The Devonport Strikers needed a late Max Fitzgerald strike to overcome a gallant Kingborough in their Lakoseljac Cup round of 16 clash at Lightwood Park on Friday.
The Strikers opened the scoring through half-time substitute Eddie Bidwell in the 46th minute, before the Lions responded through Keenan Douce in the 57th minute, requiring the defending champions to find the late winner to advance.
Strikers coach Rick Coghlan said he was impressed by the way his team was able to battle throughout the game to advance against the Lions that had improved from the previous meeting.
“I thought it was a cracking game of football, I had great conversation with the Kingborough coach and I thought they were outstanding for the 90 minutes,” Coghlan said.
“They were a different team and a different outfit from what we faced last week, not just through effort and sheer want, they took the game to us and they were fabulous.
“We managed to weather the storm and we were able to play our game and managed to get through the next round.”
The Strikers started the game with regular starters Bidwell, Daniel Syson and captain Kieran Mulraney, plus utility Miles Barnard on the bench, with Coghlan needing to call on Barnard and Bidwell at half-time after the slow start in the first half.
Coghlan said the Lions different approach to the game required the early substitutions and it helped turn the game around.
“Through the problems that Kingborough caused us forced us to make the changes at half-time and with Miles coming on and Eddie going out right gave us more flexibility going forward.