The Lady Raiders were overrun in the second half of their match against Strathdale, going down by two goals, 6-4.By Luke McManus
The Lady Raiders were no match for a fast-finishing Strathdale at Epsom-Huntly Reserve on Sunday.
Scores were tied 3-3 at the half-time during their round 17 encounter, before Strathdale’s floodgates opened.
The home side ran rampant, adding a further three goals to the Lady Raiders’ one in the second half, triumphing 6-4 and setting the stage for an intriguing clash with Colts United this weekend, with the winner claiming top spot and the minor championship.
While they can now safely switch their attention to that hit-out, Strathdale’s concerns last week were with the Lady Raiders.
‘‘Strathdale’s coach told me after the game, they considered us a greater danger than the ladder-leaders,’’ Lady Raiders coach Darryl Brown said.
‘‘It’s says a lot about the club and how far we’ve come.
‘‘Half our side is made up of under 16s players, who we’re trying to bring through and develop, so it’s a fair comment to hear.’’
Strathdale’s cage was rattled at the 27th minute mark of the first half, when the Raiders found themselves with a 3-1 lead.
Roweena Ilsley showed her class with a converted header, while Indre Christy netted the first two goals of what would be a hat-trick by game’s end.
The Lady Raiders’ lead dissolved before the half time break, after Strathdale’s game plan took effect.
Long kicks forward caught the Raiders’ defenders on the back foot, the ball finding its way into the path of the opposition’s pacey midfield and forward line.
Individual brilliance by Strathdale’s Tayla Vlaeminck resulted in the two equalisers.
The second half saw Raiders’ stand-in goalkeeper Gillian Conway taken from the field with a suspected dislocated knee, which then forced skipper Cassie Powell to don the gloves in her place.
‘‘We lost a lot of drive through our midfield because of the change,’’ Brown said.
‘‘Gillian did a superb job considering our two regular goalkeepers were unavailable.’’
With the game tied at 4-4, Strathdale’s winning goals came in quick succession as the side ran away with its 13th win.
Brown said he was ‘‘extremely happy’’ that his players were able to push a genuine finals contender all game.
‘‘We had them on the back foot for most of the game, so we can take a lot of satisfaction from that,’’ he said.
The Lady Raiders, like the men’s side, enjoy a two-week break before they face Strathdale again in the second round of the knockout cup.
Brown said both goalkeepers would be available for selection, while Conway should be good to go following a visit to the physio.
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