QSL: Brisbane Strikers surge to league summit

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A devastating six minute spell has seen Brisbane Strikers reassert their early-season good form with a commanding 4-0 win over the Queensland Academy of Sport at Perry Park on Sunday evening.

Chris DiSipio’s hat-trick was the highlight of the Round Four fixture as the four-time Grand Finalists recovered from last week’s resounding 4-0 loss to Sunshine Coast to record their third win of the campaign.

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Lining up against a QAS side spirited by a tight 2-1 loss at home to Whitsunday Miners in their last outing, it was the Strikers who expectedly began the match brighter as they applied early pressure to a QAS defence looking to play out from the back. It came as little surprise that the first real chance of the match fell the way of the home side as Brisbane Roar youth-teamer Matt Thurtell combined neatly with Ryan Cokell and DiSipio, only for the latter to fire over the crossbar from a promising position.

The QAS’ reprieve was to last mere minutes, however, as DiSipio atoned for his earlier miss by latching onto Cokell’s reverse through-pass and poking a finish into the far corner for a 23rd minute opener.

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The goal will have been particularly frustrating for the young away side as they had just completed their best period of the match, although they weren’t disheartened by the blow.

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Indeed, the QAS midfield were beginning to prove their talent prior to half-time with midfield trio Josh Anderson, Jack Bladen and Ben Liftin providing consistent service to wingers Kwame Yeboah and Josh Riis, who were both unable to find teammates with a series of cut-backs from the byline.

Despite the QAS having worked into the match, the final chance of the half again fell to a Brisbane attacker as ‘keeper Matthew Stein failed to secure a disputed ball, but Strikers winger Sean Burke could only shoot against the outside of the post from a tight angle with an open net beckoning.

While QAS coach Josh McCloughan will have been buoyed by his side’s opening stanza, their hopes of grabbing any points from the match were destroyed within six hectic minutes of the restart as the Strikers piled on three goals.

First, Burke stabbed an intelligent pass over a static opposition defence which allowed Thurtell to lift his shot over the onrushing Stein, before the visiting ‘keeper had a moment to forget as his heavy touch from a teammate’s back-pass invited the pressure of Thurtell, leading to a rushed clearance which fell for DiSipio to slide in the Strikers second in three minutes and third of the evening. The match was then put well beyond doubt in the 53rd minute when a break in play did little to help the QAS defence regain composure as central-defender Tremayne Sadler’s pass from the back was intercepted by Burke who floated a right-flank cross for the unmarked DiSipio to emphatically volley his hat-trick.

The visitors should have had one of their own only four minutes later when Strikers substitute Ryan Mottin was caught in possession but, when bearing down on goal, Liftin’s touch deserted him, enabling Brisbane ‘keeper David Chambers to intervene.

That chance sparked another good spell for the QAS as substitute Lachlan Jackson joined Yeboah in causing havoc for both Strikers fullbacks, including an electrifying dribble and left-foot drive from Yeboah which tested Chambers before another wasted one-on-one opportunity via Liftin.

That entertainment proved to be the last of the match as the final fifteen minutes passed by without incident, ensuring the Strikers ran out emphatic 4-0 victors and took their goal tally to 19 for the season.

Brisbane will now head into the Easter break full of confidence having proven last week’s loss to be an anomaly in early-season proceedings while the QAS will regroup with hope before heading to another of the league’s powerhouses, Sunshine Coast Fire.

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