Sunday, September 6, 2009

Metro regain top spot in Division One with win over Hobart United

Hobart United 1-3 Metro


Metro’s title hopes depended on getting a win against fifth-placed Hobart United away at Pontville.

As a full moon hung over the ground and with the country air crisp, they did just that, triumphing 3-1.

Hobart United had plenty of chances, but failed to make the most of these.

Erratic goalkeeping at times by Simon Land threatened to scupper Metro, but Hobart United tended to be too elaborate in their build-ups when a more direct approach might have paid dividends.

Having said that, Metro also missed some excellent chances, while United keeper Nathan Grandin was also in fine form and made some superb saves.

Darrin Chaffey and Mathew Gasparin returned to the Metro defence in a sign that the internal bickering at the club might be over.

One cause of concern for Metro, who have one game remaining - ironically, against Hobart United at North Chigwell - was that two of their Scottish imports, Grant Malcolm and Colin Sweeney, both went off injured.

Their third Scotsman, Ricky Orr, scored two of their goals so all is fine on that front.

How Orr was overlooked for southern selection is beyond me. Four southern teams have qualified for the Top-Four series semi-finals, yet the South lost 2-0 to the North in the intrastate representative match. That must surely say something about the South’s team selection.

Aaron Marney and Sweeney both went close for Metro in the opening minutes, but Orr put them ahead on the quarter-hour with a penalty, awarded for Samson Rume’s foul on Marney.

A minute later, Danny Cowen should have added a second when he was left free on the left of the box after Jason Dawes had mis-kicked Orr’s cross from the right, but he shot just wide of the angle of crossbar and post.

A fumble by Land in the 21st minute almost let Justin Lotiko in, but the ball was cleared in the nick of time.

Akuel Guot almost punished Land for another lapse on the half-hour, but again Metro escaped unscathed.

A minute later, Orr found Marney, who delayed his shot long enough for Grandin to get to the ball and snuff out the chance.

A good shot by Malcolm in the 34th minute was turned wide for a corner by the hard-working Grandin.

Sweeney headed just over the bar for Metro in the 42nd minute, while a minute into stoppage time, Grandin produced a splendid save by turning Dawes’s shot over the bar following Marney’s square pass.

Three minutes after the interval, a free-kick by Malcolm on the right was glanced inside the far post by Orr to make it 2-0 for the visitors.

Malcolm limped off a couple of minutes later, to be replaced by Wade Hawkins, while at the same time, Jackie Kuel received a yellow card from Mr Barker for encroaching at a free-kick.

Metro dropped Orr into midfield at this stage and moved Sweeney from midfield into attack.

Kuel had been a prominent figure in midfield for United and, in the 58th minute, his free-kick from just outside the box just skimmed the crossbar.

A minute later, he took another and this time curled it over the wall, over Land, and inside the far top corner to make it one goal the difference.

United were looking good now and Peter Otto missed narrowly with a fearsome shot in the 63rd minute.

But, Metro hit back instantly and within a minute were leading 3-1 as Cowen attacked down the right and slipped the ball through for Sweeney to score.

Metro thought they had a fourth in the 65th minute when Orr’s downward header from a corner appeared to have crossed the line, but the referee waved play on.

Land showed what he could do when, in the 69th minute, he saved well from Peter Otto.

Eleven minutes from the end, Jackson forced a corner with a fine shot that Grandin did well to reach, while two minutes later, Jackson again earned a corner as Metro continued to attack.

With four minutes remaining, Metro brought on veteran Terry Kent in place of Sweeney and he played up front, holding on to the ball and trying to set up his team-mates.

United were unable to gain a breakthrough, however, and Metro took the three points to put them back on top of the ladder, a point ahead of second-placed Taroona.

Both sides must meet Hobart United in their final games and United undoubtedly hold the key to the title.


· Hobart United coach, Mark Broadbent, said:

“I thought it was a very good game.

“I thought it was the best ground conditions for months and it took us a while to adjust from being on heavy grounds.

“I think it was the same for Metro.

“But, I think it was an evenly contested game and it was evens all over.”

· Metro coach, Bob Nicholson, said:

“It’s been a long time since we’ve actually been able to play on a firm surface and it’s taken all three grades, under-19s, reserves and seniors, to adjust to the bounce again after playing on the wet surfaces around in Division One.

“I thought the game was a fairly fast paced game.

“Hobart United certainly took it to us on a number of occasions but, overall in the game, we created enough opportunities to win the game.

“Their keeper made a few excellent saves and I think 3-1 is a fair result for the day.”


Hobart United: Grandin - P Otto, Bellini, Walker, A Otto (G Lotiko 77) - J Lotiko, Kuel, Woodward, Rume - Guot, J Otto (Substitutes not used: Chatwin, Dand, Smedley)

Booked: Kuel

Goals: Kuel 59

Metro: Land - Turner, Malcolm (Hawkins 50), Chaffey, Gasparin - Jackson, Dawes, Sweeney (Kent 86), Cowen - Marney, Orr (Substitute not used: Rahni)

Booked: Jackson

Goals: Orr 15 pen, 48, Sweeney 64

Att: 50 (Pontville, Saturday, 5 September 2009)

Ref: K Barker

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