It was very much looking like a case of do or die for the Strikers as they embarked on the trip to Montello on Saturday. Results for both teams have been somewhat disappointing so far this season and both teams were desperate to regain some winning form.
The Strikers went into the game with an unchanged line-up from their last start loss to Prospect Knights with coach Tom McGinn aware that, despite the result in that game, it could’ve been very different had his team taken some of the many chances that came their way.
Burnie controlled the early stages of the game with their midfield working hard to maintain possession & pushing forward trying to break through the Strikers defence. After weathering the storm from this early pressure, the Strikers were dealt a harsh blow when Luke Burton was sent off at the 23 minute mark for swearing despite what was said not even being audible to players in the near vicinity & certainly no chance of being heard by any spectators at the ground.
The impact of Burtons’ dismissal was felt very soon after when Paul Bremner turned & volleyed in off the far post to give United a one nil lead. The Strikers remained very positive even after this double blow and managed to equalise when Bradley Chilcott was tripped in the box by Ashley Smith. Chris McKenna stepped up & sent the United keeper the wrong way to make it 1-1.
This score line remained the same until the half time break & the Strikers were pleased to have a spell after working extremely hard to close down the United players who were trying to switch the ball around to exploit their extra man advantage.
Tom McGinn was pleased with the efforts of his team up until the interval but stressed the importance of increasing their work rate even more to not only hold out the Burnie attacks but put pressure on at the other end of the park.
The second half was a very physical battle as both teams were desperate to gain the ascendancy and take the lead. Each team had chances to score, with Burnie definitely having the majority of these, only to be thwarted by desperate defending, brilliant goal keeping from Ryan Keep or poor finishing.
Burnie’s keeper was lucky to only receive a yellow card when McKenna knocked a through ball past him about 30 yards out from goal and was then tripped. Later in the game Kieran Mulraney headed over the keeper when he was again out of his box. After heading the ball Mulraney was cleaned up by the keeper but the referee saw no reason to call the foul & the ball was cleared off the line just before it bounced in.
McGinn made his only substitution for the game with around 20 minutes remaining when he took off Jordan Douce & replaced him with Caz Douglas who had earlier scored the winning goal in the reserves game. With ten minutes remaining in the match, McKenna turned his marker in the middle of the park & slipped a through ball to Kamil Douglas who had worked hard to create the overlapping run. As he advanced towards the United keeper, he squared the ball across to his twin brother who put the ball into the empty net from 10 yards to score his second match winning goal for the day.
The boys then held on for the remainder of the game to pick up a very well deserved 2-1 win.
In what was a superb performance from all the team, special mention should go to Jordan Douce whose work rate, especially in the second half, was exactly what was required to put Burnie under pressure & nullify their extra man advantage. Ryan Keep was also superb in goals and made several crucial second half saves to keep his team in the game.
This article was forwarded by Chris McKenna.