The Ballarat Eureka Strikers kept their title hopes alive with a come from behind 2-1 victory against Brighton Soccer Club in Zagame’s State League 1.
Despite dominating the early stages of play, the Eureka Strikers were put on the back foot in the 13th minute when they failed to effectively clear a corner and Brighton were able to slot home.
The early lead allowed Brighton to put players behind the ball and stifle the Eureka Strikers for space. This made Brighton very difficult to break down; and left the Eureka Strikers susceptible to a counter-attack as they increased the numbers going forward.
A break through finally occurred in the 43rd minute when a quick throw from Erin Plucke gave Tessa Curtain time and space to deliver a cross into the box which Lulu Al-Huneidi headed home.
The Eureka Strikers then doubled their tally in the 62nd minute; when an initial corner from Al-Huneidi was cleared, only for her to be able to put in a second cross which was headed home by Claire Demuth.
The Eureka Strikers could have had more, with the woodwork being hit on a number of occasions; but the goal also sparked Brighton back to life who looked to get back on even terms by increasing their numbers going forward. The Eureka Strikers defence was resolute and restricted the Brighton forwards to shots from distance.
Once more, Holly Williamson led the defence with assuredness, and was ably assisted by Millie Martin and Erin Plucke. Their composure set the platform for the Eureka Strikers’ victory. Hannah Kozaris was excellent in the centre of midfield; applying consistent pressure on the Brighton midfield and winning many one on one battles.
Next week the Eureka Strikers play Preston Lions; last time the two sides met the Eureka Strikers required an injury time goal to secure a point. The Eureka Strikers know they will be in for a tough physical battle but will be planning to use the home ground advantage on a bigger pitch to break Preston down for pace. An injury cloud still hovers over left midfielder Jordan Ivey; who only managed to play 15 minutes on the weekend, the Eureka Strikers will need to decide whether to give her another week off so that she is right for crucial games against North Geelong and University of Melbourne or whether it is too much of a risk to miss her physical presence against Preston.