Saturday, September 19, 2020

Eagles go to top of standings with win over Lions

Photo:  Eagles' Callum Back (left) and Kingborough's Vincent Turner in a scrap for the ball [PlessPix]

(Southern Championship, KGV Park, Friday, 18 September 2020)

New Town White Eagles 4 (J Ryan-Buchanan 22, B Phillips 53, J Vernon 63, J Rojahn 90)

Kingborough Lions United 0

HT:  1-0   Att:  60   Ref:  A Cooke

New Town White Eagles:  Nutting  -  Brown, Brown-Price, Clark, Butler  -  Ryan-Buchanan, Clamp, Phillips, Back  -  Vernon, Johnstone  (Subs:  Longden, Moore, Ottavi, Rojahn)

Kingborough Lions United:  Kingston  -  Shreeve, Pitchford, Turner, Johnson  -  Ellis, Easton, King, James  -  Hayers, Bridge  (Subs:  Crane-French, Legg, Barrett)

Photo:  Jamie Vernon wins the ball as Jac Ryan-Buchannan arrives in support [PlessPix]

Eagles led 1-0 at the break through a somewhat bizarre goal out of the blue from long range by Jac Ryan-Buchanan midway through the first half.  His first-time shot was a daisy-cutter and eluded everyone, including Kingborough keeper Tate Kingston as it flashed into the net.

It was a deserved lead as Eagles had the better of the play and might easily have had more goals.  Jake Clamp headed against the woodwork and Ben Phillips almost found the top corner with another effort.

The second-half goals were beauties.

Phillips made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute with a fantastic shot from 30 metres that whistled into the back of the net.

Everyone thought it was 3-0 in the 57th minute when a Toby Butler cross from the left was bundled in by Klamp, but referee Mr Cooke gave a free-kick after consulting his assistant and deciding that Clamp had fouled the keeper.


Photo:  Jacob Clamp spreads the ball around [PlessPix]

In the 63rd minute it was 3-0 when the excellent Jamie Vernon hammered home a magnificent shot out of nothing from 25 metres.

In the last minute, substitute Jack Rojahn made it 4-0 when he took advantage of hesitation and misunderstanding between Riley Pitchford and keeper Kingston to poke the ball home.

It was a beautiful night for football.  It was cold and the air was crisp, but there was no wind and the conditions were really ideal.

The win put Eagles on top of the ladder, but that may only last 24 hours as Olympia, displaced to second, meet champions Hobart United today and a win would put them back on top.

It was a fine display by Eagles, who appeared a fast, hard-working side capable of good football.

Photo:  Kingborough's Wesley King chasing the ball [PlessPix]

The experienced Andy Clark, Lian Brown and Richard Brown-Price at the back held firm, while the other member of the back-four, left-back Toby Butler, had the freedom to push forward and attack.

Fill-in keeper Grant Nutting was solid and inspired confidence, although he did not have any saves to make.  He should have been beaten late in the game when a cross left him vulnerable, but Kingborough striker Alastair Crane-French failed to connect with the ball.

Kingborough used their NPL side’s back-up keeper Jake Hayers as a striker in this game.

The powerful Eagles midfield deserves much credit for the team’s performance as they combine a high work-rate with impressive skill.  Clamp, Phillips, Callum Back and Ryan-Buchanan are physically strong and were not shy to throw some weight into challenges.  They gave their team-mates confidence and controlled the game.

Vernon and Oliver Johnstone in attack kept the Lions defence on their toes and Vernon, in particular, is a tower of strength.  He can hold the ball or distribute it, depending on what is required, and when the occasion presents itself, he can shoot with devastating effect.  His fine goal proved that.

Eagles coach Andrew Leszczynski, one of the club’s finest ever players, can be proud of the team he has built.  They’ll give the title a real shake.

How Football Tasmania allowed them to be excluded from the Lakoseljac Cup is one of the injustices of Tasmanian football.

Photo:  Eagles coach Andrew Leszczynski (right) and his brother and assistant coach, Chris Leszczynski, watch the action [PlessPix]

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