Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Cougars' Grit Fails to Stave off Strikers; Home Side's World Collapses When Opposition Senses Smell of Victory

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Cougars' Grit Fails to Stave off Strikers; Home Side's World Collapses When Opposition Senses Smell of Victory

Article excerpt

Byline: Alan Kennedy alan.kennedy@capnews.com.au

FOOTBALL: For almost an hour the Minniecon & Burke Capricorn Cougars were in the game with title favourites Brisbane Strikers, but then their footballing world collapsed.

The match at Jardine Park on Saturday night was expected to be a severe test for the local team, but once a quality side like the Strikers get a sniff of victory they look a different proposition.

The Strikers won 4-1, a score that may have left home supporters thinking of what might have been as the Cougars had battled hard to stay with a quality team for most of the match only for the pressure to increase the number of mistakes and offer the Strikers their chance to shine.

On what appears to be a vastly improved Jardine Park surface, the Cougars opened confidently, forcing the visitors to play a hurried brand of football to which they were unaccustomed.

The Strikers did create a few half-chances with Gareth Musson dragging a shot wide and directing a header straight to keeper Gerard Kelly.

At the other end of the park, Jesse Thompson and Liam Williams were lively, with Williams almost getting onto an Alex Trovato pass to open up the Strikers.

After 10 minutes, Williams was successful, turning his marker and then rounding keeper Ryan Pearce only to be brought down in the area.

Michael Cay's weakly-struck penalty kick allowed Pearce to save, but the rebound fell for Cougars skipper Roy Bob, who tucked it away to make it 1-0.

Musson continued to threaten but usually from a distance as Strikers, while increasing pressure, were stereotyped in delivery of the ball into danger areas and this allowed the Cougars' scrambling defence to clear.

Bob collected an injury when the full force of a challenge focused on the top of his foot, taking a while for the veteran to shake off the injury, something coach Justin Kilshaw admits will limit Bob's preparation for this week's QAS match.

Minutes before the interval, the Strikers did correct their radar sufficiently to gain an equaliser as Luke Morley cleverly rounded Kelly to slot the ball into an empty net.

While Musson may have been guilty of missed chances in the first spell, the second half belonged to him. …

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