Monday, July 20, 2020

South Hobart win, but is coach Morton playing mind games in certain respects?

Photo:  Launceston City's Robert Gerrard controls the ball ahead of South Hobart's Kobe Kemp.  Gerrard had one assist but did not have the type of influence that South Hobart coach Ken Morton feared. [PlessPix]

(NPL Tasmania, South Hobart Oval, Saturday, 18 July 2020)

South Hobart 3 (K Hallam 37, S Tooze 51, 53)
Launceston City 2 (S Ridgard 72, Y Mohammadi 79)

HT:  1-0   Att:  120   Ref:  S Plomaritis

South Hobart:  Moncur  -  Herweynen, R Morton, Kibler, Larby  -  Lakoseljac, Kemp, N Morton  -  Hallam, Tooze, Berezansky  (Subs:  Reid [GK], Attfield, D Foley, Walpole]

Launceston City:  Clark  -  Oh, Rossetto, Millington, Dyer  -  Linger, Thorne, Ridgard, Gerrard, Krusa  -  Mies  (Subs:  Degetto, Mohammadi, Nash [GK], Simeoni]

Photo:  South Hobart's Kasper Hallam takes a tumble after tangling with Launceston City's Matthew Oh [PlessPix]

South Hobart collected an invaluable 3 points in their opening game of the truncated NPL Tasmania series with a 3-2 win over visitors Launceston City at South Hobart Oval on Saturday.

But, there must be some unease in the South Hobart camp.  They appeared to be cruising to a comfortable victory as they led 3-0 with less than an hour gone.  They then conceded two goals in quick succession near the end and just ran out winners by 3-2.

City’s two goals were excellent, especially the second one in the 79th minute by Yasin Mohammadi.  Noah Mies flicked the ball to him from the right and the debutant scored with a blistering half-volley that gave veteran keeper Mark Moncur no chance.

Moncur had been preferred in goal to youngster Nathan Reid, signed recently from Clarence Zebras.  Reid has played only half a game in the seniors.  Last week, in the Lakoseljac Cup, he travelled to Launceston with the team but warmed the bench for the entire 90 minutes.

Photo:  South Hobart's American centre-half Patrick Kibler tackles Launceston City's Samuel Ridgard [PlessPix]

South Hobart are a young side  -  with the exception of Moncur, of course  -  and they looked dangerous from the start.

Nick Morton is back in action after suffering a badly broken leg late last season.  The suspension of this year’s competition until now was a Godsend for him as he missed very little competitive football before rejoining the fray.  He earned a yellow card in the second half and almost scored in the dying seconds when City’s substitute goalkeeper from Sydney, Daniel Nash, did very well to turn his fierce shot over the bar.

The South Hobart attackers were mobile and fast and came close to scoring on several occasions against a City defence that appeared uneasy but which had held out Devonport City last weekend to win their Lakoseljac Cup tie 2-1.

Photo:  Launceston City goalkeeper Lachlan Clark returns to the dressing room nursing what appeared to a thigh or groin injury [PlessPix]

City keeper Lachlan Clark had to be replaced after just 32 minutes after appearing to suffer a groin strain.

Nash came on for his debut and almost immediately conceded a goal.  In the 37th minute, Kasper Hallam was put away on the right and Charlie Dyer was unable to deal with his pace.  Hallam made a beeline for the corner of the penalty box and unleashed a low shot that beat Nash and out the home side 1-0 up.

South went close on other occasions, too, and might easily have led by more than just one goal at the break.  In the 44th minute, Sam Berezansky squandered a good chance with only the keeper to beat, while seconds before the half-time whistle he forced Nash to make a good save.

City’s best first-half chance came when a low cross from the left was missed by the South Hobart defend and the ball fell perfectly for Gedimines Krusa, but his powerful shot was blocked.

Photo:  Launceston City's Charlie Dyer tries to block Bradley Lakoseljac's pass to South Hobart team-mate Kasper Hallam [PlessPix]

The second half began with a chance for City, but Moncur was up to the challenge.  First, he blocked an effort by Mies and then watched with relief as Samuel Ridgard blasted the rebound over the bar.

South Hobart showed how dangerous they could be on the counter-attack when the diminutive Sam Tooze netted in the 51st minute to give his side a 2-0 lead.

Two minutes later, Tooze struck again following a left-wing cross and at 3-0 South looked as if they would coast home.

City rallied, however, and South’s defence went AWOL in the 72nd minute and allowed Ridgard to tap home Robert Gerrard’s right-wing cross from close range to give the visitors a faint glimmer of hope.

Photo:  Launceston City's Robert Gerrard wins a header in the South Hobart penalty area [PlessPix]

Seven minutes later  -  11 minutes from the end  -  Mohammadi made it 3-2 when his half-volley from 16 metres rocketed into the roof of the net and it was game on.

South were not a spent force, however, and Morton might have eased the tension in the final seconds, but his shot was tipped over by Nash.

South Hobart will be glad of the 3 points as they prepare to face Clarence Zebras next weekend, while Launceston City will need to reassess things as they entertain Devonport City next weekend.  They may have eliminated Devonport from the Lakoseljac Cup last week, but it will be a different kettle of fish in the league.

South Hobart coach Ken Morton said before this game that City’s left-footed midfielder Rob Gerrard is one of the best players he’s seen in Tasmania in a long time.  Morton may well have been playing mind games.  With all due respect, Gerrard made City’s opening goal, but he did not rise to the heights that such a description should have warranted.

Photo:  South Hobart's veteran goalkeeper Mark Moncur demonstrates his agility.  A former top gymnast, Moncur runs a gymnastic school these days. [PlessPix] 

Photo:  Launceston City's Jarrod Linger comes up against three South Hobart defenders [PlessPix]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wonder how many of the south youngsters will be shown the door when the recruits from Melbourne arrive?? 3 to 4 players I have heard