Collaroy-Cromer Strikers have kept clean sheets in victories over St Augustine’s and Narrabeen in the opening two rounds of Premier League competition, and head into Sunday’s clash with Manly Vale (0-and-2) high on confidence.
Goal-keeper Matt Smith is back from injury and firing. The back four of Zack Trisic, Nick Parker, Kory Leung and Sydney FC NPL coach Jim van Weeran have been impregnable. And at the top end Luke Curnow and Michael Morrison have formed a key combination.
And yet, according to CC Strikers coach Ryan Butcher, his team is yet to reach their best.
“We’ve been grinding out matches really well,” Butcher said.
“The organisation and shape have been the most noticeable positives.
“But everyone has another gear to go – at least.”
Butcher declared that he is particularly pleased they’ve kept two quality teams goal-less.
He said his team’s defence and organisation have been key to their winning ways.
“We’ve been up against two sides that play some footy. So two clean sheets is a pleasing way to start the year,” Butcher said.
“We’ve also created chances, don’t get me wrong,” Butcher said of his team’s brace of 1-0 wins.
“But we’re looking to lift the decision-making and quality of the final pass.
“When that clicks I think we will cause some damage.”
Manly Vale, for their part, crippled by injury, have a weapon of their own in Vincente, who’s been scoring goals for fun in FFA Cup – including a screamer in the team’s 2-1 win over Roselands FC on Thursday night.
Vale coach Michael Yarnold said that on his day Vincente is the best player in the competition.
“His goal last night from a free kick was as good as you’ll see – a bullet into the top right hand corner.
“Just a beauty.
“So he’ll be one to watch on Sunday.”
Yarnold said that his club’s challenge was to field a fit squad – and make lemonade from lemons.
“We’ve got 16 injuries in a squad of 38.
“So we’ve tinkered with a few things and implemented some changes, and won a few games in FFA Cup as a result.
“We’ve made a good result from a tough situation.”
By Matt Cleary