Strikers survive nervous sweat

Rafe Griffin (@rafegriffin)

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Rhys Meredith shoots on goal for the Strikers

Brisbane Strikers had plenty of opportunities to kill the game off before they finally did but were able to come away 4-0 winners thanks to goals from Greig Henslee, Rhys Meredith, Alistair Davis and Trent Clulow.

The home side threatened the Thunder’s goal inside the first two minutes. Meredith producing a cross from the right that picked out Shaun Carlos who could only get a weak header straight to keeper Luke Borean.

A Thunder free kick posed some threat with Mustafa Jafari narrowly putting it across the face of goal.

Strikers should have had a penalty when a Thunder defender deep in the box clipped Jesse Wiemers but referee Rebecca Durcau waved away the claims.

Two minutes later, they could have made up for that missed opportunity but were caught out by the assistant’s flag for offside.

Tom Fanning attempted to catch the Strikers out on the break going long-distance linking with Jafari who narrowly put across the face of goal.

Wiemers at the edge of the six-yard box met a cross from Shelford Dais and agonisingly the header grazed the foot of the post.

The opening goal did eventually come for the Strikers when Henslee was on hand to take advantage of a poor Borean parry putting a volley away from close distance.

Again an early chance was created in the second half with Meredith making a run on goal forcing Borean into a diving save to his right.

Jake Marshall came close to doubling the advantage latching onto a corner from Wiemers, his header only saved by the intervention of the intersection of the crossbar and upright.

Meredith attempted to play provider in the space of a couple of minutes. Firstly with a pass on for Shelford Dais inside the box who could only find side netting and then going on a long run from the halfway line playing on for Trent Clulow who dragged his shot low.

The Strikers marksman should have scored himself as he beat a host of defenders with a brilliant solo run but as was the story of the night for the Strikers, was unable to finish the opportunity provided.

Thunder’s defence continued to become more and more brittle as the Strikers created plenty of opportunities to finally kick off the game. Substitute Fraser Hills scuffed a shot while Borean again proved to be the last line of defence pulling off a wonderful save to deny Meredith’s free-kick from outside the box.

The Thunder’s luck finally ran out when Meredith produced a jinking run that ended up in the box and he provided a cross-body finish midway into the far post.

It appeared as though Jackson Haussler was fouled in the lead-up to the goal, earning himself a yellow card for dissent as play restarted. He was unable to contain his frustration as he continued to protest his innocence with the referee’s patience wearing off and collecting his second yellow card a minute later, further adding to the Thunder’s woes.

With ten minutes remaining, Clulow could have finished it once and for all but he too scraped a low shot wide.

But a former Wolves teammate, Alistair Davis who has a reputation of scoring goal in key moments did make the buffer comfortable, his first goal for his new club.

Again the woodwork intervened for Hills in the dying minutes but not enough to stop the Strikers from climbing above the Thunder in the table.

Clulow provided the cherry on the top with a goal from the last kick off the match.

Brisbane Strikers 4 (Greig Henslee 33’, Rhys Meredith 71’, Alistair Davis 83’, Trent Clulow 90+2’) v SWQ Thunder 0

Brisbane Strikers: Seb Usai, Chris Maher, Jake Marshall, Grieg Henslee, Shelford Dais, Michael Angus, Rhys Meredith (Alistair Davis 79’), Shaun Carlos (Fraser Hills 59’), Sam Knight, Jesse Wiemers (Jake McLean 59’), Trent Clulow. Subs not used: Ryan Palmer, Michael Weier.

SWQ Thunder: Luke Borean, Rowan Salomon, Keagan Sheridan, Ben Barrowclift, Xavier Pratt, Jackson Haussler, Tom Fanning, Lachlan Atkinson, Mustafa Jafari (Nykodah Smith 59’), Kevin Doyle (Majok Piok 46’), Jacob Bigby (Adam Daly 83’). Subs not used: Kyle Parish, Jayden Formosa.

Yellow cards: Maher 7’, Borean 25’, Salomon 31’, McLean 64’, Haussler 71’

Red cards: Haussler 72’

Referee: Rebecca Durcau

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