Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Simon hat-trick downs South Hobart

Photo:  South Hobart and the Mariners enter the pitch at Lightwood Park [PlessPix]

(Friendly, Lightwood Park, Tuesday, 10 September 2019)

South Hobart 1 (B Lakoseljac 52)
Central Coast Mariners 4 (M Simon 27 pen, 49, 50, T Oar 55)

HT:  0-1   Att:  500   Ref:  N Coad

South Hobart:  Wright  -  Gorrie, Bowman, Ludford, Herweynen  -  Foley, Feral, Lakoseljac  -  Kemp. Hamlet, Berezansky  (Subs:  Moncur [GK], Cornelius, Attfield, R Morton, Juju, Hallam, Tooze)

Central Coast Mariners:  Birighitti  -  Esposito, Fox, Miller, Clisby  -  Skotadis, Nisbet  -  Majok, McGlinchey, Oar  -  Simon  (Subs:  Gordon, Gallifoco, Duric, Murray, Pearce [GK], Tongyik, Melling, Shabow, Ruiz-Diaz, Hatch)

Photo:  South's Declan Foley tries to grab the Mariners' Matt Simon [PlessPix]

The attendance at Lightwood Park was probably the largest I’ve seen for a football match at that venue.

I am told that because it was technically a game hosted by South Hobart, the club had to pay Kingborough Council $60 for hiring the ground as the Lions couldn’t rent it as it wasn’t their game.

Tommy Oar, the former Socceroo, was as busy as a beaver in this match.  He was unlucky not to score in the 13th minute when his low drive hit the inside of the right-hand post and rebounded across goal, striking South Hobart keeper Graeme Wright and almost rolling over the line.  Wright managed to recover in a flash and grasp the ball before it rolled over the line for what would have been an own-goal.

Oar also made a goal for Matt Simon and scored the fourth himself in a tidy performance.

Simon netted a hat-trick and is starting to get into the scoring groove again, which the Mariners will need when they play their FFA Cup match next week, and when the A-League kicks off next month.

His tall and powerful frame threatened danger throughout the game, but centre-back Hugh Ludford had his measure at times.

Photo:  Matt Simon scored a hat-trick for the Mariners [PlessPix]

Winger Abraham Majok was unlucky not to score.  He brought out the best in keeper Graeme Wright early in the match and also went close another couple of times.

Simon gave the Mariners the lead in the 27th minute with a penalty, awarded for Jack Bowman’s foul on the marauding fullback Jacob Esposito, one of the Mariners’ triallists on this visit to the Apple Isle.

That was the only goal of the first half, but the Mariners were clearly on top.

The difference between the sides was in speed and one-touch play.  The Mariners were fast and at times their passing was almost telepathic.  They always managed to get that vital touch in the tightest of situations and get the ball to a team-mate.

South Hobart, on the other hand, found it difficult to retain possession and their first touch was often inaccurate.  Ben Hamlett was obviously carrying an injury and this may have slowed him down and made him reluctant to shoot.  He would have been better off shooting early instead of delaying and then being surrounded by two or three defenders.  He is not known as “The Hammer” for nothing as he has netted some cracking goals from range.

He did, however, provide the assist for Bradley Lakoseljac’s finely taken goal.  The excellent Sam Berezansky, who, in the second half often ran rings around experienced professional defenders, raced down the right and delivered the ball into the box, where Hamlett played it back to the edge of the box.  Lakoseljac didn’t flinch and sent a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner of the net as if he were pocketing a billiard ball.

Photo:  Former Socceroo Tommy Oar netted the final goal for Mariners [PlessPix]

Hugh Ludford demonstrated South's reluctance to shoot, too.  At one point in the second half he had made a great run forward and then, when just outside the box and with a shooting opportunity before him, he chose to pass wide to a team-mate.

Kobe Kemp had a good game and forced one great save from Mark Birighitti, who had to extend himself to tip the ball over the bar.

Two goals in as many minutes shortly after the resumption by Simon sank South Hobart.

In the 49th minute, Oar provided a cross from the left and Simon stooped to nod it home and make it 2-0.

A minute later, Simon attacked down the left and beat Wright at his near post to add his side’s third goal.

Lakoseljac’s goal in the 52nd minute made it 3-1 to make the score more respectable and it probably also gave Mariners’ coach Alen Stajcic pause for thought as it was the second goal his side had conceded on their visit to Tasmania.

Three minutes later, Simon virtually earned a penalty as he was upended in the box, but referee Nathan Coad intelligently waved play on as he could see the unmarked Oar was about to gain possession and score.  He did both to make it 4-1.

South Hobart’s Loic Feral was impressive.  He matched it physically with the visitors and played some intelligent passes.

Towards the end, South Hobart made several substitutions, bringing on young and largely untried players to give them the experience of having played against an A-League team.

Central Coast Mariners coach, Alen Stajcic, said:

“It was a bit patchy and there’s a lot to work on.  Some better patches in the second half, I thought.  We moved the ball around a little bit quicker and had a little more width and got some better balls into the box.  It was a big improvement on the first half.

“It’s been a great trip for us with a couple of competitive games and that was good to see.  Every game you play you get more cohesion and learn more about each other and about the players.  I think the players have had a great time off the pitch as well spending five or six days together now, so it’s been a great trip.”

South Hobart coach, Ken Morton, said:

“I think the effort was very good from our boys and the commitment was good.  It’s very difficult for us at this stage of season patching everybody up and trying to get them out there.

“But, it’s been a great experience for the club and for our players, young and old, and I think Tasmania should be proud of the way the State team played on Sunday, and again the way we played tonight, with great courage, and it’s very encouraging for the game.”

Photo:  Lightwood Park just before the game [PlessPix]

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