LAST Sunday saw the Royal Hotel sponsored Singleton Strikers host Thornton Redbacks in three grades at Howe Park.
It was a big day for the Strikers as they recorded a clean sweep in all grades with some dominate performances.
The Concept Controls sponsored first grade side were looking to condemn Thornton to the wooden spoon and in a must win game for the Strikers they took to the park full of confidence looking for the three points.
The first half did not reach any great heights with the Strikers dominating possession and field position but were being let down by a last pass or poor options when looking to threaten the Redbacks goal.
The half time whistle saw both sides head to the sheds on level terms but it was the Strikers who came out in the second half and upped the tempo to try and find a first goal of the game.
The goal finally arrived mid way through the second half when a nicely struck corner kick from Nathan Hill saw Nat Hamilton rise majestically above the pack and with a thumping header into the goal give the Strikers a much deserved lead.
The Strikers were controlling the game and looking for a second goal but were left frustrated by their ability to not be able to get the ball into the net.
A coaching masterstroke by Danny Gill saw Robbie Lopes thrust into the action with 15mins remaining and with almost his first touch he found the back of the net after running onto a great flick from Hamilton to give the Thornton keeper no chance.
Strikers were now up by two goals and it was that man Lopes again who was on the end of a neat piece of play which started in the Strikers defensive line to crash the ball home and put the game beyond doubt by sending the home side 3 goals to the good.
Lopes almost had a hat trick in five minutes when another stinging shot just skimmed the far post much to the disappointment of the large crowd.
The final whistle saw the Strikers grab the all important three points.
Best for the Strikers was Kei Nakajima with Nat Hamilton having another strong game in the central midfield.
The ATC Williams sponsored U23s side are the form team at the moment and they were looking to put a dent in the Redbacks top four hopes with another victory after recording three wins from their last four games.
Strikers started well enough but it was Thornton who took the lead after a defensive mix up allowed their forward to slot the ball home.
However a new resolve has been found with this Strikers team and they hit back straight away when some good lead up work from Josh Harvey saw a well timed cross met by Aaron Caelli whose first time shot gave the Redbacks keeper no chance to bring the scores level.
Just before halftime the Strikers were awarded a free kick from 30 yards out and up stepped Tom Wilson who was not many judge choice for the kick but he soon showed his talents with a thunderous kick into the bottom corner to give the Strikers the lead heading into half time.
The second half was a thrilling affair with action a plenty at both ends but when the dust had settled it was the Strikers who emerged victorious by 2-1 and continue their march up the ladder.
It was another gutsy effort by the Strikers and they were best served by Caelli, Harvey and Daniel Williams.
The Viatek sponsored youth grade side returned to the winners circle after a comprehensive victory beating Thornton 2-0.
The Strikers had the Redbacks on the back foot from the kick off but struggled to really put their opponents away with some wayward shooting in front of goal.
Tate Edwards opened the scoring mid way through the first half after he beat the defense to the ball and slotted the ball into an open net.
The Strikers wasted several good chances and Thornton may have felt they were in the game still at half time.
The second half produced another dominate performance from the young strikers but they could not find the back of the net with open goals and missed penalty chances not being taken.
Shortly before the full time whistle it was Robert Lopes who stepped up and crashed a well hit shot into the top corner to secure the points for the Strikers.
The young Strikers best were Lopes, Connor Gleeson and Pat McPherson. .
This Saturday will see the Strikers at Howe Park for their last home game of the year as they take on table leaders Lambton Jaffas in all three grades.
It promises to be an action packed day so come on down and support the Strikers. Full canteen and bar facilities will be in operation.
Youth Grade will get the action under way at 11.00am, U23’s at 12.45 and the first grade clash will start at 2.30pm.