Monday, August 5, 2019

The real Zebras front up at Warrior Park and take the points

Photo:  Joffrey N'Koso can't believe his luck as he rolls home the opening goal [PlessPix]

(NPL Tasmania, Warrior Park, Sunday, 4 August 2019)

Olympia Warriors 2 (J N’Koso 4, L Hill 65)
Hobart Zebras 4 (N Edwards 5, M Pace 36, 73, M Sanders 45+2)

HT:  1-3   Att:  120   Ref:  N Coad

Olympia Warriors:  McDonald  -  Cook, Stevens, Kurtz, Thompson (Curtis 56)  -  Mearns (Yost 79), Ladic, Hill, Scott  -  Ryan, N’Koso (Ait Mamaar 79)  (Subs not used:  Hills, Randall)

Hobart Zebras:  Whatman  -  Yonezawa, Charuza, Little, Muller  -  Hey, Huigsloot, Walsh  -  Pace (Wilson 93), Sanders, Edwards (McKeown 80)  (Subs not used:  Fagg, J Jones)

Photo:  Zebras' Mathew Sanders worries Olympia's Ryan Cook, Paul Stevens and keeper Kyle McDonald [PlessPix]

The real Hobart Zebras showed up for this clash against Olympia Warriors and came away with a merited 4-2 win.

They had their foibles and were sometimes error prone, but they also showed an ability to finish chances, some of which were gifted to them by a shaky Warriors defence.

There were some fine individual performances and a high work-rate by some players.  It was not unusual, for example, to see both teams’ centre-forwards  -  Jack Ryan in Olympia’s case, and Mathew Sanders for Zebras  -  helping out in defence.

The classic goalkeeping ‘clanger’ saw Zebras fall behind after just 4 minutes.  Sam Whatman chose to play with his feet and his attempted clearance went straight into Joffrey N’Koso’s outstretched foot and the Olympia striker rolled the ball into an empty net.

To his credit, Zebras coach David Smith did not unleash his fury at the goalkeeper.  Instead, he motioned to him to keep his head up and get on with it, which he did.

Photo:  The battle of the giants  -  Zebras' Jan Charuza and Olympia's Jack Ryan come together [PlessPix]

And, Zebras were level within a minute through the speedy Nicky Edwards and it was fresh start for both sides.

Zebras were gifted the lead 10 minutes before the break when Paul Stevens misjudged a soft header back to his keeper and Matthew Pace nipped in and rounded the keeper with the ball and rolled it home to give the visitors a 2-1 advantage.

In stoppage time at the end of the half, Sanders made it 3-1.  Olympia keeper Kyle McDonald parried Luke Huigsloot’s header, but straight to the feet of Sanders, who gleefully tucked the ball home.

Olympia battled hard in the second half to peg back their rivals, but managed only one goal.  That came midway through the half when Jordan Scott’s corner from the right was dummied by Ryan Cook to Lucas Hill, who smashed it home in a crowded penalty area.  The goal seemed to vindicate coach Rob Clarke’s decision to play Hill in midfield rather than at the back.

Photo:  Zebras' Jayden Hey clashes with Olympia's Jonathon Ladic [PlessPix]

Olympia continued to create chances but failed to score.  They did everything but score.  N’Koso beat Whatman to one ball but lobbed it onto the roof of the net.  Whatman saved superbly from Ryan.  Ryan headed against the crossbar.  It was all go, but with no reward.

It was in the 73rd minute that Zebras restored their two-goal buffer.  A quick counter-attack saw Sanders switch play from wide on the left to the right, where Pace gained possession and advanced on goal before drilling a magnificent shot past McDonald and into the roof of the net to make it 4-2 and earn Zebras welcome 3 points and a huge dose of pride.  At last, they seemed to have regained some self-belief, much to the relief of their supporters.

It was a disaster for Olympia.  This defeat has all but handed the title to Devonport.

The game was preceded by a minute’s silence in memory of Bill Plomaritis, a founding member of Olympia and a former player, who passed away on Friday.  He was the father of leading referee, Stratos Plomaritis.

Photo:  Olympia's Jordan Scott (No.4) tangles with Zebras' Jayden Hey [PlessPix]

Photo:  The two teams observe a minute's silence before the game in memory of the late Bill Plomaritis,a founding member of Olympia [PlessPix] 

Photo:  Olympia's Joffrey N'Koso surround by a sea of pink Zebras [PlessPix]


Anonymous said...

Walter maybe it wasn’t the real Zebras that turned up ?

Anonymous said...

Walter, what makes you suggest this is the ‘real’ zebras. A result like this seems like an outlier in their relatively poor season, the ‘real’ zebras would be the team that has performed poorly throughout the season. I may be wrong.

Anonymous said...