Monday, February 11, 2019

Zebras thrash Lions in pre-season friendly

Photo:  Zebras keeper Sam Whatman and Kingborough's Nick Cuthbertson contest a high ball at a corner [PlessPix]

Hobart Zebras thumped their hosts, Kingborough Lions United, 7-2 at Lightwood Park this evening in a pre-season friendly.

Zebras went behind to a 12th-minute goal by Danny Cowen, but hit back immediately and led 3-1 at the interval.

They added four more goals in the second half, while the home side managed only one.

This game was more than just a practice match for Zebras.  It was also a  psychological exercise for David Smith’s team, who had lost 5-0 to the Lions at Lightwood Park last season.

Photo:  The Lions' Nic Zammit brings down Zebras' Mathew Sanders [PlessPix]

Zebras beat Lions 4-3 and 3-1 at KGV Park, but I got the impression Smith wanted to expunge memories of that heavy defeat at Lightwood Park last season to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

It may have been a psychological exercise to give Zebras confidence for the coming campaign.  Resplendent in their official white away strip, they certainly looked as if they were about to play a league match.

The game was a huge success for Zebras, both in terms of the score-line and in the confidence it must have given the players.

Zebras cancelled out Cowen’s opener for the Lions within 3 minutes as Mathew Sanders nodded down a cross to the feet of Matthew Pace, who smashed the ball home from close range.

Photo:  Zebras' Luke Bighin tries to deal with the Lions' Keenan Douce and Nic Zammit [PlessPix]

In the 22nd minute, Riley Dillon’s low shot from the left nestled in the bottom of the net at the far right-hand post to give Zebras the lead.

Dillon, who seems comfortable as a marauding left-fullback, has had a fine pre-season.  Not only is he scoring goals, he is tallying up quite a few assists.

In the 41st minute, Sanders fed Adam McKeown, who made it 3-1.

Zebras increased their lead to 4-1 in the 51st minute when an attempted clearance by Kingborough goalkeeper Hunter Harrison  -  the American custodian had replaced Mitch Stalker shortly after the start of the second half  -  rebounded off the onrushing Pace and flew into the net.

Midway through the second half, Pace exhibited unbelievable acceleration to win the ball and round the keeper to make it 5-1.

Photo:  Kingborough's Danny Cowen tries to stop Zebras' Lachie Burt [PlessPix]

In the 71st minute, a precise pass from midfield by Nicky Edwards picked out Sanders, who had only the keeper to beat and did so to take the score-line to 6-1.

With 10 minutes remaining, Keenan Douce netted a consolation goal for Kingborough, placing a fine shot low and inside the left-hand post to make it 4 goals the difference.

Jayden Hey completed the scoring with a crisp shot from an acute angle on the right from inside the box to make the final score 7-2 for the visitors.

Zebras managed to overcome their tendency to be caught off-side, but they still fiddle too much with the ball at the back and either lose possession or misplace passes when trying to play out from the back.

They seem to like playing square balls across the back in order to retain possession, but for no useful purpose.

Photo:  Kingborough's Joel Schuth outjumps Zebras' Mathew Sanders [PlessPix]

They would be much better off playing long balls forward and utilising the speed of players such as Pace, Edwards, Ackerley and Burt.  Time and time again, Jan Charuza, for example, had acres of space in front of him.  He could have moved forward and then picked out his forwards with long passes.  Instead, he would play square balls to fellow defenders or back passes to his keeper.  This merely enables the opposing team to press high.

Kingborough coach Greg Calvert would have learned a lot from this game.

Both Kingborough goalkeepers need to be safer, while Christian Di Martino was a midfield enforcer and his tackling was ferocious.

Cowen showed he can snap up half-chances, but the defence can be vulnerable when confronted by speedy attackers.

Calvert must go back to the drawing board.  He still has time as the start of the league campaign is still just under three weeks away.

Photo:  Kingborough's Christian Di Martino tackles Zebras' Jan Charuza [PlessPix] 

Photo:  Zebras' Chase Clarke (left) is confronted by Kingborough's midfield enforcer Christian Di Martino [PlessPix]


Anonymous said...

Yes kingborough still work in progress.would have learned alot about his players in certain positions.

Anonymous said...

Lions defending so deep would have assisted the Zebras constant offsides.
This created other problems which the score highlighted.

Anonymous said...

I think the linesmen helped with Zebras offside issues too. ;) There seemed to be a couple of offsides missed in the build up to goals.

Notwithstanding, Zebras attack was much devastatingly quick last night and they were worthy winners.
Boro had some nice passages of play but they certainly need to tighten up defensively.

Anonymous said...

Line Ups Walter?

Anonymous said...

When Clarence loses everyone is ready to slaughter them looking at the comments on here no one has anything bad to say about Boro.. GARBAGE PERFORMANCE!! No better than Clarence you lot are