Tuesday, July 27, 2010

South down Eagles to qualify for cup final

Photos (Top to Bottom): Eagles' Ben Whitehall gets in a cross ahead of South's Kostas Kanakaris and Liam Scott; South's Tom Roach and Daniel Brown line up to head a cross at the Eagles goal [PlessPix]

Milan Lakoseljac Memorial Trophy Semi-final (Clare Street, Saturday, 24 July 2010)


New Town Eagles 1 (A McKeown 4)

South Hobart 2 (J Lo 6, K Kanakaris 78)

HT: 1-1 Att: 90 Ref: I Jozeljic

New Town Eagles: Pitchford - Clark, Kent, Anderson, Wass - Whitehall, Page, Leszczynski, Strang - Clamp, McKeown [Substitutes: Menzie, Quan, Gonzalez, Minty]

South Hobart: Kruijver - Pennicott, Ludford, D Brown, Scott - Beecroft, Roach, Hickey - Kanakaris, Brennan, Lo [Substitutes: Downes, Wokbum Heo, Williams, Moncur]


New Town Eagles coach George Krambousanos had to reshuffle his pack just before kick-off, which must have been unsettling for his side.

Shane Kent had not been due to play because of a supposed suspension, but a late phone call brought him to the ground with his gear and he was included at the last minute. He had missed a game earlier because it was thought he was suspended after accumulating five yellow cards, but that had not been the case. He had needlessly sat out the league game.

He was eligible for this cup game, apparently because Football Federation Tasmania had failed to give Eagles the required three days’ notice of suspension.

As it was, he slotted into the line-up because a dressing room bust-up between Krambousanos and midfielder Blayne Hudson saw the player dropped. He left the rooms after shaking the hands of his team-mates but not the coach.

Whether Hudson plays for Eagles again is an interesting question.

Eagles got off to the perfect start when Adam McKeown netted after just four minutes. Ben Whitehall floated a precise cross to the far post from wide on the right and Alex Leszczynski did well to nod it back across goal. South Hobart keeper Sam Kruijver was caught in No-Man’s Land and, with the rest of the defence flatfooted, McKeown nodded the ball home at the right-hand post.

Poor defending by Eagles gifted the visitors an equaliser two minutes later. With the Eagles defence moving out, a cross from deep on the left by Liam Scott left Jonathon Lo unmarked and he met the ball and prodded it past Nathan Pitchford from just inside the box.

Eagles almost regained the lead in the 10th minute, but Simon Strang’s powerful drive from the left was parried by an acrobatic Kruijver. The ball fell for McKeown, but a last-ditch tackle by Daniel Brown thwarted the striker and prevented him from grabbing his second goal.

On the quarter-hour, a corner from the right by Whitehall found Strang on the far side of the box, but his shot across the face of goal whistled just past the far post.

South should have taken the lead in the 28th minute when Pitchford couldn’t deal with Shae Hickey’s right-wing cross into the box and Lo played the ball into the path of Kostas Kanakaris, but he blazed high over the bar when confronted by an open goal.

Ten minutes into the second period, Pitchford failed to hold a low cross from the left by Kanakaris, but the keeper recovered in the nick of time and managed to punch the ball clear while lying on the ground before Lo could nip in.

The winner came in the 78th minute from a Scott free-kick from the left. The ball eluded everyone in the box and Kanakaris materialised on the right and nodded the ball past Pitchford to make it 2-1 for South Hobart and earn them a ticket to the final, where they will meet Clarence United, who downed Burnie United 4-3 away at Montello the same afternoon.


· New Town Eagles coach, George Krambousanos, said:

“We scored a great goal in the first five minutes and then we just gave them a goal. It was just stupidity what happened there.

“You can’t have players running backwards. They’ve got to be focused on what’s going on. Two of my players were just running backwards and the ball was there and that was the biggest mistake.

“That let them back in the game. It was a hard-fought game. We had our share and they had their share.

“We stopped them from playing their pretty football in the first half, but they started to play it in the second half, in the first twenty minutes.

“But then again, we stopped them.

“A good goal for them. Congratulations, and I hope they go further and do well.”

· South Hobart coach, Ken Morton, said:

“I think it was a typical semi-final match. It was hard fought from start to finish and we had to fight for everything we got.

“In the second half, there was no doubt that we controlled the pace of the game. We had a lot of good possession and I was always confident that we could get one. I would have preferred two to finish it off, but, having said that, the boys did well.

“And, we defended the long ball well. I mean, I’ve watched Eagles play in the last two or three weeks in their games and they hurt teams with the long ball and a knock-on, and McKeown is bloody quick and he’s sharp and he gets in there, so we were happy to come away with that. It’s a good result for us today.”

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