not feel hard done by after shipping as many goals as they did on the night.

“Obviously we are extremely disappointed to concede five goals. When you play at home and you score three goals you should be winning the game,” Baker said.

“We’ve simply given away goals tonight and you will never win games if you do that.”

“We will look at it in detail at training this week coming and make sure we get back up and get three points next weekend.”

Baker added that the turning point in the contest came around the hour

“The boys did well by taking the information on at half-time to get 2-1 up and then we had a big moment where we hit the post there,” he said.

“After that, Cairns went down the other end and scored and that got them back into the game and that changed the momentum.”

“I know the fans were saying it might have been offside but I didn’t see that and we really should’ve dealt with it before it came to that anyway.”

Defender Michael McGowan said the team is determined to bounce back in their next game against Brisbane Roar Youth.

“We knew what threats Cairns would pose today and we let ourselves down with some mistakes – we should’ve seen it out after going ahead.”

“When you want to finish in the top four these are the games you must win, so it is disappointing.”

“But we can’t dwell on it. We need put it behind us, fix what went wrong and next week becomes even more important now because we can’t drop any more points.”

Strikers are now eight points behind fourth-placed Moreton Bay United with seven rounds of the home-and-away season remaining.

NPL Queensland
Saturday, June 30 @ Perry Park

Brisbane Strikers – 3 (Stevens 30’, Omori 56’, Clulow 76’)
Cairns FC – 5 (Taylor 20’ 60’ 90+2’, O’Hare 59’, Slotemaker 85’)

Full match details via the NPL Queensland Match Centre

Match Reports

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