Strikers Sharpen Up In Silver Boot

Jan 29, 2019 by

(Image – Ian Judd / Aqua PD / Lions FC)

Brisbane Strikers’ new-look squad is ready for the season ahead after a promising third-placed showing in the recently completed Kappa Silver Boot tournament.

A fixture on the pre-season calendar for Strikers in recent years, the tournament this year featured eight clubs in two groups prior to a four-team finals series.

Baker described the series of matches as much-needed preparation for the upcoming National Premier Leagues Queensland season.

“The Silver Boot gives us five games in a relatively short time frame to prepare for the season. It helps us improve our individual performances, develop tactically and build cohesion,” Baker explained.

While off-season attacking recruit Andy Pengelly lead the returns with nine goals, Baker noted his side’s attack are showing their potential as a collective.

“Andy knows he has come to the club to be our ‘number 9’ but we’re working hard to make sure as a team we create scoring chances for a number of players,” he said.

“All successful teams have more than one goal scorer and it was good to see the players contributing in the build-up to the goals we scored and also working in the defence.”

Game 1 (Group A)

Monday, January 7th @ Lions Stadium, Richlands

Brisbane Strikers – 4 (Pengelly 30 73’p 78’, Yoon 59’)
Capalaba FC – 0

Brisbane Strikers’ delivered a promising performance in their opening group tie with a four-goal win over Football Queensland Premier League club Capalaba FC.

Off-season attacking recruit Pengelly announced himself in style to the Strikers fans with a hat-trick – icing his performance with a pin-point free-kick late in the second half.

However, Baker cited the team’s defensive performance as particularly pleasing as they stifled Capalaba’s attack for extended periods.

“It’s good for the boys to get the feel of a clean sheet in their first game,” Baker explained.

“Everyone understands that defensively we want to be improved this year and it was something for the boys to build on.”

Game 2 (Group B)
Saturday, January 12th @ Lions Stadium, Richlands

Brisbane Strikers – 6 (Yoon 45+2, Pengelly 50’p 58’ 77’ 89’, Omori 79’)
Logan Lightning – 0

Brisbane Strikers capitalised on an early Logan Lightning send-off to embark on a second half rout in a six goal win over their Football Queensland Premier League opponents.

With scores level, Lightning’s Linden Farr was shown a straight red after lashing out Strikers’ Chris Maher 30 minutes into the contest.

Strikers were forced to wait until the dying minutes of the first half to capitalise on the numerical advantage before a tactical tweak saw them overrun their opponents in the second half.

A four-goal haul for Andy Pengelly again underscored his eye for goal, however, it was a stunning strike from fullback Hiroki Omori that proved the pick of the finishes.

Baker said the early red card forced him to change his priorities as the balance of the contest altered.

“We wanted to play against eleven men and Logan gave us a good game for the early period before the send-off,” he explained.

“But we used that in the second half to get more pressure around the box and be clinical. It might happen again during the season, so we need to be prepared for those situations and be sure we convert our chances.”

Game 3 (Group A)
Thursday, January 17th @ Lions Stadium, Richlands

Brisbane Strikers – 1 (Pengelly 74’p)
Moreton Bay United – 2 (Jafari 14’, Smith 16’)

Brisbane Strikers suffered their first defeat of the tournament in a hard-fought final group game against fellow National Premier Leagues Queensland club Moreton Bay United.

Strikers conceded twice little more than a quarter hour into the contest before righting the ship and taking the match to their opponents.

A second half send-off for Jets’ Adam Chandler altered the balance further as Pengelly netted his third penalty in as many games to pull a goal back.

Baker explained that his side will be better for the test against a strong transitional opponent brimming with athletic players.

“It was a more intense game for us and it came at the right time. We took valuable lessons from the goals we conceded and how we handle ourselves after conceding,” he explained.

“The boys adjusted in the second half and we did well to get a goal. We also took a lot from the video analysis of that game before facing Lions.”

Game 4 (Semi-Final)
Tuesday, January 22nd @ Lions Stadium, Richlands

Brisbane Strikers – 2 (Palmer 30′, Pengelly 49′)
Lions – 3 (Hatfield 13’, Duckworth 46’ pen, Shepherd 86’)

In a rematch of last year’s Kappa Silver Boot Grand Final, Strikers fell just short against tournament hosts and defending National Premier Leagues Queensland Champions Lions FC.

After conceding inside the opening quarter hour, Strikers levelled before the break as Ryan Palmer netted his first goal of the tournament.

The to-and-fro continued in the second half as a contentious penalty for Lions was immediately rubbed out by Andy Pengelly’s ninth goal in four games.

Strikers rode their luck late as Lions fashioned a number of opportunities and ultimately paid the price in the closing stages through a Nathan Shepherd winner.

Souring the contest for Strikers supporters was a first-half injury to Japanese fullback Hiroki Omori, who was stretchered off the field.

Baker said, “Our performance was good. We were disappointed with the goals we conceded – and there was some fatigue at the end – but we certainly created chances for ourselves.”

“We showed a lot of fight and determination in an end-to-end game and we take a lot of confidence from that and know we will be up for a good game in the season against them as well.”

Game 5 (Third Place Play-Off)
Sunday, January 27 @ Lions Stadium, Richlands

Brisbane Strikers – 5 (Maltby 31’ 44’, Palmer 67, Matcham 79’, Entrop 83’)
Southside Eagles – 2 (Morgan 45+2’, Sudiro 58′)

Brisbane Strikers wrapped up the tournament on a high, securing third place honours with a high-scoring win against Football Queensland Premier League outfit Southside Eagles.

With a number of younger players elevated into the squad, Strikers demonstrated their squad depth for the coming season with their performance.

Zach Maltby found his shooting boots before the season proper with a first-half brace, before the Eagles levelled terms with goals either side of half-time.

However, Strikers recovered to fire home a further three unanswered goals – with Josh Matcham’s long range screamer lighting up the highlight reel.

Baker said of the match, “We used it as an opportunity to give our younger players valuable first team experience. It was great to see at the end we had three 16-year-olds on the field.”

“We also had a few players we wanted to keep fresh but we want every player putting their hand up for a spot in Round One,” Baker concluded.

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