Sunday, January 20, 2019

Fascinating contests in pre-season triple-header yesterday

Photo:  North Sunshine Eagles squad before ysterday's game against Hobart Zebras [PlessPix]

A goal just after the interval by Simon Tolli gave the visiting North Sunshine Eagles a 1-0 win over Hobart Zebras in a pre-season friendly at South Hobart Oval yesterday.

Eagles were late in arriving in Tasmania and only got to the ground an hour before kick-off.

They had the better of the opening half and missed three good chances, through Kazuki Okada, Ardi Ahmeti and Yoshitatsu Itano.

Photo:  Simon Tolli hits the winner for North Sunshine Eagles [PlessPix]

In the 53rd minute, Eagles produced a fine attack down the right which cut through the Zebras rearguard and Tolli was left with an easy strike past Zebras keeper Sam Whatman to give the Victorians the lead.

Zebras rallied somewhat after that and Matthew Pace should have equalised when faced with only keeper Zaim Zeneli to beat, but he shot straight at the goalkeeper from close range.

Substitute Lachie Burt was then presented with two good chances but shot wide on both occasions.

Photo:  Sunshine's Darren Lewis (left) tries to block a shot from Zebras' fly-in from Melbourne, Mathew Sanders [PlessPix]

In the final minute, Eagles almost added a second goal when they broke free down the right, but a last-ditch tackle by Zebras saved the day.

In yesterday’s NPL Tasmania friendly, Jack Ryan, Olympia Warriors’ English import, scored all four goals as his side beat South Hobart 4-2.

Photo:  Jack Ryan is congratulated by his Olympia team-mates after scoring against South Hobart [PlessPix]

The English centre-forward produced a powerful, intelligent display, but he will need to show a little more discipline once the league campaign begins as he was sometimes in trouble with referee Charles White for arguing or for kicking the ball away.

Given this was a friendly, White merely spoke to Ryan and warned him.  Had it been a league match, he would surely have earned a yellow card, if not two.

Photo:  Referee Charles White speaks to Jack Ryan about unnecessarily kicking the ball away [PlessPix]

Olympia took the lead in the 24th minute when Ryan slotted home a penalty, awarded when Adam Gorrie brought down Joffrey N’Koso.

South Hobart equalised in the 36th minute.  Bradley Lakoseljac’s excellent header was turned against the crossbar by keeper Kyle McDonald, but before the Olympia defenders could react, Ben Hamlett smashed the loose ball home from close range.

Ryan restored Olympia’s lead in the 59th minute when he was fed down the inside-right channel and he finished with a low shot that beat keeper Kieran Brown and lodged inside the far left-hand post.

Photo:  Olympia keeper Kyle McDonald saves at the feet of South Hobart's Pajari Sculthorpe [PlessPix]

Poor defending by Olympia enabled Pajari Sculthorpe to equalise, stroking the ball home into an empty net from point-blank range after South Hobart had unlocked Olympia’s defence with an attack down the left flank.

Two clinical headers by Ryan in the 75th and 82nd minutes revealed South Hobart’s aerial frailties at the back and gave Olympia an unassailable 4-2 lead.

Sculthorpe should have ensured a closer finish, but he missed an absolute sitter 5 minytes from the end.

Photo:  Kasper Hallam, in obvious pain, is led from the field by South Hobart assistant coaches Daniel Brown and Brendon Lakoseljac [PlessPix]

South Hobart, apart from losing this match, were dealt another injury blow when promising young talent Kasper Hallam suffered a broken collarbone in a collision with an opponent.

He will not need to undergo surgery, but the injury will take 6 to 8 weeks to mend.

In an earlier pre-season friendly against Hobart Zebras at KGV Park, key South Hobart defender Connor Schmidt broke his leg.  He will miss the entire season.

Olympia appear a credible force on this display, but they will need to tighten up at the back.

South Hobart were without key midfielder Loic Feral, but central defender Oscar Thomas made an appearance for the first time this season.

Photo:  Zebras keeper Nathan Reid is beaten by a South Hobart penalty in the Challenge League game.  Reid had saved the penalty but the kick was ordered to be re-taken by the referee. [PlessPix]

The triple-header program was opened by a Challenge League game between South Hobart and Hobart Zebras.

South Hobart completely outclassed Zebras, scoring three times in each half to run out 6-0 winners.

Sam Tooze netted twice, while Sam Berezansky, Mason Atfield, Ned Goodsir and Samson Juju scored a goal apiece.

Former senior stalwart and captain Hugh Ludford played for South Hobart, which could be an indication of a senior comeback as coach Ken Morton tries to stiffen up his senior side’s defence, which is proving somewhat vulnerable.

Photo:  Action from the Challenge League game between South Hobart (in red) and Hobart Zebras [PlessPix]

Zebras were never in the hunt and will need to show dramatic improvement.

Adam McKeown played for Zebras and appears to have recovered well from a torn Achilles tendon injury which ended his season prematurely last year.

[Detailed match report later and more photos.  Click on photos to see large version.]


Anonymous said...

Enjoyed watching Vic state side thought zebs did better when made changes n4 kept giving ball away and you can't do that against higher level.the more technical players you have passing & first touch you able to stop giving the ball away

Anonymous said...

Great just what the comp needs Another Pommy with an attitude !

Anonymous said...

Zebras first 11 is great but lack depth from the bench. I know its only early days but they will need to strengthen their bench if they are to win the title.
Their challenge team has a lot of work to do after watching the game v south.
South had some players who can still play 16s and didn't look out of place in which one of them scored a cracker of a goal.
I Loved watching the Albanian team as they played some nice football, easy on the eye.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous George better improve his contract. King Kenny would've been on the blower after that display. Terrific display

Anonymous said...

Lol, Love the photo caption of Kaspar Hallam in ( obvious pain ) pissing themselves laughing ? Think he’s just holding his stomach maybe ? :)

Anonymous said...

Agree with the comment on Zebras' depth. Mckeown, Burt, Ackerley and the rest in the Challenge team just won;t cut it in NPL anymore.

Looks like another year of Zebras struggling in the youth/underpinning comps