Uninspiring Strikers net win

GAME-BREAKER: Zoe Caldwell changed the momentum of the match. A SOLITARY goal from the ever-alert striker Katie Brennan was enough for Goulburn to claim all three points against Tuggeranong in a pedestrian affair in Canberra on Sunday.
Nanjing Night Net

The game had been moved midweek from Goulburn to Kaleen and the Strikers seemed to be affected by the icy weather, struggling for cohesion for three quarters of the game. When they did come to life for the final 20 minutes, the Goulburn side could have tripled the scoreline but it would have been an undeserved and flattering result.

Tuggeranong had the first chance of the game inside the opening two minutes, a fierce drive from 10 metres being superbly parried by Danni Allport. It was to be Tuggeranong’s only serious chance of the half; their frontline being safely contained by the Strikers’ back four.

Although comfortable at the back, the Strikers showed a lack of initiative in attack, continually punching balls down the central corridor rather than utilising their speed on the flanks.

On the few occasions the ball went wide, Amy Hayward and Brennan revelled in the open space; their inviting crosses causing panic in the Tuggeranong defence. Goulburn should have taken the lead on the stroke of half time when Kristy Boxsell and Meg Calleja combined to set Brennan free with only the keeper to beat, but she scuffed her shot straight to the keeper.

There were signs of improvement by Strikers when the second half opened, but still lacking determination, the game appeared headed for a scoreless draw. Then, around the 55th minute mark the game changed dramatically.

As if realising the game was slipping away, Zoe Caldwell turned on a remarkable display that inspired the whole team to lift. Zoe’s impact on the match started with a powerful drive from the right that the Tuggeranong keeper did well to hold. Minutes later, Zoe picked up a ball on the left, beat two players and sent a precise cross to the far post for the lurking Brennan to knock into the net.

The final 20 minutes was one way traffic as the Caldwellinspired Goulburn shifted up a gear or two and but for a fine display of goalkeeping by the Tuggeranong custodian, would have given the scoreline a much more convincing appearance.

With the points safely wrapped up, the Strikers girls now have to put the poor performance behind them as they prepare for a major challenge this Sunday when they take on the undefeated Queanbeyan at Cookbundoon.

The team is well aware that anything less than a 100 per cent improvement could see them on the wrong end of an embarrassing scoreline against the super confident league leaders, who romped to a 7-1 victory against second placed Gungahlin on Sunday.

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