Junior Section Match Report - Strikers 2 - 0 Co. Fermanagh
Strikers impress at Portrush
The Fermanagh Junior Squad didn’t get the start they had hoped for at Super Cup NI 2016, as the American side Strikers FC South Coast started their campaign with a 2-nil victory at Parker Avenue, Portrush. The Californian side couldn’t have wished for a better opening period and went into half time two goals to the good. Jacob Silva opened the scoring for Strikers with a well worked effort, before Pedro Reyes guided the ball home just before half time. Strikers were the more dominant side in the second half, but chances were few and far between as the game drew to a close.
Fermanagh were a threat from the very start in their 4-2-3-1 system, with striker Eimhin giving the Strikers centre backs plenty to think about with his runs in behind. Strikers, deploying a more traditional 4-4-2 had the first chance, with Silva attempting to lob goalkeeper Luke Johnston, but his effort dropped over the bar.
Darragh McBrien and Curran both had chances to take the lead early on. Kyle Malone, who passed a late fitness test to make the starting team, played in McBrien, who curled an effort just wide of Oliver Juarez’s goal. Juarez then had to reach high to stop a lobbed effort from Curran.
Ivan Garcia sliced an effort wide from a Strikers corner, before the Huntington Beach side took the lead in the 8th minute. Jason Leon done well on the left hand side, beating defender Josh Largo-Ellis, before playing in Silva, who managed to beat captain Dean Corrigan, before slotting into an empty goal, much to he and Strikers delight.
The game proved to be a very open affair, with both teams probably nervous in their first games of the tournament. There were a number of turnovers of possession and opportunities at either end. Silva was catching the eye on the spectators, showing excellent technical ability, but he could not add to his own personal tally. Micheál Glynn and McBrien were trying to threaten in the attacking third for Fermanagh, whilst Johnston and Largo-Ellis made efforts to stop Strikers from getting a second.
However, their efforts were ultimately in vein. Fermanagh were unable to stop a short corner from finding the feet of Pedro Reyes, who guided the cross across Johnston and into the bottom right-hand corner to double the advantage just before half-time.
The second half was a much tighter affair. Both sides had chances early on, Jason Leon and Conor Love both threatened from set pieces, before a Glynn cross brought an acrobatic effort from striker Curran, but he couldn’t manage to make the connection.
Reyes managed to get the better of Largo-Ellis, but his subsequent effort didn’t trouble Johnston in goal. Largo-Ellis then had an effort himself, from a Conor Love corner, but it was blocked out for a throw-in.
Strikers had a glorious chance to put the game beyond any doubt. Great build-up play from Reyes, Silva and Leon saw the latter skip past goalkeeper Johnson. But, with the goal at his mercy, Largo-Ellis managed to get back and clear the ball of the line; stopping a near-certain goal. Fermanagh’s best chance of the half came at the hands of Curran, who held the ball up for Glynn, but the winger drilled an effort just wide of the goal.
The county side never managed to test goalkeeper Juarez in the second half and Strikers managed to hold on for the three points. They will be looking to get two wins out of two against Swindon Town, whilst Fermanagh will be looking to get their first points on the board against Dundalk Schoolboys League.