Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Clarence Zebras turn form guide upside down and beat Olympia

Photo:  Clarence Zebras' Jayden Hey rises for a header in the Olympia penalty area [PlessPix]

(NPL Tasmania, Wentworth Park, Saturday, 18 July 2020)

Clarence Zebras 1 (L Burt 57)
Olympia Warriors 0

HT:  0-0   Att:  275   Ref:  B Kopra

Clarence Zebras:  O’Connell  -   Hatcher, Byuntae, Smithies-Sharples, Dillon  -  Walsh, Hey, Hills, Thompson  -  Burt, Cook  (Subs:  Ackerley, Hill, Joshua Jones [GK], Mundy, Snell)

Olympia Warriors:  Randall  -  Gorrie, Vandermey, Curtis, O’Connor  -  D Brown, Mearns, Feral, C Brown  -  Ryan, Hamlett  (Subs:  Allan, Hoysted [GK], Pacey-Mayne, Wadawu, Lufti)

Photo:  Declan Brown controls the ball while under pressure [PlessPix]

The first day of the delayed NPL Tasmania season saw a huge upset when Clarence Zebras beat Olympia Warriors 1-0 at home at Wentworth Park.

Clarence Zebras had been beaten the previous week in the Lakoseljac Cup, while Olympia Warriors hit double figures in their game in the same competition.

Predicting on the basis of those cup games was fraught with danger, and so it turned out.

Clarence Zebras were a compact and determined team and had a definite game plan, while the Warriors seemed a group of individuals who presumed that they would win.  Man-for-man, Olympia probably had the superior players, but it’s often team work that wins matches.

There is a place for individual contributions, though, and several Clarence Zebras players stood out for their contributions to a team effort.

Photo:  Olympia goalkeeper Darby Randall snatches the ball ahead of Clarence Zebras' Lachie Burt [PlessPix]

Young goalkeeper Nick O’Connell, who had a nightmare last week in the Lakoseljac Cup, put those bad dreams behind him and inspired his team-mates with an excellent performance.

Fullback Riley Dillon put in one his best shifts since joining Zebras from Victoria a couple of seasons ago.  He was physically strong and produced a no-frills, no-nonsense performance.  If it was safer to clear with a long ball, he did it.  That took pressure off the defence.  If he had time to consider the situation and pass the ball, he did so.  His calm head gave confidence to his team-mates and there was rarely a moment of panic.

Olympia’s coach, Andrew Brown, had warned before the game that a wounded Zebra is a dangerous animal.  He did not consider a win for his side was a certainty, and so it turned out.  His players may have been extremely confident, but over confidence was their undoing.

Olympia president George Mamacas was a worried man before the interval.  He walked nervously around the ground and he could sense that an Olympia victory was far from certain.

Photo:  Clarence Zebras' Ryan Cook about to be tackled by Olympia's Jake Vandermey [PlessPix]

The Warriors missed tall defender Lucas Hill.  A knee ligament injury kept him side-lined.  They certainly could have used him.

The other factor in this defeat was the profligacy of Olympia’s strikers.  They had enough chances to win, but they had an off-night and missed all of these.  Sometimes it was sheer bad luck, while on other occasions it was poor finishing.

Having said that, Clarence Zebras also had numerous opportunities to score but managed just the one, decisive goal.

Callum Brown was unlucky for Olympia midway through the first half when his shot was deflected over the bar, while minutes later, Lachie Burt fired narrowly wide for Clarence Zebras.

A deflection off Olympia defender Lachlan O’Connor almost resulted in a Clarence Zebras goal, but the ball rolled narrowly wide of the left-hand post.

In the 34th minute, O’Connell saved superbly from Ben Hamlett, who had scored five goals for Olympia in last week’s cup game.

A major turning point came 9 minutes before half-time when Olympia’s Callum Brown was sent off after collecting a second yellow card for a rash challenge.  He has received his first yellow on minutes before.

Clarence Zebras used their numerical advantage to good effect in the second half and shortly after the resumption, Burt should have scored when a slow Darby Randall  fumbled with the ball at his feet and gave possession to Burt, who mis-hit the ball wide.

A few minutes later, Burt made amends and made it third time lucky when he ran onto a short pass inside the box before beating Randall and slotting the ball into the corner of the net to make it 1-0 for the home side.

Photo:  Olympia's Lachlan O'Connor about to tackle Clarence Zebras' Jayden Hey [PlessPix]

Sparks flew for the remainder of the match, but neither side could score goals.  Scoring casualties was a different matter, however.

The strong and aggressive Olympia centre-forward Jack Ryan put two of the Clarence Zebras out of the game.  An elbow collected Kane Hatcher as the two challenged for possession.  Hatcher, who didn’t know where he was for a while, had to be replaced.  Later, a Ryan tackle also put defender Ahn Byuntae out of the match.  The Korean hopped off on one leg and it was later revealed that his tibia was fractured in two places.  I am not accusing Ryan of malice in either incident and the referee did not punish him.  Ryan is your typical old-fashioned English-style centre-forward.  He is reminiscent in some ways of Englishman Bruce Ward, who played so successfully for Juventus in the 1980s.  Ryan and Ward were capable of scoring brilliant goals and when they sensed a half-chance they’d run through a brick wall to get to it.

Ryan’s bravery cost him in the end, too.  He sustained an injury to his left ankle and was unable to put any weight on it as he hobbled off the field with the assistance of Olympia support staff.

The win was a much-needed one for Clarence Zebras, who had been in danger of going into a tail spin so early in the season.

The loss was a reality check for Olympia, who now know they are not as good as some thought they were.

Next week’s games will be interesting as Clarence Zebras welcome visitors South Hobart to Wentworth Park and Olympia travel to KGV Park to take on Glenorchy Knights.

Photo:  Olympia's Adam Gorrie in possession as Clarence Zebras' Sam Hills challenges [PlessPix]


Pete Zelic said...

Olympia were lucky not to be down 1 in the 3rd minute when Hatcher hit a pearler from outside the box just inches wide of the post as well , like you said Walter many many chances for both sides but the win went to the team that really wanted it for sure .I thought Dillon was just outstanding and although he missed a few opportunities Burt was just non stop all night and really stepped up . I don’t think it was any fluke and building on that performance the Zebras won’t be as bad as the forum experts have all predicted

Anonymous said...

Zebras will be worse than expected.

Anonymous said...

Bitter Olympic supporter?

Richo said...

From what I could see, I thought both Boro & CZ played to their strengths, kept it simple and were well organised teams who worked hard for each other. Examples of good coaching and a positive togetherness and spirit. This is what the game's about..

Anonymous said...

Why would Riverside Olympic care?

Anonymous said...

Riverside Olympic supporters would not care either way.

Anonymous said...

I am Riverside supporter and I do not care. Funny comment really.

Anonymous said...

So what's the "new song sung" after the win. Curious to know

Anonymous said...

Aww listen to the cry babies lol, who cares if they sang Old Macdonalds Farm pal ZEBRAS BEAT OLYMPIA that’s all that’s written now

Anonymous said...

Not sure what Olympias new song is they haven't got to sing it yet

Anonymous said...

Walter I’m not sure exactly how “Ryan’s Bravery” cost him anything , after watching that many would call it “”Karma””

Anonymous said...

If i had meant riverside I would have put that.

Anonymous said...

Olympic can only mean Riverside. What drugs are you on?

Anonymous said...

Amazed to hear about a few in quarantine from Victoria Ready to play for South Hobart for free just because they must be bored over there and they are such charitable guys , love that type of enthusiasm to help a Non Paying club out , must really inspire all those kids promised the world that started off so good for Souths in the cup games but then again maybe it’s Nick that would be one of the poor boys sitting watching the new boys out on the field , I very much doubt it ,, just my opinion but I reckon the first club that brings anyone here and there is any infections from them and it totally stuffs our season again should be banned for 10 years

Anonymous said...

Simple: Keep the Victorians out. I for one don't want anyone from Victoria coming here unless they are Tasmanians coming home.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4.51.
Boy are you messed up !

Anonymous said...

Exactly ,just keep the Victorians out of here