SWEET VICTORY: U14B Strikers celebrate after the grand final.
SWEET VICTORY: U14B Strikers celebrate after the grand final. Contributed

Monto Strikers claim hat-trick of titles

MONTO Soccer Club's U14B Strikers have claimed a hat-trick of premierships, after a scintillating performance in the Football Biloela & District grand final on Saturday.

They claimed a famous 2-3 victory.

"Our defence was put to the test from the start,” coach Tyrone O'Reilly said.

"Everyone did an amazing job sliding to back each other up while soaking up the pressure until the midfield and forwards were able to break though the opposition's defence with Isaac Green scoring the opening goal 15 minutes into the first half.”

The Strikers peppered the opposition's goal keeper, but it took another Green thunderbolt to breach the defences just before half time, giving them a 0-2 lead.

However, the Strikers conceded quickly in the first half, as the ball travelled from end-to-end, and the pressure was right back on.

"Everyone was on the edge of their seats as our two goal buffer disappeared until Balun Delaney-O'Reilly got his left foot onto the ball for a cracking shot from a well taken corner making the score 1-3 to the Strikers,” coach O'Reilly said.

The buffer disappeared again when the opposition found the back of the net with 10 minutes to go, but the Strikers held on.

"To me, the sign of a great team is how they hold themselves on the field and stick together as a team when everyone is running on empty as the pressure is applied,” O'Reilly said.

"The mighty Strikers showed that as they continued to encourage each other to keep going and give it their all till the final whistle blew, giving them a well deserved grand final win.

"A big thank you goes out to Will Campbell for helping coach the players and bounce strategies off throughout the season and games.

"Thanks to the parents, volunteers and supporters for cheering us on and getting us to the games each weekend.

"Lastly, thanks to all the players for giving it their all week after week and being the champions you all are.”

Meanwhile, the U16 Mavericks felt just short of their quest to claim a first ever premiership.

They were minor premiers after a great start to the season, but according to coaches Peter and Natasha Howlett, had "lost form in the latter stages of the year”.

"The Mavericks put in a gutsy and determined performance in the grand final and took an early lead thanks to a great goal from Declan Howlett and led until late in the game when the opposition received a penalty and equalised,” the coaches said.

"The defence was very strong with Nakayla Myles, Lucas Spletter, Blake Barnett and Ralph Domingo forming a great partnership with Jasper Delaney-O'Reilly who pulled off some brilliant saves in goal.

"After the early loss of our dependable half Daniel Kling with an injury, the other halves, Cody Pailthope, Liam Green and Declan Howlett had to lift their intensity to compete with the opposition's midfield.

"Our halves worked very hard and managed to create chances for themselves and striker Emilee Myles but couldn't find the extra goal needed to seal the game.

"Isaac Green and Matthew Baldwin from U14B Strikers also stepped up to help late in the game as fatigue and injuries took their toll.

"Extra time ensued with still no result and the game was decided on a penalty shoot-out, which saw the opposition take the results 3-2.”

The coaches said they were very proud of how the whole team lifted and really took the game to the home team in front of their home fans.

"It was a great season and we would like to thank the players and their parents for the respect and commitment shown throughout the season,” they said.

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