The Strikers are on the edge of being a force to be reckoned with, however they’re counting the cost of close game against Tolland.
On Sunday, the Wagga team played the Strikers at O’Connor Park and came away with a 1-nil win
Cootamundra didn’t make it easy – forcing them onto the back foot through the first half and a defensive effort which held firm until the final 15 minutes.
Co-coach Adam McPhail said the plan was to pile the pressure on Tolland.
“We came out flat out. They’re a team who like to pass the ball around, we got in their face,” he said.
For 45 minutes, the Tolland team were left frustrated as their attacks were easily beaten back and then the Strikers turned them around to pressure the visitors.
While the Strikers were a clear danger, they weren’t able to find the back of the net with shots at goal bouncing off the crossbar or being saved.
At half-time neither team had scored.
McPhail said players talked about ensuring it was a game of “two-halves” after their energetic first half performance.
“The difference is they got two or three chances and converted one of them to win the game,” he said.
“We had two good chances, but didn’t convert.
“If we went into half-time one-nil up, it’s a different game.”
McPhail highlighted the efforts of Cal Breslin who was named the team’s man of the match.
“He’s a starting reserve grade player every week, we asked him to do us a favour by securing the defence in centre-mid,” he said.
McPhail said while Breslin may not have stood out, he helped make sure Tolland had few chances to score.
Meanwhile, Nick Ashe had his first game in six months.
“He did well to play the full 90 minutes and keep up with the pace,” McPhail said.
The Strikers’ depth will be tested when they play Tumut this weekend at O’Connor Park.
Josh Purtell was given a red card following a scuffle between the teams – with Tolland player also shown a red card.
Steve Armstrong will also miss the team’s next game after receiving his third yellow card in three matches.