The Strikers Vault

Rd 17 2019 v South Hobart FC

This week in the Strikers Vault we take a look back into our more recent history for our clash with South Hobart FC. With the launch of our annual Pink Day to support The Glenn McGrath Foundation and plenty of rain, the day saw a sea of pink slowly turn to mud.

A moment that proved pivotal in the Strikers 2019 league campaign, the home team entered this top of the table clash with an 8 point lead over second-placed South Hobart, with third-placed Olympia warriors hot on their heels, only trailing by goal difference.

In the game’s early stages both teams seemed to be progressing the ball forward through their right wings as Eddie Bidwell became the Strikers main source of attack and ex Devonport player Adam Gorrie also had similar levels of the ball for South Hobart. Neither team were able to create any clear cut chances though, with the best opportunities for both teams coming from corner kicks.

In the 18th minute, South Hobart would create the first real opportunity of the game as Gorrie struck the ball from the corner of the 18-yard box, but as he so often is, Strikers Goalkeeper Nathan Pitchford was up for the challenge, palming the ball away.

The Strikers would soon meet the challenge with their own opportunity in the 21st minute, Miles Barnard managed to force a save from South Hobart Goalkeeper Graham Wright who was only able to palm the ball into the path of Eddie Bidwell. Bidwell placed the ball in the back of the net only for the linesman to rule Bidwell to have been in an offside position, a very dubious call but never the less, the score would remain 0-0.

The Strikers confidence continued to grow as the game wore on and in the 25th minute they would get the reward for their effort. Off another corner, Mulraney rose highest at the back post, heading the ball to the centre of the goal where Jack Dance would be best placed in amongst a goalmouth scramble to poke the goal home. Elation followed for the Strikers as they took the lead with Dance performing a somewhat unorthodox celebration, but the Strikers led 1-0.

South Hobart were not going to let the Strikers have everything their own way though. Almost immediately after the Strikers goal, South earned a free kick in a wide position after an unneeded foul by Raphael Reynolds. South Hobart Nick Morton would take the freekick and while his original delivery lacked, he was able to collect the rebounds and deliver again to Ben Hamlett, who would turn in the Strikers box and place the ball well in the far corner leaving Goalkeeper Pitchford stranded to his spot. South Hobart had scored and the scored was once again equal at 1-1.

For the remainder of the half, both teams would ultimately consolidate what they had and not produce many more chances, the only of note coming in the dying minutes of the half as the Strikers Todd Hingston sent yet another corner crashing into the crossbar with his headed attempt. As referee Tony Peart’s whistle blew to end the half the score remained 1-1.

As the conditions grew worse in the opening exchanges of the second half, chances came at a premium, but that all changed with half an hour to go. It was like the Strikers had flipped a switch and one man in particular, had flipped it, Miles Barnard. In the 59th minute, Max Fitgerald floated a cross in the box which seemed more hopeful than anything. It is hard to tell whether the South Hobart defence had miscommunicated or were just plain scared of Barnard, but either way, he found himself with several yards space and a ball in the air, an opportunity that he relishes. Barnard placed the ball over the South Hobart keeper and into the far corner of the next, Strikers 2-1.

Barnard would only have to wait mere minutes for his next opportunity, along free kick from Joel Stone was sent into the box, numerous heads competed for the ball and South keeper Wright came to punch it, but it was the Fox in the Box who made contact with the ball, looping it into the back of the net. The Strikers would take a 2 goal lead, but business wasn’t finished yet.

As the game wore on it appeared as though the South Hobart players were defeated and now waiting for the final whistle, but Barnard and the rest of the Strikers were having none of this. In the 73rd minute, the Strikers earn another free kick in a deeper position and Stone would once again deliver into the box. The ball was headed across the goal and look to be headed wide until Dance threw himself in front of it, headed to keep the ball alive. Dance’s header could only fall to one man, Barnard. The Fox in the box would not miss his opportunity for a hat trick as he poked the ball home from just a couple of yards out. Barnard had a hat trick, the Strikers led by 3 goals and looked as though they would now comfortably see out the game.

In the remaining minutes of the game, the South Hobart players would give their best to ensure they could leave the pitch with their head held high, but they were not able to create any quality opportunities, the Strikers seemed happy at this point to see out the game with the lead they had and that is exactly what they did.

Referee Tony Peart blew the final whistle to end the game and the Strikers had won, putting themselves in the best position at the top of the league, albeit with lots of football still to be played. But that wouldn’t matter at this moment, as the Strikers celebrated their win on the inaugural Pink Day.

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