Sunday, March 1, 2009

Zebras produce another miracle to reach Summer Cup final


After South Hobart drew 0-0 with Hobart Olympic on Friday night and lost the subsequent penalty shoot-out, Tilford Zebras needed to beat New Town Eagles by six clear goals to qualify for the Premier League section Summer Cup Final.

They did it, but only just, with two goals coming in stoppage time at the end of the match.

Some observers complained about the five minutes of stoppage time.

But, it must be remembered that there were two goals scored in normal time in the second half, there were some substitutions, and then there was that injury to Eagles’ Wade Savage.

It took some time for him to be treated and eventually to be taken from the field.

Zebras started well enough against a depleted Eagles outfit that was missing seven regular first-team players.

But, the over-eager Zebras failed to convert several chances in the opening few minutes.

With players pushing forward willy nilly, Eagles found space and time to counter-attack and Adam McKeown and Jamie Vernon both missed good chances on the break.

In the 4th minute, Vernon’s cross from the right sailed over Troy Kaden to McKeown at the far post, but he could only head into Kaden’s arms from a tight angle but close range.

Two minutes later, Vernon was through on the right but shot straight at a grateful Kaden.

Ben Crosswell almost opened the scoring for Zebras in the 9th minute, but an instinctive save by Andrew Savage denied him.

Zebras did break the ice a minute later, however, youngster Braydon Pace heading home Andrew Telega’s deep cross from the right.

This did not open the floodgates and Josh Thorpe fired straight at Savage in the 12th minute when he should have hit the back of the net.

In the 17th minute, Zebras were back on course when Pace’s fine pass from the right found Crosswell, who volleyed expertly past Savage to make it 2-0.

It should have been 3-0 in the 19th minute, but Ricky Self’s shot, from Aaron Brazendale’s corner, smashed against a post.

Kurt Engels was having a fine game for Zebras and his cross from the left in the 22nd minute found Brazendale, who fired past the far post.

With the score at 2-0 at the interval, Zebras still had it all to do and the South Hobart players watching were still feeling content.

By midway through the second half, Crosswell’s free-kick that went wide of the post was the Zebras’ best effort and Eagles appeared to be holding their own.

Thorpe livened things up in the 46th minute when his long-range shot sailed over Savage and lodged in the far top corner of the net. The keeper had got a hand to it but could not keep it out and it was now 3-0.

Telega headed a free-kick straight at Savage with four minutes remaining. The ball flew wide to Crosswell, who could not force it into the net.

Two minute from the end, Barry Pope brought down Crosswell and conceded a penalty, which Crosswell duly despatched to make it 4-0.

The Zebras still had to find two goals, but time appeared to be against them.

Two minutes into stoppage time, Crosswell attacked down the inside-right channel and finished with a low, blistering drive that whistled into the far corner of the net.

Most people still thought they would run out of time with just one goal to get.

But, in the 4th minute of stoppage time, Ryan Smith released Brazendale down the right and his cross was headed home by Pace to make it 6-0 and assure Zebras of a place in the final.

The Zebras’ achievement was more meritorious because they were without Daniel Lapolla and Henry Fagg and they had just one player on the bench - Fabian Lapolla.

The youthful Pace, with a mere handful of senior games, stepped up to the mark and his two headed goals and one assist were a vital contribution.

Zebras will meet Clarence United in the final on Monday, 9 March.

It will be the first time the sides have met in a cup final.

Statistician Keith Roberts tells me that Zebras and Clarence have met 21 times since 1999. They first met in competition on 1 August that year, with Zebras winning 3-1.

Zebras have won 16 of those 21 games, while Clarence have won just once, with five games ending in draws.

The Zebras’ biggest winning margin was 7-0 in 2002.

Last year, Zebras beat Clarence 7-2 and 4-1.

The omens are not good for Clarence, but one must remember that anything is possible in football.

Just think of this 6-0 win against Eagles.


  • Tilford Zebras coach, Nick Lapolla, said:

“It’s our cup. Another back-door entry.

“I’m pleased with the boys. We got six.

“When you’ve got a game like that you put them all up front and hope for the best.

“We missed opportunities. I didn’t think in the last five minutes we were going to get them, but the boys stuck to it and went for it and we’re in the final, the third one in a row.”

  • New Town Eagles coach, George Krambousanos, said:

“We started off with seven reserve players and I actually thought we could have scored a couple of goals in the first half.

“At the end of the game we finished with three senior players on the park.

“We played one of the best sides in the State and, with so many injuries, we couldn’t do too much.

“It’s a sad day in the dressing room. The boys are a bit down.

“I think we got something out of it to the point where I think we have got a bit of depth.

“I mean, not many teams get out there with eight reserve players and finish off the game with six nil.

“And yet, we had our chances, too.”

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

Goals: Pace 10, 60 + 4, Crosswell 17, 58 pen, 60 + 2, Thorpe 46

New Town Eagles: A Savage - Page, Rybak, W Savage, Clark - Malakoff - Kavanagh, Vernon, Westland, McKeown - Pope [Substitutes: K Lebski, Clamp]

Booked: Pope

Ref: K Barker

Att: 200


Anonymous said...

Hi Walter , great report , thanks for the no conspiracy theory in Tasmanian Football!! 5 min in a 30 min game ....

Unfortunately due to the lack of thought given to the scheduling - competition structure we have missed out on seeing a serious competition - final in Southern region, no semi finals what a joke , however not sure the value of the northern competition crossover deal , but as this is a money raiser for lton , more games more money probably reason , at least we have semi finals albeit against same group teams --- very strange .

Sorry had my rave , just wondering what it takes to get some form of quality competition structure in place by a company that recorded a 100,000 dollar loss last financial year !! Obviously finances run same way as competitions!!

Think Rangers will beat South in Final of Hudson

Anonymous said...

north of oatlands

south of oatlands we have 21 rounds in normal roster season this year so not so easy - was early start to summer cup as it was

Anonymous said...

Great report Walter. Do you know where Brett Pullen, Frank Mainella, David Cox and Dylan Fennell are from the usual Zebras line up?

Anonymous said...

Frank Mainella and Brett Pullen retired at the end of last season, amid much fanfare after the final league game against New Town Eagles at Clare Street, but they are now playing for Zebras reserves in the Summer Cup (they have, apparently, come out of retirement), but I don't know where Chris Cox and Dylan Fennell are.

Anonymous said...

south of Oatlands
Had a quick look at Summer Cup program , seems as though final is on Monday public holiday , maybe semi's on Friday night could have been an option.

Again FFT Competition personnel have their reasons but would have been good to get club views , they were plentiful at Birch Street on Sunday...

Anonymous said...

david cox and dylan fennell are in the uk working/travelling/having a kick.

Anonymous said...

its a real shame that south hobart will not be contesting the summer cup finals in the seniors or reserves sections..........not!

should be two good finals on monday

Roundball said...

TGhey tell me that South have cleared spots on the shelf for the two new tropheys.
Well, the Summer cup is gone, and currently with no striker, the Hudson is not assured.

Maybe, Ken should put them into the FESIVAL and MANNO Cups, you know to fill the voids!

comegetsum said...

Walter: Pullen & Maniella retired from senior soccer.. Great to see the two of them still helping their club and doing what they can. Maybe an article by you about somebody like Maniella showing what a great career he had & future will bring might be an idea, rather then "another" article about the "Morton school of excellence / Edwards/Sth Hbt"etc etc etc. Who's in the final?????