THE Goulburn Strikers under 19s girls played well below par on Sunday but still came away with three points following a 3- 2 victory over Weston-Molonglo.
Following the excellent display last week, the Strikers were brimming with confidence but they seemed to be affected by the warm, lazy weather in Canberra, with a number of spectators commenting on how slow the game seemed.
Despite the lack of urgency, the game was there for the Strikers taking and they would rue a series of missed opportunities in the opening 20 minutes.
With each chance the Strikers missed, Weston grew in confidence and in the 25th minute Goulburn’s lethargic approach proved costly when poor marking and a failure to clear the ball allowed Weston to grab the lead against the run of play, hammering home a loose ball from five metres.
The setback did spark a revival of sorts from the Strikers and when Amy Hayward ran onto a through pass in the 32nd minute and held her nerve to level the scores at 1- 1 it seemed that the locals were back in control. Unfortunately it was not to be and the game slipped back into a slow motion grind.
After the interval the Strikers returned to the field in a more determined frame of mind and reaped immediate dividends.
Kristy Boxsell won possession straight from Weston’s kick off, looked up to see Katie Brennan on the move and sent a sweetly timed pass which Katie took in her stride as she surged into the penalty area.
As Weston defenders converged she slipped the ball across the face of goal for Meg Calleja to tap home from three metres.
Barely three minutes later Katie repeated the move, this time finishing her thirty metre solo run with a low drive into the net.
In the 50th minute the Strikers should have put the result beyond doubt when Kristy Boxsell was brought down in the penalty area when she seemed certain to score but Meg Calleja’s penalty, although firmly hit, was straight at the keeper.
It was shortly after this that Strikers slipped back into cruise control, seemingly content, at 3-1, to close out Weston and wind the clock down.
It very nearly proved costly as Weston made the most of limited opportunities to pull a goal back in the 70th minute.
A quick break down Weston’s right wing found Strikers short of numbers and although Danni Allport saved the initial shot a Weston attacker followed up to slot home the rebound.
Sensing the opportunity of rescuing something from a game they had, up until that stage, had little impact on, Weston forced Strikers to endure an agonising and nervous final 10 minutes as they pressed for an unlikely draw, going perilously close in the 77th minute but denied by the upright.
Despite the pressure, the Strikers hung on to record their second victory in State League 2, and in doing so have set the stage for their much anticipated home debut at Strikers Park next Sunday.
In what should be a classic and exciting Mother’s Day double header, the Under 19 Girls take on UC Pumas at 12pm, followed by the also undefeated State League 1 ladies at 2pm against Belconnen.
All of Goulburn are welcome to come and enjoy the best of Striker’s hospitality and support the Goulburn girls teams at Strikers Park, Avoca St, and at the same time raise money for Breast Cancer awareness.