Mitchelton first to strike in BLK Silver Boot

Rafe Griffin (@rafegriffin)

Mitchelton got their tournament aspirations off to the best of starts after a convincing 4-1 victory against fellow BPL club Logan Lightning on the opening night of Group A.

The Mustangs got off to a flyer in the third minute when ex-Taringa Rovers player Steven Chester was left to his own devices down the right wing. He was able to deliver a perfect cross in for Paul Swithenbank who drove the ball home on the volley past Chester’s former teammate, Douglas Blaikie.

Logan were almost able to make an immediate reply as former Capalaba forward Josh Sherwood opened up space down the left to get into the box but was unable to link up for his cross to be effective.

Midway through the stanza, Lightning’s Phil Randall took an audacious attempt on goal. Spotting Mitchie keeper Kevin Downes off his line, he launched a lob from around 35 metres out but Downes was able to backtrack and claim the ball up high within the six-yard box.

The Mustangs dictated terms for the final fifteen minutes of the first half with the majority of the ball in their attacking half. Ben Njie looked the most likely to add to Mitchelton’s lead but he was unable to get on target.

In the final two minutes, Logan was awarded a free kick just outside the box. Richard Greer sent his effort straight into the wall, the rebound falling his way but he could only sky his shot over the bat with his team taking the one-goal deficit to the break.

mit v ll

Pic: Mitchelton’s Jason Shade (left) and Steven Chester (right)

From the restart, Mitchelton came out all guns blazing in terms of attack. Within four minutes, the pressure told on the Logan backline as Swithenbank turned provider. From just inside the penalty box, he was crowded by a bank of defenders but picked out Lachlan Munn who was unmarked and fired away on the angle to put the Mustangs two ahead.

Near the hour mark Fernando Bedoya, hard up against the by-line and close to the corner flag, put in an inexplicable ball across the face of his defensive goal and into the danger area near the penalty spot. Swithenbank was on hand and after some deft footwork to create space, slotted past Blaikie for his brace.

Another poor clearance almost gave Mitchelton a fourth but UQFC recruit Jeremy Griffin could only blaze over the bar.

Twenty minutes from time, Josh Sherwood put his side on the board with a delightful long-range shot that curled inside the near post giving Mitchie custodian Kevin Downes little time to react.

Mitchie’s three-goal lead was restored shortly after when Njie showed excellent ball control near his chest then teeing up Josh McVey who calmly converted past Blaikie.

Mitchelton 4 (Paul Swithenbank 3’, 59’, Lachlan Munn 49’, Josh McVey 72’) v Logan Lightning 1 (Josh Sherwood 69’)

Mitchelton: Kevin Downes (GK), Jason Shade, Michael McGowan, Dan Wilson, Jake Mitchell, Josh McVey, Steven Chester, Sam Foster, Paul Swithenbank, Ben Njie, Bryce Cuschieri, Jack Lightbody, Jeremy Griffin, Nick Benardi, Lachlan Munn, Damon Wenck (GK)

Logan Lightning: Doug Blaikie (GK), Sam Peacock, Nick Efstathis, Fernando Bedoya, Daley Kemel, Pepi Kostovski, Jake Sherwood, Richard Greer, Matt Lyell, Phil Randall, Josh Sherwood, Anthony Rudken, Greg Gourley, Michael Adarkwah, Alex Warrilow, Nick Moore (GK).