Cougars brave against Strikers
IT WAS a gutsy effort by the Cougars as the team’s match preparation could not have been worse.
With coach Washington Gonzales resigning and captain Trevor Wood unavailable to play against the Brisbane Strikers the odds for the Cougars causing an upset were against them.
For almost an hour, however, the Cougars stuck to their task and despite being outplayed were still in the contest before the Strikers pulled away to win 5-1.
Strikers’ fast one-touch football could have given the Cougars massive problems and for a while it did look as if the home side were in trouble especially when Sean Burke opened the scoring after just 12 minutes after a decisive move down the left cut the Cougars defence wide open.
But all credit to the Cougars with Jarrod Lancaster and Sam Fisk, in particular, digging in and making it difficult to add to the tally.
With Gonzales gone and Wood too ill to sit on the bench it was CEO Bevan Dingley who called the shots.
Into the Cougars side came Michael Cay and Chris Swain, who had left to play for Berserker earlier in the season, while veteran Michael Steere also returned to the team.
Although they are all past Cougars players it was a big ask for there to be continuity in the team as they had not played together for weeks.
Up front Tyler Stross, playing his final game of the season for the team, threatened while Steere’s physical presence made the Strikers defence work for every ball.
Steere had the best chance of the half for the Cougars when he ran onto a curling through ball from fullback Matt Sauer, but his touch let him down and the chance was gone.
On the stroke of half-time danger man Matt Thurtell made it 2-0 with a flicked header.
Stross pulled one back for the Cougars on the hour, but goals from Chris DiSipio and two more from Burke to complete his hat trick killed off the game.
“Probably until we made a mistake (on the hour) I thought we were back in the game,” Dingley said. “I’m pretty happy with the performance – the boys showed a lot of character.
“Everyone tried really hard, Jarrod (Lancaster) came off and said he could not go one step more.”
At 3-1 down Dingley gave his bench players a run.
“You have to try things when you’re down and we have to keep faith in the kids,” he said.
Assistant coach of the Strikers is former Berserker coach Bob McLaren and he stressed how important it is for CQ football that the Cougars continue.
“There are some good players in Rocky and this situation has to be addressed quickly,” he said.
The coach was critical of the bumpy Jardine Park playing surface which made any pass back to the keeper a lottery.
However, he was pleased the Strikers stuck to the plan of playing at a high tempo to force an early lead.
McLaren said Strikers’ centre-back pairing of Nick Robinson and Jason Shade was very solid.