Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Zebras win Summer Cup in a goal feast





(Top to bottom) Zebras starting XI, Clarence starting XI, Zebras squad, Clarence squad

CLARENCE UNITED 3-4 TILFORD ZEBRAS

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Tilford Zebras won their third Summer Cup in succession with this 4-3 win over Clarence United, but it was a close thing.

The winning goal came in the final minute of the second period of extra-time, which meant that Clarence had no chance of retrieving the situation.

Clarence had led twice, only to be hauled back and taken to extra-time.

Then it was Clarence’s turn to trail, but they also managed to find an equaliser and, just when a penalty shoot-out was in sight, they fell at the last hurdle to a brilliant piece of improvisation from Ben Crosswell and a fine finish by Aaron Brazendale.

On pure chances in the course of the 110 minutes that were played, the sides deserved to draw and to decide the game via spot-kicks.

Clarence were slightly the better side for the first 70 minutes, but the Zebras gradually asserted control and had the better of the exchanges in the final 20 minutes of normal time.

Two excellent saves by Troy Kaden kept the Zebras in the game in the first 9 minutes of extra-time and it was his side that then took the lead.

Clarence refused to surrender, however, and got back to 3-3 before succumbing to a goal in the dying seconds.

Technically, it was not a great game, and both sides gave the ball away far too often. Much of the finishing was poor and easy chances went begging.

But, in terms of goals and excitement, it was a thrilling contest for the large crowd.

A snapshot by Josh Thorpe in the 12th minute almost caught out Michael Moschogianis in the Clarence goal, but he got down at his right-hand post and conceded a corner.

Two minutes later, the Clarence fans were on their feet as Chris Hunt stabbed a shot wide of the left-hand post from Ben Hamlett’s low cross from the left.

Julian McMahon broke through on the right in the 18th minute following Hamlett’s delightful and perceptive pass, but a timely tackle by Michael Connolly limited the danger to a corner.

Clarence went ahead in the 21st minute through a Luke Cripps penalty after he had been brought down on the right of the box by Ricky Self.

In the 29th minute, Cripps eluded Ryan Smith, only to shoot narrowly wide of the far post.

Cripps was always a danger as he hovered close to being off-side, never allowing the Zebras rearguard to relax, and always ready to make use of the speed and service of Hamlett and Hunt.

Zebras striker Dwayne Walsh, a Clarence player last season, was always ready to run at his former defensive colleagues, but he often got tangled up in his own feet and lost possession in tackles.

In the 35th minute, however, he got on to the end of a cross to the near post and hit a powerful half-volley that just cleared the bar.

Clarence’s Ben Parker and Zebras’ Brazendale were shown yellow cards within two minutes of either side of half-time as frustration kicked in.

Seven minutes into the second half, Cripps made a courageous run down the right and played a low ball into the box which should have resulted in Clarence extending their lead.

But, Hunt missed the ball completely and, when it ran to Hamlett, he shot tamely straight at Kaden.

In the 53rd minute, Hamlett knocked the ball in from the right to Cripps, who turned and skipped past the Zebras defenders but fired into the side-netting.

Fabian Lapolla played a marvellous diagonal ball from right to left on the hour and, when Walsh gained possession and fired at goal, Moschogianis could only parry it wide to Brazendale, who smashed it home to make it 1-1.

In the 64th minute, Moschogianis gave away a free-kick on the edge of the box and straight in front. Thorpe sent in a pile-driver, but the unsighted Moschogianis produced a brilliant reflex save and turned the ball over the bar.

Six minutes later, Julian McMahon released Hamlett down the right and the youngster’s low drive was fumbled by Kaden, straight to the feet of Hunt, who was untroubled in netting and restoring Clarence’s lead.

The Zebras hit back immediately and Moschogianis produced marvellous saves in quick succession from Henry Fagg and Walsh.

In the 80th minute, Walsh showed great control inside the box to mesmerise the Clarence defenders and the ball eventually found its way to Fabian Lapolla and the young substitute scored to make it 2-2.

There were still some great chances for both sides before the end of normal time.

In the 82nd minute, Walsh crossed low from the left, but Fagg somehow stabbed his shot wide.

The miss of the match came a minute later when Brazendale raced clear on the right and knocked the ball across the face of goal from the byline. Walsh, positioned only three metres from goal and right in front, needed only a touch to score. But, he tried to break the net and succeeded only in lifting the ball over the bar. It was an incredible miss.

Clarence, thanking their lucky stars, counter-attacked in stoppage time and Luke Huigsloot smacked a shot against the Zebras woodwork from Hunt’s left-wing cross.

The ball rebounded to Cripps, who hooked his shot over the bar.

In the 96th minute, Kaden did very well to deny Hunt, while a minute later, he was again at his best to thwart Matthew Chapman.

It was not all Clarence, however, and when the Zebras attacked, it took a clearance off the line by Clarence captain Matt Lewis to save their bacon.

Four minutes into the second period of extra-time, a header by Mattias Toghill back to his goalkeeper was not firm enough and Moschogianis was left stranded. Daniel Lapolla nipped in and stroked the ball into the net from the edge of the box to give Zebras a 3-2 lead.

Clarence, to their credit and to their supporters’ delight, fought back and McMahon levelled within a minute from Hunt’s low left-wing cross.

A minute before the end, a long clearance by Kaden found Crosswell and he had a clear run at goal but shot straight at Moschogianis when a goal appeared inevitable.

With mere seconds remaining, Crosswell again gained possession on the left and cut inside the box before side-footing the ball wide to Brazendale, who drove low past Moschogianis - who managed to get a hand to the ball - and inside the far post for the winner.

There was no time for Clarence to hit back and the club had to accept its second Summer Cup final defeat of the day, their reserves having earlier lost to Hobart Olympic in a penalty shoot-out.

A minute's silence was observed before the game in memory of the father of Clarence assistant coach, Franco Previdi, who passed away in Italy that day.

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  • Clarence United coach, Andrew Brown, said:

“The players did everything that we planned for, everything that we worked on, but at the end of the day we just couldn’t score more goals than them.

“But, as far as our progress through the Summer Cup is concerned, we’ve improved every game and this is what we targeted.

“Today, we saw continued improvement.

“I think we asked a few questions of Zebras and, to be fair to the Zebras, they seemed to answer every question.

“When you’ve got people developing, we don’t know how far they’re going to develop.

“They’ve got a very good mentality to challenges and this is a very good challenge for them and we’ll see how they respond now.

“I think they’ll respond in a positive way and I think you’ll see us improving as the year goes on.”

  • Tilford Zebras coach, Nick Lapolla, said:

“From a spectator’s point of view, it was an absolutely brilliant game to watch.

“Personally, I think we were very down today.

“The credit for that must go to Brownie’s team. They really peppered us and kept us on the ball one hundred per cent.

“From our point, I think there were a few players who were flat, but the others that came in stepped up, and, yeah, it was good to get a win.

“But, a dirty win. All credit to Brownie and his boys for pushing us all the way.”
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Clarence United: Moschogianis - Toghill, Lewis, Ling, J Huigsloot - McMahon, Parker, Cannamela, Hunt - Cripps, Hamlett [Substitutes: Chapman, Phillips, L Huigsloot, Hamilton]

Booked: Parker, J Huigsloot

Goals: Cripps 21 pen, Hunt 70, McMahon 106

Tilford Zebras: Kaden - Telega, Smith Connolly - Brazendale, Self, Fagg, Pace, Thorpe - Crosswell, Walsh [Substitutes: Engels, F Lapolla, D Lapolla]

Booked: Brazendale

Goals: Brazendale 60, 111, F Lapolla 80, D Lapolla 104

Ref: K Barker

Att: 600

7 comments:

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

i believe that's 3 in a row Walter!

Krauser said...

Great game to watch.
Goal fest and the crowd loved it what more could u want ??

boof said...

Clarence victory

Krauser said...

lol well said

The Gonky said...

lol Boof.

All said, a great game of football played between two very different sides in term of age, size and experience.

I think a lot of clubs are going to need to seriously consider the ramifications of their trips across the bridge from now on...

extasplayer said...

Well done Nick and boys. If I hear correctly, a little off in some areas and times during the game. God help the other clubs if they are switched on for the rest of the year.