Matthew Mills shoots for the first goal attempt of the night from Bundaberg Spirit.
Matthew Mills shoots for the first goal attempt of the night from Bundaberg Spirit. Paul Donaldson

Spirits up despite KO by Strikers

MATT Thurtell came back to haunt hosts Bundaberg Toyota Spirit in their Queensland State League clash on Saturday, bagging all four goals as Brisbane Strikers won 4-1.

After hammering in nine goals in their three meetings last season, he broke through in just the fifth minute.

Then after the Spirit did well to contain the big guns for the rest of the first half, Thurtell struck again one minute after the restart.

Spirit coach Tony Roebuck said “lazy defence” was to blame for conceding a goal at Brisbane's first foray into the penalty box but he did not even see the second as he was still making his way back to the bench after the break.

“After that, we got our tails up a bit and were fairly physical too, and they didn't like it, but the turning point came when Corey Haack was sent off for what the referee said was a dangerous tackle, but it could only be described as a joke,” Roebuck said.

“With 11 men, we were a chance, but one down it was always going to be hard, and they stuck another in (74th minute), and we started to chase the game, and they scored again (83rd minute).”

Vanuatu import Commins Menapi scored a consolation goal for the Spirit in the 89th minute.

Roebuck said he was disappointed with the result but certainly not disappointed with the effort.

Stalwart Laurie Stephenson was their best, filling in at sweeper for the injured Lucas Read in a job which he is not accustomed to.

“Their coach (David Large) made some nice comments about us but we never got the result we deserved,” he said.

“Laurie was fantastic and Jack Brillante also did really well – he did a lot of running in the middle of the park – and Shane Youngberry was tireless – he worked hard up front in the first half.

“Commins was excellent as well – he sat behind the strikers in an attacking midfielder role – with three goals in two games, you can't ask for much more than that.”

The Spirit's Youth team scored a famous 1-0 victory over the Strikers, courtesy of a first-half goal to Tom Evans.



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