Monday, September 10, 2018

Late free-kick gives Heidelberg win over Devonport

Photo:  Devonport keeper Nathan Pitchford is deceived by Jack Petrie's free-kick [PlessPix]

(NPL Finals Series, Valley Road, Devonport, Saturday, 8 September 2018)

Devonport City 2 (Steven Pace 29 og, Kieran Mulraney 87)
Heidelberg United 3 (Sean Ellis 44, Alexander Schiavo 45, Jack Petrie 90+7)

HT:  1-2   Att:  1,146   Ref:  T Peart

Devonport City:  Pitchford  -  Bidwell, Lazcano, Mulraney, Smith  -  Jesse Dance, Blizzard  -  Stone  -  West, Mann, Holden  (Subs:  Crocker, Jelenovic, Knott, Andrews, Pearce)

Heidelberg United:  Theodoridis-Petropoulos  -  Read, Pace, Byles, Way  -  Zahra, Petrie  -  Ellis, Schiavo, Cartanos  -  Cahill  (Subs:  Wilkins, Hall, Tsalikidis, Pavlidis, Ofli)

Heidelberg United came to Valley Road with a great reputation as holders of the NPL title, but Devonport City, the Tasmanian league and cup double winners, were not overawed and generally gave as good as they got.

Tempers became frayed at times, but Tasmania’s English referee, Tony Peart, showed his experience from The Championship in England and refused to be intimidated.  His decisions were authoritative, his demeanour calm and collected, and it is not surprising that he may be gracing the A-League later this year as an assistant referee.

The Victorian visitors dominated the opening exchanges and Devonport were reliant on the occasional counter-attack through long balls.

But, Heidelberg’s shooting was way off target and they failed to punish the home side, despite having most of the possession.

This proved fateful as Devonport took the lead around the half-hour mark when a low ball driven in from the left by Michael Holden was turned into his own net by a lunging Steven Pace.

This had the home supporters in raptures and Heidelberg knew that they were in for a game.

The game turned dramatically within a couple of minutes of half-time when Heidelberg used their own swift counter-attacks to score twice, through Sean Ellis and Alexander Schiavo.  They managed to breach the central defence of Devonport and beat Nathan Pitchford with low shots from the edge of the box.

The second half saw Devonport more involved, but some of their shooting was way off target.

Pitchford had very little to do as Heidelberg’s attacks lacked bite because of resolute defending by the home side and aggressive midfield play by Beau Blizzard, Jesse Dance and Joel Stone.

Devonport were like a dog with a bone and their pressure was rewarded in the 87th minute when a Stone free-kick was turned against the left-hand post by Heidelberg keeper Christopher Theodoridis-Petropoulos and Kieran Mulraney knocked the ball home from close range to make it 2-2.

Five minutes of stoppage time were signalled by the fourth official and extra-time seemed inevitable.

Six minutes were gone when Heidelberg earned a free-kick wide on the left.  Jack Petrie floated a high ball towards the far post which was completely misjudged by Pitchford and, to his horror, the ball dipped under the bar and in to the net to give Heidelberg a 3-2 win.

“Very unlucky, wasn’t it,” said Devonport City coach, Chris Gallo.

“I think it was the second-last kick of the game, or whatever it was.  It’s an unfortunate result, but I think we’ve held three very good Victorian teams.  I think we’ve held our own really well.

“That’s the whole idea [to represent Tasmania].  We knew that.  We have to represent our State [of Tasmania] and the people and the football community.

“We can’t sit back and defend around the 18-yard box.  We need to be proactive.  It’s in our DNA and it’s who we are.  That’s what we believe in and how we believe our football should be played.”

Gallo said that he has had informal approaches from interstate clubs after Devonport’s highly successful season, including in the FFA Cup.

“I’ll speak to the club again,” he said.  “I’m tremendously happy here.  My family is happy here.

“There has been interest.  I can’t deny it.  By the same token , my group of players that I have here,  I’d run through brick walls for them, and I think they’d do the same for me.  It’s a great place to be a part of and we’ve built a huge culture here that’s got high standards and I think, if we continue nights like this in the future, it’ll be all worthwhile.

“We nullified their attack really well.  The fact is in football that no team can handle pressure or be under pressure [the entire game], but you’ve got to put them under there and be brave to do that and I thought we did really well in pressing them.

“We changed our press in the second half and had to set up little traps up in wide areas which allowed us to capitalise on that.  But, unfortunately, that took a toll on Kynan [West] and Holden and that probably decreased our attack a little bit.

“It’s a game we can learn from and improve from and there’s a lot of young players on the national stage who did really well, and local players, as well, such as Eddie Bidwell and Kynan West.  So, I’m very, very proud of them.  We’ve got a 16-year-old as well, not pulling out and giving his all, so I was very, very proud.”

Former Tasmanian and South Hobart star, Kostas Kanakaris, was injured and unable to play for Heidelberg, although he did make the trip and was present at the game.

Brayden Mann scoops awards in 2018

 Photo:  Brayden Mann [PlessPix]

Brayden Mann, the Devonport City striker, won the 2018 Mitsubishi Medal as the NPL Tasmania best and fairest player.

He polled an incredible 40 votes, which is a new record.

Way back in second place with 19 votes was South Hobart’s Brazilian striker, Renato De Vecchi Marins.

Mann’s Devonport City team-mate, Michael Holden, won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, voted on by his peers.

Mann was second in the MVP, but he also won the Golden Boot award as the league’s top scorer with 35 goals.

Ulverstone’s Georgia Foote was the winner of the Optus Medal for 2018 as the best player in the Women’s Super League.

Georgia was a point ahead of her sister, Lucy, while team-mate Jazmin Gorrie was third.

Lucy Foote took out the MVP Award and Georgia was second.

Kingborough Lions United’s Laura Davis was third and Jazmin Gorrie and Clarence United goalkeeper Amelia Vanderniet were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Olympia Warriors striker Joffrey N’Koso won the Rising Star Award as the best young player.

The NPL coach of the year was Devonport City’s Chris Gallo, while the Women’s Super League coach of the year was won jointly by Ulverstone’s joint coaches Mal Gorrie and Lucy Foote.

The Golden Glove goalkeeping awards went to Devonport City’s Nathan Pitchford and Ulverstone’s Georgia Anderson.

The referee of the year awards went to Stratos Plomaritis (for the NPL) and Jonno Calcraft (for the WSL).

The goal of the year awards, decided by a popular vote, went to Lucy Johsnon and Noah Mies.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Lions fight tooth and claw but cannot overcome Warriors

 Photo:  Olympia's Warren Wadawy stretches for a header (PlessPix]
(PS4 Victory League, Lightwood Park, Sunday, 14 June 2015)

Kingborough Lions United 0
Olympia Warriors 0

Att:  120   Ref:  J Hortle

Kingborough Lions United:  L Davey  -  Palmer, Hedge, Cuthbertson, Pearce  -  Watkins, Turner, Dale  -  Verdouw, Gasparinatos, Cowen  (Subs:  Galante, Schuth, W Davis, A Hinkley, Rickards)

Olympia Warriors:  Paradisis  -  Griffiths, Vandermey, Holmes, Woolley  -  Merans, Hickey, Hoy  -  Wadawu (Meredith 83), Tsakiris (Gustafsson 63), Eyles  (Subs not used:  Nester, Takatsu, S Page)

Kingborough Lions United fought tooth and nail against the Warriors and emerged with a goalless draw to give themselves a point and a hold on fourth place.

Olympia looked the sharper side in the opening half but some glaring misses cost them the lead.  Warren Wadawu, Gavin Hoy, Emmanuel Tsakiris and Alex Holmes were all off target as the visitors pressured the home side, who were well served at the back by Adam Hedge, whose timely tackles denied the Warriors at least two scoring chances.

The Lions were not without some bite, however, and Lewis Verdouw should have been more composed when he got onto the end of a perfect left-wing cross from Billy Gasparinatos, only to scuff the ball wide.  Skipper Nick Cuthbertson will also be disappointed with himself for heading another chance wide.

The second half began just like the first, with Luke Eyles and Hoy failing to score for Olympia from very good chances before Jack Turner cut through for the Lions, only to see his service wasted by Verdouw and Danny Cowen.

Holmes and Eyles then threatened the Lions defence, but unsuccessfully, while in the 69th minute, Olympia suffered a setback when Harry Woolley was shown a second yellow card after he deliberately blocked a potentially dangerous run by Dean Watkins by fouling the Kingborough player.  The youngster was shown the red by Mr Hortle and made the long, lonely walk to the visitors’ dressing rooms.

Olympia were not done, however, and continued to create chances, with Hoy and Fabian Gustafsson squandering good opportunities.

Olympia survived a torrid few minutes at the end as a Cuthbertson header was cleared off the line by Eyles, Gasparinatos blazed wide, and Verdouw fired over the bar.

The match ended with Olympia scrambling back and forth inside their opponents’ penalty area but being unable to get in a shot.

South Hobart coach, Ken Morton, who was watching the game, must have been the most relieved spectator at the ground.  His side went down 1-0 away to Launceston City the previous day and a draw at Lightwood Park was the best result he could have hoped for, apart, possibly, from a Lions win.

Lions coach Colin Robbins was pleased with the point and still rates his side as being in with a chance for the title.

“We had chances to win that game as well,” said Robbins.  “[But] very pleased [with the point].

“They’re a very good attacking team, but our guys were there at the right time, disrupting, pressuring.  It’s something new we’ve found in the team, which is great.”

Olympia coach Glen McNeill was disappointed with his side’s poor finishing, which he believed cost them a win.

“I think our finishing was pretty poor today, so it was [an opportunity missed],” McNeill said.

“We had ample opportunities but couldn’t make the most of it.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

North Hobart has a long history as a soccer venue

North Hobart, the venue for today’s double-header featuring Tasmania against Melbourne Victory Youth at 12.15pm, followed by the A-League pre-season clash between heavyweights Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC at 3pm, is no stranger to soccer.
Back in 1923, it was the scene of China’s 2-1 win over Tasmania.
Two years later, Tasmania lost to South Australia there 4-3.
South Hobart Oval then became the preferred venue for quite a few years.
It was back to North Hobart in 1951, when England beat Tasmania 11-0 before a crowd of 5,742.
England also played at York Park in Launceston on that tour, where they won 17-0.
Hong Kong were the next visiting side to play at North Hobart and they beat Tasmania 6-4.
Hong Kong played there again in 1955, winning 11-2 against Tasmania.
In 1957, the Hungarian side, Ferencvaros, played an Australian XI, containing five Tasmanians, at North Hobart.
It was 2-2 at half-time, but Ferencvaros scraped home 3-2.  There were just over 3,000 in attendance.
The referee was Norm Evans, who was killed when hit by a cricket ball in a game at South Hobart Oval some years later.Scottish club Heart of Midlothian, generally known as Hearts, beat Tasmania 10-0 at North Hobart in 1959.
Chelsea toured Australia in 1965 and they thrashed Tasmania 12-0 at North Hobart that year.
An English FA XI were the next visitors to play at North Hobart and they beat Tasmania 8-0, with the pitch marked out from the Ryde Street end towards Ridges Hotel, which in those days, was the Blind and Deaf Institute.  Generally, the pitch ran from the Argyle Street end to the Letitia Street end, as it will be today.
Apart from North Hobart, visiting sides have also played at South Hobart Oval, Queenborough, the TCA Ground, Grove Road (now KGV Park), the Showgrounds, York Park and the Elphin Showgrounds.
The last big game at North Hobart was in 1993, when Gary Lineker’s Nagoya Grampus Eight beat Tasmania 3-0.
In more recent times, the Tasmanian under-21s have played A-League youth sides at North Hobart.
In 2008, Tasmania Under-21s beat Melbourne Victory Youth 1-0 before 1,500, the goal coming from Mark Ambrose.
Milos Lujic, who played for South Melbourne Hellas against South Hobart last weekend, was in that Melbourne Victory Youth side.  Hugh Ludford was in the Tasmanian side and last weekend was the second time they had confronted each other.
Also in 2008 at North Hobart, Tasmania’s Under-21s beat Brisbane Roar Youth 1-0 through a goal by Danny White before a crowd of 900.
Today’s double-header offers a top-notch programme and anything less than 10,000 would be disappointing at this notable venue.