Friday, October 23, 2020

Clarence Zebras leave it very late to beat a determined South Hobart

Photo:  South Hobart's Pishon Choi gets the ball ahead of Clarence Zebras' Georgia Burt and Bronte Gadon [PlessPix]

(Women’s Super League, KGV Park, Wednesday, 21 October 2020)

South Hobart 0

Clarence Zebras 1 (M O’Brien 90+3)

HT:  0-0   Ref:  I Colhoun

South Hobart:  McMullen;  Batchelor, Berrell, Choi, Cooling, Fader, Ingram, E Moutsatsos, N Moutsatsos, Olsen, Roberts  (Subs:  Coy, Declerck, Kidd Orlowski, Westwood)

Clarence Zebras:  Cook;  Berry, Burt, Dixon, Ferrier, Gadon, Kannegiesser, Nichols, O’Brien, Steventon  (Subs:  Bowden, Marmion)

Photo:  South Hobart's Ruby Batchelor tries to tackle Clarence Zebras' Isabella Ferrier [PlessPix]

While Clarence Zebras were struggling to overcome South Hobart on a rainy, cold night at KGV Park, Olympia Warriors were wrapping up the 2020 Women’s Super League title down at Lightwood Park in Kingston with a 10-1 annihilation of home side Kingborough Lions United.

Credit must go to a talented young South Hobart side, who held Clarence Zebras at bay until the 3rd minute of stoppage time, when Madeline O’Brien scrambled home the winner from close range after South Hobart keeper Georgia McMullen fumbled a corner.

McMullen had been faultless all night, stopping some powerful shots confidently and effectively, but right at the death she conceded two corners in quick succession, the second of which proved fatal.

Photo:  Clarence Zebras' Madeline O'Brien in attack.  Moving her to centre-forward ultimately proved the lifesaver. [PlessPix]

Clarence Zebras coach, Chris Hey, had moved O’Brien from centre-back to centre-forward in the final 20 minutes of the game in a desperate attempt to snatch a winner.

Clarence Zebras had been unable to score and something had to be done.  Bronte Gadon had hit the crossbar with a long-range strike in the first half and Allie Berry had shot wide when well placed, but that’s a close as they got in the opening 45 minutes.

In the second half, things weren’t much better.  Clarence Zebras were reasonably comfortable at the back with a back-three and with Selina Steventon just in front of them as a protective shield.

Georgia Burt was excellent in midfield, while Isabella Ferrier provided width and speed down the flanks.

Photo:  Zoe Nichols gets a pass away in midfield [PlessPix]

Clarence Zebras missed two glorious chances in the second half of the match.  In the 70th minute, Ferrier provided a perfect cross from the right for Zoe Nichols but, incredibly, with an empty goal gaping, Nichols fluffed her first touch and, when she recovered, she prodded the ball against a post.

Five minutes later, an unmarked Allie Berry hit an inviting cross on the ground over the bar from  six metres out. 

South Hobart were fortunate, therefore, not to be behind, but there could be no doubting their skill and fighting spirit.

Photo:  South Hobart's Lucy Roberts pressures Clarence Zebras' Madeline O'Brien [PlessPix]

Their defenders were resolute and not afraid to tackle, and their speed was up to anything Clarence Zebras could throw at them.

Lucy Roberts was powerful in midfield, not only winning tackles, but then distributing the ball intelligently.

This is a team that will get better if they stick together.  They could even be title challengers in two or three seasons.

Experience is what they lack.  That’s what cost them the late goal.  But, in terms of sheer endeavour and skill, they earned top marks.

 Clarence Zebras never stopped searching for that winning goal, but their performance on the night showed why they were second to the Warriors.

Photo:  Clarence Zebras goalkeeper Shelley Cook gets down to grab the ball as team-mate Rachel Gill covers [PlessPix]


No comments: