Strikers Grind Out Win Over Warriors
The Devonport Strikers moved a step closer to a second league title in three seasons as they ground out a 2-0 victory over Olympia. A rock solid defensive performance was the foundation for the win, as goals from Brayden Mann and a late one from Dom Smith secured the three points.
The victory keeps the Strikers five points clear on top of the table with five games remaining. With such a buffer, draws against the fellow title contendors in the coming weeks would be enough to help secure the title
Led by Dom Smith, Eddie Bidwell, Kieran Mulraney and Guillermo Lazcano, Devonport’s defence absorbed plenty of pressure from the Warriors, especially in the second half .
After having the better of the first 30 minutes, with two good chances falling the way of Gordy Gurson, only to be denied both times by Pitchford, the Strikers worked their way on top late in the half.
The Strikers took the lead just before half time, when Michael Holden picked the pocket of a too casual, Warren Wadawu in his own penalty area, crossed to Brayden Mann who tapped home from close range, to chalk up his 29th goal of the season.
Devonport continued to control possesion after the break but seemed unable to find a second goal as the Warriors defence kept them at bay, led by the outstanding Lucas Hill.
The half was the reverse of the first to an extend, with Olympia looking the better side as the half wore on and having plenty of the ball around the Strikers penalty area. They couldn’t translate that possesion into chances though, as the Strikers defence left them frustrated.
It seemed destined to end 1-0, before in stoppage time, Dom Smith chimed in with his first goal of the season as he stabbed one home from a Krusa corner, getting to it just ahead of the lurking Mann.
Both coaches were pleased with their sides performances post game, finding plenty of positives from what a real grind of a game.
The 3 points were huge for the Strikers to bank as they enter a huge week starting next Saturday at Valley Road against the Hobart Zebas, before facing Northcote in the FFA Cup and South Hobart at Darcy Street, all in the space of 7 days.