The Bunyip Strikers continued it’s amazing FFV Cup run, heading to Essendon Royals in Round 3, but ultimately fell short in a brave performance.
Essendon Royals – who currently sit in State 1 North West – four divisions higher than the Strikers and with former A-League Legend Archie Thompson their marquee signing were always going to be a tough ask.
The Strikers started the game with four changes, three of which were forced from the side that won in Round 2.
In a game that Bunyip knew was always going to be a difficult task, coach Lee Pritchard started with a 5-4-1 system to frustrate the opposition and limit the opportunity for Essendon to create open opportunities.
The Strikers players followed the instructions to the letter, rode their luck and with Dimi Sougioultzis outstanding in the Bunyip goal, the sides came in at half time at 0-0.
The second half started with Essendon throwing everything at the Bunyip defence, but ultimately winning a penalty in the 50th minute. This gave Essendon the lead.
Although the Strikers went behind their work ethic, system and structure never wavered resulting in the opposition having to make their own adjustments.
With 20 mins to go, Essendon knocked in a second scrappy goal in the box.
Again the Bunyip players dug deep and fought out the remainder of the game to see it out with a 2-0 loss.
The cup run has been an amazing run for a club like Bunyip and the opportunity of pitting themselves against State 1 opposition can only be of benefit leading into the season proper.