Strikers To The Four Over GCU

Jun 24, 2018 by

A quick-fire start paid dividends on Saturday night as Brisbane Strikers notched a second straight win over Gold Coast United.

Strikers were rarely troubled as they delivered a strong 90-minute performance to down the Surfsiders 4-0 at Robina Station Reserve.

Trent Clulow netted a quick-fire second-half brace to ice the win after Michael Lee and Rhys Meredith laid the platform with two goals in the opening quarter hour.

Asserting themselves from the kick-off, Strikers took just two minutes to open accounts when Lee fired home from a tight angle on the edge of the six-yard box.

Meredith doubled the advantage on the quarter hour – capitalising after being played in behind United’s defence by Jake McLean after the midfielder forced a turnover high up the pitch.

The balance remained with the visitors for the remainder of the half – continuing to forge opportunities while frustrating United’s attack – however, Strikers had to wait until the second stanza before Clulow converted twice in three minutes just prior to the hour to seal the win.

Benefitting from a pair of goalkeeping errors from United’s Luka Zoric, Clulow’s first came after his shot from the edge of the area was parried across the line before then forcing a turnover from Zoric after a backpass to slot his second into an open goalmouth.

With the result beyond doubt, three red cards in the final minutes soured the contest.

Strikers fullback Brock Messenger and United attacker Jayden Prasad were both dismissed after getting tangled up and engaging in a brief wrestle.

United’s Curtis Stollery was also shown straight red after a dangerous challenge on Sam Knight in the final minutes, which saw the tough fullback require stitches for a deep shin gash.

Speaking post-match, Strikers coach Owen Baker said he was pleased with the performance after calling for his side to capitalise on early opportunities prior to the match.

“It was probably one of the most professional performances of the year from us,” Baker said.

“We knew it would be harder the longer the game went on but we started on the front foot by getting the early goals and that gave us good momentum.”

Baker also highlighted a strong all-round defensive performance that marked the team’s first NPL Queensland clean sheet since April’s win over Olympic FC.

“We caused lots of turnovers in dangerous areas. We wanted to play football high up the field as much as possible to diffuse their press and gain territory for us close to their goal, which we did very well.”

“Our goalkeeper Nathan Archbold had a quiet night and ended up with a clean sheet. We haven’t had one in a while, so that was good.”

Baker said he was particularly impressed by the performance of midfielder Lee, citing it as his most influential showing of the season to date.

“We’ve seen glimpses of Leesy this year but I think he had a really good performance in this game,” Baker said.

“He scored a good goal but he was dominant off the ball as well. He pinched a lot of ball, forced a lot of mistakes from the other team and then combined very well with Trent and Rhys.”

The match also marked the return of Michael Angus to the midfield following an injury lay-off.

The skipper said he was pleased to notch over an hour of game time and believes the team is back-on-track to surge further into the finals mix in coming weeks.

“The hamstring felt good and hopefully I can contribute my experience going forward from here,” Angus said.

“As a captain it can be frustrating being on the sidelines and not to give that positive talk and instruction on the field, so it is great to be back out there.

“But it’s not about myself, it’s about the team. We got a result at an important time of the season and we want to keep that going now.”

The win is Strikers second over United this year and sees the two-time defending NPL Queensland Premiers remain fifth on the competition table – five points outside the top four.

NPL Queensland
Saturday, June 23 @ Robina Station Reserve, Gold Coast

Gold Coast United – 0
Brisbane Strikers – 4 (Lee 3’, Meredith 15’, Clulow 58’ 60’)

Image supplied by Gold Coast United / Craig Clifford (Sports Pics Photography)

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