Strikers v Power

Round 18 report by David Marshall
Brisbane Strikers v Parramatta Power

After a miserable, but typical, week of rain and very little in the Wail, which I really think has decided to forget football for the rest of the season, it was great to see the skies clear late in the afternoon and, even better, quite a decent crowd turn up at Rah Rah Central. By the time the teams came out the stand seemed fairly full and, if there had been 1300 at the last game, I should have thought over 3000 attended tonight.

For the first 20 minutes or so the vocal support was split into those on Tillo Hill and those opposite the penalty area in the stand. I was in neither, so joined a group who moved down, and I am so glad I did. IMHO it was the best atmosphere since the South Melbourne game last season with some innovative chants conceived as the night wore on. I liked the one invented for young Corey Baldock who had a great game in goal making several top saves and distributing well. "Corey Corey Hallelujah. You'll never let one in!". It was almost true until at the very death. We even got the old Banana Army going to a Bo Diddly beat on the drum ably struck by Keith.

For quite a while I though we may get done for pace and muscle, but our defence for the second game in a row was quite secure and well organized. The mid field held their own and we did show a bit more attacking flair. About halfway through the first Jon McKain had the ball just outside their box. By then we had missed with a couple of barely contested headers and I was thinking (and probably yelling) "Hit it!" and he did - curving up to the underside of the bar, down and in. What a relief to see our first Ballymore goal scored! "Ah, McKain, you've done it again" we sang. The team settled well after that and had the better of the remainder of the first half with Harris finding himself one on one with the keeper on the right and very skilfully chipping the keeper to make it 2-0 at half time.

Second half we were running to our end, and by then we were trying to find an acceptable alternative to suit a chap who had come down and asked us to "Tone down" the age old chant when the opposing keeper takes a goal kick with the rising crescendo of sound ending "It's a sh*t kick - arrgh!". Several alternatives were tried for the offensive faecal adjective including "Petty, "Harper, "Number two" and so on, but none was really a good fit as it were. A highlight for me was this little, probably eight year old, lad in front of me who called out proudly "I said sh*t!" after one of the failures. I have to say that I would be amazed if any member of any family present had never used or heard the word before. Anyway, I think we handled the thing with good humour and no rancour which in itself is a good thing.

A chant of "I can feel a four nil coming on." was soon followed by a cracker of a goal from the Mad Bull who is, I think, by far the crowd favourite at the STRIKERS just now. Maybe a "four nil" was coming on, but not so. Power scored a very soft goal very late which took the gloss off things a bit. Nevertheless, there was much to be pleased with, not the least the result and it was very cheering to see the concourse packed with fans leaving and the hope that, despite the virtual local media blackout, they may be back in increased numbers in a fortnight. It's always the sign of a good match to get home hoarse, I think.