Monday, July 20, 2020

Clarence Zebras earn 3 points in surprise opening result

Photo:  Launceston City goalkeeper Lachlan Clark takes a cross despite the presence of South Hobart's Kasper Hallam [PlessPix]

I have often said that one of the reasons football is so popular is because of its unpredictability.

That was borne out again this Saturday on the opening day of the 2020 NPL Tasmania season.

Who would have predicted that Clarence Zebras would beat Olympia Warriors?

Clarence Zebras won 1-0 at Wentworth Park and it could have been by a greater margin.

The winning goal came in the 57th minute from Lachie Burt, who might easily have had a hat-trick on the night.

Burt should have scored when he dispossessed Olympia goalkeeper Darby Randall, but his hurried shot went wide.  On another occasion, he fired wide when he might have scored.

Photo:  Ryan Cook on the attack for Clarence Zebras against Olympia Warriors [PlessPix]

Olympia had their chances.  One of the Brown twins clipped the top of the crossbar midway through the first half, while Ben Hamlett steered a simple header wide.

Clarence Zebras were well served at the back by Riley Dillon, who led by example.  He adopted safety-first strategies and did not hesitate to clear the ball long if the situation required.

Clarence Zebras young goalkeeper, Nick O’Connell, redeemed himself after his poor performance last week in the Lakoseljac Cup.  He was unbeatable against Olympia and saved on the ground and in the air, including one superb save from Hamlett.  He was brave and reliable and inspired his team-mates with his performance.

Photo:  Olympia skipper Jake Vandermey heads clear against Clarence Zebras [PlessPix]

Olympia coach, Andrew Brown, had been wisely cautious about his team’s chances before the game.

His son, Callum Brown was sent off in the 37th minute after a rash challenge that earned him a second yellow card.  From then on it was uphill for the Warriors.

The home side stood firm and took the 3 points from the opening league game.

The attrition rate was high, though.  Fullback Kane Hatcher was concussed and had to be replaced after collecting an elbow to the head in a challenge by Olympia centre-forward Jack Ryan.

Ryan himself had to be replaced near the end because of what seemed an injury to his left ankle.

Clarence Zebras defender Ahn Byungtae was also forced off before the end after a tackle by Ryan.  He had to hop off on one leg and it was later revealed he had suffered two fractures of the tibia.

Photo:  South Hobart's Nick Morton is cautioned by referee Stratos Plomaritis [PlessPix]

Reigning champions Devonport City had a narrow 1-0 win away to Riverside Olympic.  The North-West Coast outfit can thank goalkeeper Nathan Pitchford, who produced a world-class save to ensure them of 3 points.

Launceston City, who bundled Devonport out of the Lakoseljac Cup last weekend, were somewhat of a disappointment as they went down 3-2 away to South Hobart.

Sam Tooze, one of the most diminutive centre-forwards in the local game, netted twice for South Hobart against two large burley defenders in Lindsay Millington and Alex Rossetto.  Tooze’s pace and mobility simply proved too much for City.

Kasper Hallam had given South Hobart a 1-0 lead at the interval.  In the 37th minute, he outpaced Charlie Dyer on the right and cut inside before beating substitute goalkeeper Daniel Nash with a low shot from an acute angle.  Nash had replaced the injured Lachlan Clark a mere 4 minutes earlier.

Photo:  South Hobart goalkeeper Mark Moncur saves at the feet of Launceston City's Jarrod Linger [PlessPix]

Tooze gave South Hobart a 3-0 lead with two goals in 3 minutes early in the second half and the home side appeared to be coasting to victory.

To the visitors’ credit, they didn’t throw in the towel and goals by Samuel Ridgard in the 72nd minute and Yasin Mohammadi in the 79th minute made it 3-2 and everything to play for.  Mohammadi was making his debut and his goal was an unstoppable half-volley from 16 metres that gave keeper Mark Moncur no chance.

South Hobart held on for the 3 points and showed that they will be in the title hunt despite losing most of their team from last year.

In the remaining game of the round, Kingborough Lions United scored early on against the visiting Glenorchy Knights through Davis Bryan and a long-range free-kick by Chris Downes.

Photo:  South Hobart's Bradley Lakoseljac gets past Launceston City's Gedimines Krusa [PlessPix]

The Lions were never headed after that and the score was 2-0 at the end.

Adam McKeown made his debut for the Lions after signing from Clarence Zebras.

The Knights’ new signing from Olympia, Joffrey N’Koso, ws unable to be registered in time for this game.  How the Knights could have used him.

They can next weekend when they meet Olympia Warriors.  N’Koso will be keen to cause damage to his former side and show them what they have missed out on.

Photo:  Launceston City's Lindsay Millington has his hands full stopping South Hobart's Kasper Hallam [PlessPix]


Anonymous said...

Great to see a 45 year old get a run over a 20 year old first class development at South .

Aldo Luciano said...

Walter your summary of the Zebras V Olympia shock was spot on , after 15 minutes I could tell there was something in the wind and it was going to be closer than expected as was the case .I must congratulate Clarence for although the lack of big names they stuck together and played with big hearts which proved the difference and they deserved to win by more .As for that kid that was injured Kane Hatcher, there’s a great little story about this lad on football central that most would be inspired by . These are the kids that make the game what it is .

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about the fact nearly every other player was under 20. What a Muppet.