Date: 23rd July 2006 at 6:12am
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Steven Maclean’s double strike ensured the Owls finished the American tour unbeaten.

Goals on 10 and 76 minutes finished off the challenge of the Rochester Rhinos and sent the Owls home happy, after draws against Wilmington Hammerheads and a USL 1st Division Select side.

Once again Paul Sturrock rang the changes in formation, kicking off with a 3-1-4-2 ensemble, Bougherra the holding midfielder in front of Spurr, Coughlan and Simek.. surely good to try out this option pre-season.

Good work by Bougherra secured the first goal for Maclean after a bright start featuring Brunt and Burton. Opportunities for both sides before the break brought no clear advantage.

Changes were made at half time, the Owls reverting to a standard 4-4-2 with Folly replacing Lunt, and Bougherra dropping back.

Maclean took his opportunity well before Adamson produced valuable saves to deny the Rhinos any hope of a comeback.

Rhinos 0 Owls 2 (Maclean 10, 76)

Teams:

Rochester (4-4-2): Vallow (Hannigan 45), Taylor (Sanfilppo 45), Bonseu, Palguta, Craft; Dombrowski (Lines 45), Ambersley (Bolton 45) Steele, Ball (Kramer 45); Gbeke (Delicate 45), Edozien (Martinez 45).

Subs: Hannigan, Sanfilippo, Lines, Martinez, Bolton, Delicate, Menyongar, Kramer.

Wednesday (3-1-4-2): Adamson; Coughlan, Simek, Spurr; Bougherra (McAllister 83); Bullen, Lunt (Folly 62), Whelan, Brunt (O’Brien 69); MacLean, Burton (Boden 86).

Subs: O’Donnell, McAllister, O’Brien, Folly, Boden.

Attendance: 6,289

Paul Sturrock’s comments: “I’m very pleased, we’ve had an awful lot of solid work here. We tried another system in the game which was reasonably successful and we maybe should have scored another couple of goals. We had a few chances in the first half.

The change of personnel for them (at half-time) knocked us out of our stride a bit with seven fresh legs coming on. We didn’t get to grips with it in the first 20 minutes of the second half but we changed our system to 4-4-2, looked a lot more comfortable and got the second goal.

“The fans have been fantastic, we could hear them singing even leaving the stadium after the game. They had a good night and, although it may have been a wee bit expensive, anyone who has been on the trip has had a fantastic time. The Americans have been great hosts and the organisation of the trip has been fantastic. It has been a real benefit for team spirit and morale.”