Rafe Griffin (@rafegriffin)
Four second-half goals gave the Brisbane Strikers the lead in the BLK Silver Boot Group A after trouncing fellow NPL side Olympic 6-0.
The opening stages were a cagey affair as both sides went through a feeling-out process though both keepers in Michael Weier for the Strikers and Brandon Cuminao for Olympic were tested inside the first ten minutes. Tim Smits, who it was anticipated would retire in the off-season provided Olympic’s opportunity while the Strikers’ Shelford Dais was denied by a sharp save.
The ascendency then tended towards the Strikers. Shaun Carlos, in familiar surrounds at Lions Stadium but in an unfamiliar shirt had two chances inside ten minutes to put his side ahead.
Rhys Meredith, playing against his former club, then began to insert himself into the action. Like Carlos though, he was unable to make it count with the opportunities during the midway stages of the first half.
On thirty-seven minutes, Shelford Dais, Meredith and Michael Angus all combined in the lead-up play from which Jesse Wiemers scored from around twenty metres on an angle from the left side.
The Strikers should have doubled their lead a minute later when Meredith delivered a low cross for Carlos but with an open net, somehow managed to send his wide left of the post.
A two-goal advantage would eventuate though, four minutes from halftime when Meredith used his pace to get in behind the Olympic defence and score low into far post.
Carlos had one final opportunity right on the halftime whistle to get on the scoreboard after Dais danced along the by-line to deliver his cross but the resulting shot was cleared off the line by a defender.
Upon the resumption, both sides exchanged chances on each other’s goals. Alistair Davis, last year’s Brisbane Premier League Golden Boot, came closest to scoring with a diving effort from close range.
Meredith was then able to get the better of the Olympic defence again. Creating a one-on-one opportunity with an advancing Brandon Cuminao, he neatly tucked the ball away for his second of the evening.
Pic: Brisbane Strikers Tomas Ross
With fifteen minutes to play, Fraser Hills delivered a cross for Davis who took it first time at the edge of the six yard box and clinically slotted it past Cuminao for his side’s fourth.
Davis looked for a double a minute as Cuminao was once again forced off his line to cover for a disorganised Olympic backline. He attempted a chip over the keeper but tweaked his shot over the bar.
Further adding to Olympic’s misery, they were reduced to ten men when number Robert Irving was dismissed for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity at the edge of the Strikers penalty area.
The Strikers fifth came from a Jesse Wiemers corner that Jake Marshall opportunistically backheeled into the net.
Greig Henslee joined the party heading home from inside the six-yard box for an even half dozen for last year’s NPL Grand Finalists.
The Strikers lead Group A from Mitchelton after match day one.
Brisbane Strikers 6 (Jesse Wiemers 37’, Rhys Meredith 41’, 73’, Alistair Davis 75’, Jake Marshall 83’, Greig Henslee 85’) v Olympic 0
Brisbane Strikers: Michael Weier (GK), Chris Maher, Greig Henslee, Matthew Green, Sam Knight, Michael Angus, Shaun Carlos, Jake McLean, Rhys Meredith, Shelford Dias, Jesse Wiemers, Tomas Ross, Alistair Davis, Fraser Hills, Jake Marshall, Seb Usai (GK).
Olympic: Brandon Cuminao (GK), Mark Fisk, James Cuminao, Scott Bow, Matt Mundy, Logan Grillo, Tim Smits, Danny Byrne, Sam Cronin, Josh Jokic, Youeil Shol, Matt Heath, Robert Irving, Ryan Roderick, Kosi Yanakopoulos, Dakota Sprange (GK).