QSL: Strikers dominate ten man Stars

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Brisbane Strikers have overcome a stop-start playing schedule to record their fourth straight win in the Queensland State League, comfortably defeating a ten-man Gold Coast Stars 7-0 at Perry Park on Saturday night.
Prolific striker Matt Thurtell netted a double for the home side, while Alex Henderson, Chris di Sipio, Ryan Mottin, Chris Maher and Michael Angus also added their names to the score sheet.
Playing only their second game in the past month, Strikers made light work of their southern opposition, whose case wasn’t helped by a 39th minute red card to attacker Daniel Bina for a head butt on Brisbane defender John Costello.
Bina, who was backing up from the earlier youth fixture and had looked impressive for Gold Coast until his departure, retaliated after being dispossessed by a strong Costello challenge.
In what can only be described as a brain snap, the Stars player first lunged in dangerously from behind, earning a yellow card. After Costello got back to his feet, Bina then head butted the Brisbane defender, resulting in a straight red.
Bina is likely to face further disciplinary action, either from his club or the league, after aggressively confronting the referee following the dismissal. He was eventually restrained by players from both sides before leaving the field, then, during the second half, stormed out of the stadium, lashing out at the Strikers supporter’s mascot on the way.
The incident detracted from what was yet another commanding performance by a Brisbane side that was missing star winger Jonti Richter, who was ruled out during the week with an ankle injury.
While Gold Coast sought to take the game to the Strikers early, pressing strongly in midfield and employing a high defensive line, the Brisbane club still crafted a raft of chances in the opening ten minutes.
Matt Thurtell, who despite finishing with a brace had an indifferent night in front of goal, spurning several seemingly simple chances, had an 8th minute one-on-one with Gold Coast goalkeeper Luigi Cordova saved after beating the visitor’s offside trap.
It only postponed the inevitable though as Brisbane opened their account four minutes later; imposing young defender Alex Henderson advancing forward for a corner and heading home strongly at the near post.
Shortly after, Bina, who earlier had a speculative shot saved by Strikers’ goalkeeper Dave Chambers, was brought down inside the area but the referee dismissed the Stars player’s appeal for a penalty.
A brace of chances for both Gold Coast’s Jason Doherty and Brisbane’s Sean Burke failed to alter the scoreline before Bina’s dismissal irretrievably tilted the match heavily in Brisbane’s favour.
Striker’s midfielder Chris di Sipio took immediate advantage, heading the home side’s second on 41 minutes after Cordova’s spectacular save from yet another Burke shot wasn’t cleared by his defenders.
It then took only 8 minutes following the restart for Brisbane to add their third. Michael Angus tackling well to regain possession on half way, before unleashing Thurtell with a well-placed pass, the striker curling it beyond the keeper with the outside of his right foot.
Angus was in the action again minutes later when a thunderous shot from outside the area beat everyone but the far post. Another chance fell Angus’ way shortly after but the industrious midfielder blazed it well over.
The Striker’s final four goals came in a frantic six minute flurry beginning in the 73rd minute. Thurtell scored his second, and took the score to 4-0, when substitute Greg King’s left-sided cross provided the simplest of tap-ins at the far post.
On 76 minutes, Gold Coast once again failed to clear the ball from a corner. Striker’s defender Ryan Mottin regaining possession just inside the box before hitting it low and hard for the home side’s fifth.
One minute later, substitute and Strikers youth product Chris Maher beat his marker with a neat rollover before unleashing a swerving shot from 20 yards that left the keeper with no chance.
Then on 79 minutes Michael Angus finally received just reward for a commanding display in the centre of the pitch, casually dipping a 20 yard free kick over the Stars’ wall.
On a sour note for the victors, defender Mottin was injured late in the match by a seemingly innocuous tackle that saw him sit out the remainder of the game. The Brisbane coaching staff will be desperately hoping it isn’t serious as they face a tough away match in Mackay next weekend.
Meanwhile Gold Coast will stay in the state’s south-east corner to face Queensland Academy of Sport at Meakin Park.

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