Monday, August 23, 2021

Have the Knights blown it?

Photo:  Olympia's Bilal Ait Maamar fouls Knights' Eli Luttmer, causing some frayed tempers before order was restored. [PlessPix] 

Second-last Olympia Warriors did league-leaders Devonport Strikers a huge favour in the NPL Tasmania competition on Saturday by holding second-placed Glenorchy Knights to a 0-0 draw away at KGV Park.

The point moved Olympia up a place to sixth, but more importantly, it enabled Devonport to move 3 points clear of Knights with just 3 games remaining after they downed Launceston City 3-0 away at Buckby Motors Park.

Knights have now dropped 4 points against Olympia, which could ultimately cost them the title.

On Saturday, Knights dominated the game but simply could not score.

Photo:  Knights' Austin Yost sends a header looping against the crossbar near the far post. [PlessPix]  

They even squandered a first-half penalty, awarded when Ashton Pacey-Mayne brought down Nick Mearns.  Eli Luttmer fired his spot-kick against the base of the right-hand post and the ball rebounded across goal and out.

Austin Yost guided a difficult header against the woodwork in the second half but that’s a close as Knights came.

They were guilty of some incredible misses and may live to regret the 2 points dropped on Saturday.

Knights have three home games remaining  -  against Clarence Zebras, Devonport and Launceston City.

Photo:  Olympia's Kyle Vincent appears to be going for a mark. [PlessPix]  

Devonport’s three remaining games are at home against South Hobart, away to the Knights and away to Kingborough Lions United.

Devonport have a 7-goal advantage in goal-difference, so the Knights will need to beat Devonport in the penultimate round and also thrash someone to catch up on goal-difference.

“I thought we played quite well but we need to take opportunities when they come,” said Knights coach, James Sherman.

“I think it’s quite rare to create that many chances and not have something go in.  At the end of the day, it hasn’t.

“We’ve only got ourselves to blame.

“We missed easier opportunities than the penalty today and that’s what I’m talking about when I say it’s been one of those days.

“We’ve had some very, very good opportunities and we haven’t taken them.

Photo:  Olympia's Joseph Mwarabu was booked for this tackle on Knights' Austin Yost.  Mwarabu is wearing the Number 9 shirt, but his shorts ahd Number 5 on them.  On the team sheet he was listed as Number 5 and Anthony Mamic as Number 9. [PlessPix]   

“If we play poorly in the 18-yard box as we did today, we won’t get a win next week either and that’s the reality of this sport.

“The conditions were tricky and we attempted to move the ball and we created a lot of opportunities.

“It wasn’t until the last five minutes that they had one.

“Overall, if we’d taken one or two of those chances it would have been a consistent performance, but at the end of the day we haven’t and that’s where the lack of quality was shown.

“The title was in our hands, hopefully up until the last day, but if they get a win today it won’t be in our hands and we’ll have to hope they drop points.”

Photo:  Knights' Nick Mearns is booked after leaving Olympia's Bilal Ait Maamar in a crumpled heap. [PlessPix]  

Olympia Warriors coach, Rob Clarke, said his side had battled strongly and he was very proud of his players.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game where a side has had so many corners and not scored a goal, especially given the size of the guys they’ve got,” Clarke said.

“I was so proud of the boys.  They put their bodies on the line.  I know it’s a cliché, but they did.

“They just kept in fronting up and fronting up and fronting up.  We sort of wanted to make it a man-for-man game in the middle of the park so they didn’t have extra men, and I think we did that.

“We only had a handful of chances, which is to be expected, but I couldn’t be more pleased with the guys and the way they fought it out today.”

Clarke said he believed the title race wasn’t over yet.

Photo:  Olympia's Joseph Mwarabu seeks to cross the ball before Knights' Jack Bowman can intervene.  Mwarabu was eventually substituted to protect him from a second yellow card.  Bowman was replaced on the hour and was seemingly not happy, coming off and slamming the gate on the perimeter of the pitch before storming into the dressing room.  He appeared to be still brooding and complaining after the game to anyone who would listen. [PlessPix]  

Devonport, whose coach, Chris Gallo, is leaving at the end of the season to become Wollongong Wolves’ under-18 coach, led Launceston City 2-0 at half-time through goals by Joel Stone and Kieran Mulraney.

Raphael Reynolds completed the scoring with a third goal with 17 minutes to play.

Photo:  Michael Soszynski, Marcello Marchioli and James Sherman seconds before the end of the game against Olympia. [PlessPix]  

Clarence Zebras dropped a place to second-last after succumbing 4-0 at home at Wentworth Park to third-ranked South Hobart.

Hugh Undy and Kasper Hallam scored within a minute of each other early in the game to give South Hobart a 2-0 lead, while skipper Nick Morton added a third just before the interval.

Morton completed his brace and South Hobart’s tally just short of the hour-mark.

Photo:  Clarence Zebras' Riley Dillon wins the ball ahead of South Hobart's Loic Feral. [PlessPix]  

Kingborough Lions United beat bottom-side Riverside Olympic 4-2 at home at Lightwood Park to strengthen their hold on fourth spot.

Adam McKeown gave the Lions the lead after just 4 minutes, but an equaliser by the visitors midway through the opening half made it 1-1 at the break.

Ben Hamlett and McKeown scored within a minute of each other shortly after the resumption to give the Lions a 3-1 lead, before Byungatae Ahn curled the ball home and inside the far post from the left midway through the second half to make it 4-1.

Riverside pulled a goal back 12 minutes from the end but could not close the gap.

The Lions were awarded a penalty 10 minutes from the end, which was converted by McKeown.  But, the goal was not counted as, in an extraordinary decision, the referee awarded a goal-kick because a Lions player had clearly encroached during the penalty kick.  He should, of course, have ordered the penalty to be retaken.  McKeown protested, as did the Kingborough bench, but play resumed with a goal-kick.

Photo:  Bradley Lakoseljac sends South Hobart into attack against Clarence Zebras. [PlessPix]  

NPL Tasmania

Clarence Zebras 0 lost to South Hobart 4 (H Undy 15, K Hallam 16, N Morton 41, 58)

Glenorchy Knights 0-0 Olympia Warriors

Kingborough Lions United 4 (A McKeown 4, 49, B Hamlett 48, B Ahn 67) beat Riverside Olympic 2 (F Fulton 23’, L Vigilante 78’)

Launceston City 0 lost to Devonport Strikers 3 (J Stone 21, K Mulraney 39, R Reynolds 73)

Photo:  Clarence Zebras' Jackson Ebini lies injured after falling awkwardly after a cross and challenge by a defender. [PlessPix]  

NPL Tasmania standings (As at 21 August 2021)









Devonport City








Glenorchy Knights








South Hobart








Kingborough Lions








Launceston City








Olympia Warriors








Clarence Zebras








Riverside Olympic








Photo:  South Hobart's Kasper Hallam flies down the left wing. [PlessPix]


Anonymous said...

Borough pack it up and start again.
Zebras pack it up , clean out and start again, again…..and again.
Riverside need to change things. No improvement for years.
Knights …. wasted money and bye bye….. again.
Another year next year of $$$$$$$$$$?

Anonymous said...

What a simply fantastic performance from the young Warriors on Saturday. Seems when playing the top teams they step up! They have had a lot of changes with players either leaving or injured this season, but 2022 might just see them gel as a team and take everyone by surprise.

Anonymous said...

I have said it from the start of the season you cannot win the league without a striker. Even with Walter they dont have the firepower to win the league. Yes they have scored plenty of goals vs the crap teams but against the good teams you need a class number 9

Anonymous said...

The lion share of goals in any comp are scored either in transition or a set piece.

Whilst a prolific no 9 is good to have, you really only need good set piece specialists and fast players good on the break.

Practice both incessantly and you can have regular results.

I think that GALLO read the memo. I note that no striker scored for Port at the weekend. They always seem to score in games from corners, free kicks etc. Also DENEHEY and BIDWELL good on the break.

Anonymous said...

Plenty of excuses from Sherman.Was it tricky conditions in all 3 games? It could have been 6 points taken if it wasn't for the late and only goal against Olympia in the first clash of the season. Go Port!

Anonymous said...

A top quality striker is key in games like Knights had on a weekend. Someone who can score from there only involvment in a game can be the difference between finishing 1st and 2nd and this is a perfect example

Anonymous said...

Has the NPl lost it's appeal? as there wasn't many down at the Den.

Anonymous said...

100% has lost its appeal no questions asked

Anonymous said...

Anon 4.37.
Why would anyone go to watch that?
Really ??

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:50pm... but you're still visiting and commenting on a blog-post about the NPL competition. Must still be appealing to you in some way?!

Anonymous said...

Exactly. Who the hell would go to Kingston to watch that?

Anonymous said...

Fortunately this blog is NOT just NPL.

Anonymous said...

Wrong, Stone scored and he's been playing as a striker the last month or so...
And your last point, Denehey is also a striker.