Rafe Griffin (@rafegriffin)
SWQ Thunder’s off-season recruitment campaign has produced dividends in their opening BLK Silver Group D match with three signings scoring in a 4-2 win over Ipswich Knights at the BLK Silver Boot.
Thunder got off to a nervous start with Rowan Soloman providing a poor back pass in the second minute that was played straight to Mitch Davis who was able to get the better of ex-Moreton Bay keeper Luke Borean in a one-on-one battle.
That early set-back didn’t dent the Thunder’s confidence though with Majok Piok forcing Knights custodian Matt Baker to tip his free kick over the bar.
Thunder put their opponents under sustained attacking pressure for the next five-minute period with a series of corners that the Knights were forced to defend.
Knights then wrestled the momentum with Lucas Wilson curling a free kick over the wall that got above Borean but hit the top of the crossbar and then fell over it.
James Macarthur also had his long-distance effort collected by Borean in the same period.
After a period where Thunder struggled getting into their attacking third due to a stout Knights defence, Jafari attempted to turn provider for 8 who brought Baker into the action once more.
Both sides then traded attacking opportunities, Lucas Wilson’s chance was desperately shut down by Keegan Sheridan as the Knights striker was in the final moments of getting his shot off while at the other end, a Knights clearance almost went wrong. Then men in green and black not far from turning the ball into their own net.
Thunder equalised with ten minutes remaining in the half as Jafari was released by a through ball and with determination, won the ball in front of an advancing Baker and then tucked it away.
Just prior to the break, Knights were deemed to have handled in the area. In an unusual sight, Borean stepped up to take the spot kick and duly converted past his opposite.
Andy Butler, who has made the move up the Ipswich Motorway from Lions, provided Davis with the opening opportunity of the second half that saw Borean get down low to make a save with his knee.
Thunder established a two-goal lead midway through the second half as Jafari went on a blistering run, squaring for Piok who tapped in.
Piok collected his double as he latched onto a through ball and beat the offside trap for a clinical finish.
Knights are never one to give up trying despite the circumstances. Andy Butler reduced the deficit back to two with a customary finish.
There were nervous moments for Thunder as they went a man down with less than ten minutes to play with Soloman sent off for a second yellow.
Ipswich Knights 2 (Mitch Davis 2’, Andy Butler 77’) v SWQ Thunder 4 (Mustafa Jafari 35’, Luke Borean 44’ (pen), Majok Piok 67’, 74’)
Ipswich Knights: Matt Baker (GK), Matt Flick, Devon Munn, Chris Butler, Yusuke Ikeda, Dale Robinson, James MacArthur, Andy Butler, Lucas Wilson, Emmanuel Peter, Mitch Davis, Peter Drager, Aiden Tether, Nahom Waldo, Travis Reimers, Nick Parfitt
SWQ Thunder: Luke Borean (GK), Rowan Soloman, Majok Piok, Thomas Fanning, Matt Hull, Mitch Tansky, Kevin Doyle, Ben Barrowclift, Mustafa Jafari, Keegan Sheridan, Jacob Bigby, Lachlan Atkinson, Jackson Franke, Anthony Grant, Jayden Formosa.