Strikers v Knights

Round 22 report by Paul Harley
Brisbane Strikers v Melbourne Knights

Referee: Simon Micallef-who had a very competent game. I can't remember anyone baying for his blood all night, which is usually a good sign.

A very disappointing crowd, due to Strikers two consecutive hidings on their travels, I guess. The Queensland Super 12 RU clash at Ballymore wouldn't have helped either.

A frustrating night for Strikers fans. The first half was a non event, little constructive or flowing football from either side. Strikers did get one in the net, but the flag had long since gone up for offside. And Steve Laybutt got on the end of a corner but his powerfulheader was well saved by Joe Didulica tipping it over the bar. At the other end, Clint Bolton gave us all a case of the jitters, casually clutching a 30 yard thunderbolt free kick above his head only for the force of the shot to almost carry it through his fingers.

The second half was the most one sided 45 minutes of football I can remember watching. Strikers were all over them, shots and headers raining in an goal with monotonous regularity. Knights didn't get within spitting distance at the other end till midway through the half.

I didn't actually keep count, but at a rough guess, they must have had going on 20 worthwhile attempts. They whistled over, flew narrowly wide, cannoned back off bodies thrown in the way, or were saved by the keeper. McLaren, Meredith and Knipe (I think?) all hit woodwork. Give Didulica his due, he got a touch to two of them, so they go down as saves, including one from a Meredith piledriver which was as breathtaking as the shot, the merest touch deflecting it onto the bar.

The only consolation for Strikers and their supporters was that they didn't concede a last minute goal. However Ice Kutlesovski came mighty close around 10 minutes from time, another stunning long range effort which also rattled the crossbar with Bolton well beaten.

So two points dropped, and Strikers top six hopes now dangling by a very slender thread. A win against the Wolves next week is a very big necessity! Shit, it's hard being a Strikers supporter!