Sunday, April 18, 2021

The stars all aligned for a great day of football in Launceston

Photo:  Adam McKeown (No.14), Ben Hamlett and Jack Turner played key roles in the defeat of Devonport Strikers. [PlessPix] 

Kingborough Lions United used the right tactics yesterday when they beat reigning NPL Tasmania champions Devonport Strikers 2-0 at the University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston.

The Lions played three at the back, made some positional changes at times, and used the long ball to perfection to overcome Devonport.

A team can have as much ball possession as they like, but if they cannot score, it’s all a waste of time.  In football, you don’t get a goal each time you string ten passes together.  It’s the ball in the back of the net that counts.

Two goals from long balls in the opening 16 minutes decided this game.

In the 12th minute, a superb pass from inside his own half by Adam McKeown released the speedy Ban Hamlett, who chipped Devonport keeper Nathan Pitchford to give the Lions a 1-0 lead.

In the 16th minute, Kobe Kemp played a long ball from inside his own half and out to the left to Hamlett, who controlled it and squared the ball across the box for the advancing McKeown to fire home and make it 2-0.

It could have been more by the end.  In the closing minutes, only a fine save by Pitchford denied Keenan Douce, who produced his party trick of a first-time accurate and stinging volley.  And then, Pitchford did well to turn Jackson Khasif’s effort from the left wide and out for a fruitless corner.

Kingborough goalkeeper Lee Mackie was never troubled and Devonport probably had only one decent shot at goal, which was straight at Mackie.

Kobe Kemp was excellent in midfield for Kingborough.  He won tackles and used the ball wisely, while the back-three of Byungalee Ahn, Kenneth Trac and Joseph Juma worked hard and always had the measure of Devonport’s attackers.

Douce was given the opportunity to push forward in a wide midfield role, while Phil Kantzos, Andrew Taylor and Jack Turner dominated midfield.  Shane Cartwright showed some of his old form when he came on as a substitute.

It was a marvellous performance by the Lions and they deserved their win, which keeps them third but level on points with leaders South Hobart and Glenorchy Knights, although the Lions have played a game more than the others.

Devonport remain fourth and they must surely now realise that they will need to sharpen their attacking skills if they are to retain their title.

There’s a long way to go yet, but the North-West Coast outfit now has some genuine rivals for their league crown.

In the Women’s Super League match at the same venue, Launceston United were unlucky to go down 2-0 to Olympia FC Warriors.

United showed plenty of fighting spirit and ability, but two lapses cost them dearly.

Midway through the first half, United conceded a free-kick just outside the box and Leah Gubb sliced the ball so that it curled inside the right side of the goal as United keeper, Imogen McCormick, deceived by the curling shot, moved the other way.

United’s Sofie Verhaegen stood out with her passing and speed, while her team-mates made things difficult for the Warriors.

Olympia’s Madi Chambers and Bonnie Davies were rarely able to utilise their speed against a resolute United defence.

It took until the 72nd minute for the Warriors to make the game safe.  Davies, who had been well held by United’s Gonya Luate, was given a little too much space and she unleashed a long-range shot that flew into the net off the underside of the bar to make it 2-0.

Olympia showed they will be able to give the title a real shake, while newcomers to the league, Launceston United, indicated on this display that they can be a threat.

Saturday’s main fixture, the A-League clash between Western United and league leaders Central Coast Mariners, was decide in United’s favour by a 5th-minute goal from Connor Pain.  It was a well-worked goal involving a neat-one-two with Besart Berisha and a clever finish by Pain.

The crowd of 3,203 was typical for A-League games in Tasmania.  I can’t see us ever attracting many more, regardless of which teams are playing.

Both visiting teams sometimes attract smaller crowds for their games at home, so nothing is lost by playing in Tassie.

The pitch was magnificent and a credit to the ground staff.

The old chestnut of Tasmania requiring a rectangular stadium if there is to be a Tasmanian A-League side admitted to the competition, was again shown to be rubbish and should be laid to rest.

The venue is excellent and the powers that be will have to come with something new.

Tasmania has the money, it has the facilities, and it can match some less than impressive attendances interstate, so the suits and TV authorities that decide these things will have to come up with something more credible to knock us on the head with in order to convince us that we can’t have a team.

We know we could and should have one, but how does one get that inside the heads of the decision makers?



Anonymous said...

Should Turner's yellow card have been a red?

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to care about the M League (M for mainland)- often the football is dreary and the franchises lack soul for the most part, with the same players recycled over & over between clubs. I would bother turning up if there was a Tasmanian team. I also think the NPL & FFA cup is more entertaining - NPL clubs have a traditional connection to where they come from, for the most part. Better atmosphere, more to care about, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

All though the crowd was better than both teams would get in their own respective grounds, I still think that it would have been a couple of thousand more if it was played in Hobart or even double that crowd.
As for your thoughts on a rectangular stadium not being required, I have to disagree with you there.
Nothing compares or beats watching a football game in a rectangular stadium.

Anonymous said...

AnonymousApril 18, 2021 at 5:13 PM
I have actually watched quite a few A League games in the current season and have quite enjoyed seeing quite a few younger players getting games and the standard has been quite good unless of course you follow Melbourne Victory.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with anon @ 5:13pm, I couldn't care less for the A league or the teams.
Reason being is that I feel no connection to any of the teams.
There is no history or fierce rivalries apart from a couple of clubs, history comes with the years that pass and the rivalries are not fierce as such.
Bring in a few of the old NSL clubs such as Melbourne knights, Marconi and the great south Melbourne Hellas, and I guarantee you that the interest would be raised from supporters who feel no connection to all these made up clubs.
It's a shame that a certain David Hill removed the ethnicity of clubs back in the day as this is what caused them to lose their identity and in return, supporters.
If any of the above mentioned teams where in the A league, I would not only support and watch the league, but would fly over to Melbourne with my mates to watch a few games a year.
In saying that, Perth are the only surviving team from back in the day but this is only due to not having a real ethnic background apart from the poms who seem to have been accepted more than the other ethnic clubs when the A league was being created.
There lies the issue, the A league feels fake and plastic.
Bring back the historical identity of Australian football by allowing those clubs who are the backbone of Australian football into the A league.
Anyway, enough of my ramble.

Anonymous said...

There is no way that Tas Uni stadium is suitable for soccer supporters.

The surface and modern facilities may be magnificent (of course they are as it's an AFL product and funding was delivered!) but the ground is enormous and the soccer pitch too far away from the grandstands. There is no atmosphere at grounds like this.

Tasmanian football family deserve a rectangular purpose built stadium.

Anonymous said...

Some A-League games interstate are played on ovals. The Maracana in Rio is oval in shape. Many grounds overseas are oval as they have running tracks around the perimeter off the football pitch.

Anonymous said...

Agree with your comments about getting the ball in the net Walter. However in theory a team that is able to keep the ball longer and create multiple scoring chances should , in theory, win the game if they are able to convert their opportunities. Sometimes this does not happen. That match produced 3 shots on target between the two teams for the whole match. I would prefer to watch 2 teams play who try to keep possession and both create chances at both ends and finish nil all, than 2 boring teams who hoof it long and wait to see if they can get a shot on goal after the big hoof forward. Then the other team has a go and the same happens .
The A league match which followed also didn't have many shots on goal either but it was a much better game to watch due to the football ability of the two teams.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts:

WSL - Olympia had the better athletes but didn't try to play football. Not fun to watch two strikers dribble the ball up the pitch for 90 mins until they lost it / had a shot just because they are faster and stronger than their opponents. Not meaning offence to any players personally. Launceston played excellent football and will be better for it in the long run.

NPL - Devonport did what they usually do and go to ground easily and ask for free kicks. The ref did well and several times called play on. This meant they didn't get stoppages and set piece opportunities and had no goal threat. Lions did well to win but yikes most teams would have dropped a third player at the back to deal with the long ball against the two strikers and I couldn't imagine Kingborough looking as dangerous in that case.

A league - Didn't watch it but would have watched live if it was played in Hobart.

Anonymous said...

Who is in charge of the Tasmania United A/League very poor PR skills if the weekend is anything to go by .

David Webb said...

The Tasmanian A League push is from a consortium based in Melbourne with guys that used to own Melb Victory. There's no one driving it from this end. Plus, Tasmanian United the group from about 10 years ago. They don't exist anymore. It's basically a Victorian thing from what I've heard.

Anonymous said...

5:10 Rubbish the South Hobart PREISDENT IS HEAD OF THE BID IN THE STATE !

Anonymous said...

Double rubbish...there is NO bid from our state. Here's a lesson on how the world works...FOLLOW THE MONEY!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 10.52
You have no idea. Bid is from a consortium from outside Tasmania and has been for some time . Check your facts before making ludicrous statements. Local personalities may be present at press announces but that does not mean they are involved with the bid.

Anonymous said...

10:52 Your clearly an idiot as our last bid was from outside the state. Google it you may learn something........may.

Anonymous said...

There is no bid from our state. Its from Victoria to play here. There is no head of the bid in Tasmania. Catch up. They don't need PR here; they need to impress the other A League clubs which now control their own league.

Anonymous said...

How about we replace Manchester United in the European Super much chance of that happening.