Brisbane Strikers v Sunshine Coast Fire
HQSYL Round One
The spoils were shared at Perry Park on Saturday night, as the Sunshine Coast Fire and Brisbane Strikers fought out a 0-0 stalemate in Round 1.
Although the new look Fire side rarely looked troubled in defence and won plenty of possession, the boys couldn’t break the deadlock and had to settle for a single point.
Of the seven new faces joining the squad this season, Andy Harrison, Beau Lyle, Andrew Gillen and Joshua Atkinson were starters for the opening fixture.
It was an unusually sedate opening to the game, as both sides worked their way into the contest at their own pace. With both sides struggling to break into their attacking third, the Strikers almost grabbed the opening goal on five minutes, when a speculative effort was well saved by Sam Nickolls.
As both sides began to click, it was the Fire with the better of the opening exchanges. Luke Lewis outpaced his marker on the right flank and sped down the touchline, before delivering an early cross that just eluded Andy Harrison. Soon after, Josh Taylor’s powerful drive from the edge of the area was well parried by the Strikers keeper.
The best chance of the game came on 15 minutes, when Kaine Frew gained possession and beat the last defender, before shooting over the bar on his left foot. With the play camped in the Strikers defensive half, a free-kick from Josh Atkinson went very close to finding the top corner.
With Brisbane rarely threatening in attack, Taylor forced a great save when his piercing volley following a corner looked certain to find the net on 30 minutes.
The established centre-half pair of Rhys Roberts and captain Rob McNicol was effectively containing the Strikers attack. Roberts timed a sliding challenge well to deny a scoring opportunity after 35 minutes. Soon after, Alex Winters broke through the defence for the Strikers, but missed the target from close range.
Half time came with the match delicately poised, and both sides struggling to transition effectively into attack. There was an increase in tempo as the second half got underway.
With the match beginning to open up, Nick Roth got on the end of a neat pass but put his shot over the bar. Although the Fire were looking to gel better as the match wore on, neither side was able to manufacture many clear cut chances. Frew did well to get on the end of a cross from substitute Brad Wallace, but was adjudged to have fouled the keeper.
Frew was again involved when Taylor hit him with an accurate through-pass, but the keeper was alive to the danger and cleared to safety.With full-time approaching, Beau Lyle found himself in space on the left flank and dribbled into the penalty area, but struck a powerful shot wide of the right post.
After 90 minutes, neither side was able to find the net and the players had to settle for the stalemate. It was a very different result to the corresponding fixture last year, which ended in a 6-4 victory to Brisbane.
Although a slightly disappointing result, there were some positive signs from the Under-19’s as they look to build on the success of last season. The next challenge for the boys will be getting past the Gold Coast 16s next week, when the sides meet up in Round 2 of the HQSYL.
Sunshine Coast Fire – 0
Brisbane Strikers – 0
2011 Fire Squad