Strikers put five past Redlands
Brisbane Strikers got their slim chances of finals football back on course at the expense of Redlands United on Saturday night with a 5-1 win.
It was a much needed win for Strikers as they now sit 10 points adrift from Olympic FC who cemented their fourth place after beating Brisbane Roar Youth on Sunday afternoon.
Strikers were without captain Michael Angus, who had been suspended but it didn't seem to trouble the side as midfielder Jake McLean pass to Greg Cheshire opened the scoring in the sixth minute with a shot close to goal to beat Redlands goalkeeper Andrew Ralph.
Redlands had the opportunity to equalise minutes later as Connor McAuley put in a cross for Redlands top goalscorer Shuto Kuboyama to latch onto but his header hit the crossbar.
However, it was Strikers who doubled their lead after Ryan Palmer latched onto a ball in the box in the 25th minute before anxious moments saw Strikers fullback Hiroki Omori called into action to clear the ball off the goal line as Redlands hit the ball in a crowded goalmouth scramble.
With about 10 minutes left to go in the half, Strikers pressed for another goal and they found it after a cross saw Cheshire bag his double.
Half-time was not a friend for Strikers as Redlands came out on the front foot and their efforts pressuring the Strikers defence saw Uche Iheruome brought down in the box. He converted the penalty, sending it straight down the middle after he made Strikers goalkeeper Tomislav Mesaric guess incorrectly.
While Redlands had their chances, they were unable to convert any more shots on goal but down their defensive end, they were made to pay for missed opportunities as Omori found the ball at his feet after a missed corner clearance.
Striker battened down their defence with the Redlands forwards unable to break through and effectively making them play in their own half for long periods of time and Strikers all but sealed a crucial three points after Trent Clulow shot from 30 yards found the bottom left corner.
The result has left Redlands only two points from relegation after a surprising upset in the North Queensland derby as Cairns FC were down 3-1 by North Queensland United. While Magpies Crusaders pulled off a 3-1 win against Gold Coast United to put them ahead of Redlands with a game in hand.
Redlands have a trip to Townsville at the start of August before they face Magpies Crusaders at home the following week.
Redlands United are back at home on Friday night as they take on Olympic FC.