Sunday, July 5, 2009

Olympic recover from 2-0 half-time deficit to beat league leaders


This win lifted Hobart Olympic into fourth place on the ladder and they are now well out of relegation trouble.

A few weeks ago, the title was the Zebras’ to lose. They are now well on the way to losing it.

They missed the injured Ben Crosswell, and how they could do with Aaron Brazendale, who has gone overseas.

Tommy Fotak was included as a holding midfielder just in front of the back-four, while Michael Connolly returned to the side at left-back.

The only experienced player on the Zebras bench, however, was goalkeeper Frank Mainella, and it was no surprise that coach Nick Lapolla made no substitutions.

Zebras should have had this game sewn up in the first half. They led 2-0, but missed some glorious opportunities that would come back to haunt them.

By the time the first half came to a close, Olympic had shown enough to indicate that they were still in contention and could spring a surprise or two.

Both sides tended to crowd the middle at times and Olympic’s Carl Larzabal was one of the few players who stayed wide in an attempt to create more width for attacking options.

Having said that, three of the five goals did come from crosses from the flanks, and perhaps both teams should have made greater use of width.

The diminutive but hard working and clever Michael Bulis was in fine form for Olympic, scoring twice with devastating half-volleys from right-wing crosses.

Jayden Welch put Zebras in front in the 4th minute with a low shot from the edge of the box that Olympic keeper Dmitri Nester should have saved.

Henry Fagg and Dwayne Walsh then missed good chances for Zebras, but Bulis hit the bar from Chris Tsakiris’s cross in the 17th minute as if to warn the visitors of what was in store for them in the second half.

Chris Tsakiris should have scored from Bulis’s pass five minutes before the break, but he shot high and wide, while Adam Hedge forced Zebras keeper Troy Kaden to concede a corner by turning his dangerous low shot wide in the 44th minute.

In stoppage time at the end of the first half, Welch rammed home the Zebras’ second goal from Kurt Engels’s cross from the left after the youngster had cleverly unlocked the Olympic defence.

Early in the second half, a misunderstanding at the back by Olympic’s Nester, Peter Tsakiris and Aaron Percy gifted Walsh an easy chance, but he shot wide.

Hedge pulled a goal back for Olympic in the 61st minute when he took advantage of confusion between Tommy Fotak and Ryan Smith to beat Kaden with a tame shot, the keeper getting to the ball after it had rolled over the line.

Bulis then struck twice to give Olympic victory, his first coming in the 69th minute from Robert Lebski’s cross, and his second in the 88th minute from Lee Mason’s cross, after the ball was effectively played wide from midfield on both occasions.


  • Hobart Olympic coach, Farrell Shaw, said:

“An interesting game.

“They’ve come out and, yes, obviously, the game against South Hobart revved them up and they came at us for the first 25 minutes and we defended a lot.

“We started to get our passing game going and there were some good movements out there and we started to get back on top, which was good.

“Two goals to them. Dmitri [Nester] was slow in getting down to one, and we gave them the other one, really, with silly mistakes.

“So, we knew we could get back into it if we didn’t make so many silly mistakes.

“At 2-0 down, we still thought we could back in it. I was pretty confident we could get back in it.

“We created chances but just didn’t get any final result from the chances we created.

“With a little bit of wind that was left in that half it gave us a bit more opportunities and we started to get back on top, which was great.

“A couple of good finishes by Michael [Bulis] and young Adam Hedge, who has unfortunately pulled a hamstring.

“It’s starting to get back to what it was last year, which is good to see.”

  • Hobart Olympic striker, Michael Bulis, said:

“It was just important to get a win for the boys tonight.

“I thought we battled hard.

“I think, as a forward line, it’s starting to work and we showed a lot of heart tonight.

“I was just at the right place at the right time tonight. I don’t mind that sort of freedom every now and then.

“It’s important that we showed a bit of heart, considering it was 11-0 last time, and to show it up to a few people.”

  • Tilford Zebras coach, Nick Lapolla, said:

“I’m very disappointed. A 2-0 lead at half-time and there’s no way we should have lost 3-2.

“We had more than enough chances. Absolutely.

“I’m not happy at all. Very disappointed in the way they played in the second half.

“No intensity, there was no desire to go and get the ball, and slack marking at the back.

“We deserved what we got.

‘You’re obviously going to miss Crosswell. A quality player like him, we did miss him.

“I didn’t want to risk him. He had a slight hamstring strain. You play him tonight and he does another hamstring and he’s out for three or four weeks.

“But, yes, we did miss him.”


Hobart Olympic: Nester - Lebski, P Tsakiris, Percy, Tsimiklis - C Tsakiris, Richardson, Mason (Pinkus 90), Larzabal - A Hedge (Langdale 84), Bulis (Substitutes not used: E Tsakiris, Plomaritis)

Booked: Lebski 78

Goals: A Hedge 61, Bulis 69, 88

Tilford Zebras: Kaden - Connolly, Smith, Telega, Pace - Engels, Fotak, Fagg, Self, Welch - Walsh (Substitutes not used: Mainella, Fisher, Horsely)

Booked: Fotak 27, Fagg 55, Connolly 80

Goals: Welch 4, 45+4

Att: 100

Ref: I Jozeljic

1 comment:

Greg Ludford said...

Now that’s put the cat amongst the pigeons.
A huge Olympic turnaround from their last Zebras fixture and a gutsy win from a 2 goal half time deficit (The Devil’s Lead indeed !). Zebras now with 3 losses from their last 4 games and out of the Ferrari & into the Fiat - for the moment at least.
Throw in the Uni v Clarence result today and the League is wide open going into the final round. Shows that any team in this competition can beat any other “on the day” and that it will be the most consistent side over the most games that wins the league title. The relegation battle is also open so no easy games for anyone for the rest of the season.
It’s a good example of the value of the home & away league approach (vs a finals AFL type series) to judge the best team over the duration of the season. Finals & knockouts have their place but definitely belong in separate competitions to the league.