OFC Champions League quarter finalists Lae City Dwellers hit a bump in the road to the National Soccer League title at the weekend after being held to a 1-1 draw by Southern Strikers.
After being battered by Team Wellington in the OFC Champions League, Lae were hoping for a return to form in the competition which they have dominated for the past two years.
However Margaret Aka’s NSL newcomers had other ideas.
Despite Obert Bika and Raymond Gunemba putting at least five decent attempts on goal in the first half, they were kept out by Strikers goalkeeper Albert Mesulam.
The Strikers back line stood strong to the lethal attack force of their opponents right throughout the first half to keep them locked scoreless at the break.
Going into the second half Strikers started to impose themselves on the match more and with Richard Alois dictating play for his side, they started getting some shots of their own off.
However taking a more offensive approach also opened the Strikers up for a counter attack and it didn’t take long for Papua New Guinea international Raymond Gunemba to capitalise and open the scoring.
Jacob Sabua came close to netting a second for Lae, however he put the cross from Gunemba over the goal.
Lae were left to rue the missed chance when the Strikers pulled together from a set piece. Midfielder Sylvester Wamin put Pettyshen Elijah through on goal allowing him to net the equaliser.
After the final whistle Southern Strikers’ Aka said it was a tough encounter for her young side, and one which has helped build the team’s confidence.
“They did well despite being young to the league,” she said.
“They really showed courage that they can be better against the best in the competition.”
In Lae, Besta PNG United FC beat Buang FC 4-0.