Sunday, April 17, 2022

Hobart United prove giant killers in Lakoseljac Cup

Photo:  Cade Smith (No.3) heads home to make it 2-0 for the Knights against Burnie.  Seemingly always a substitute, Smith took his chance as a starter to score twice. [PlessPix] 

Glenorchy Knights, Hobart United, Riverside Olympic and Northern Rangers are through to the next round of the Lakoseljac Cup competition after wins on Saturday.

Knights beat the visiting Burnie United 3-0 at KGV Park, but it should have been by more.

Only some terrible finishing and some fine goalkeeping by Burnie’s Joel Philpott kept the score at 3-0.

Knights dominated the game and Burnie had limited forays into the opposing half, but the visitors battled away against the odds and kept the score respectable.

Photo:  Burnie keeper Joel Philpott at full stretch. [PlessPix]  

Austin Yost, Eli Luttmer, Kyle Vincent and Tyler Harrison had chances for the Knights in the opening half, the latter heading a corner against the crossbar and the other three having shots that went wide or were saved by Philpott.

Harrison, a former Knights captain, was making his first appearance at senior level after reconsidering his decision to retire from the senior side and he made a significant impact on this game.

As well as heading against the bar in the opening half, he scored the opening goal shortly after the resumption from a corner from the right to settle the Knights’ nerves.

Harrison controlled the defence, enabling the Knights to play three at the back (Jack Bowman, Harrison and Benjamin Tilley) and push captain Eli Luttmer forward into a five-man midfield.

Photo:  Knights' Tyler Harrison challenges Burnie keeper Joel Philpott in the air. [PlessPix]  

Connor Schmidt, as a left-wing half, continually pushed forward, while Adam Gorrie did the same on the right, leaving Yost, Jordan Muller and Luttmer to pull the strings in midfield.

Vincent and Cade Smith were up front but found the going tough against a resolute Burnie defence.

Harrison’s goals finally gave Knights the breakthrough they were seeking, but it was not until the final 10 minutes that they made sure of the win.

Burnie should have equalised in the 65th minute when an excellent long diagonal ball from the left found substitute Robert Stone in full flight, but he somehow drove his shot wide with the goal at his mercy.

Photo:  Burnie United pose for a team photo before today's game. [PlessPix]  

Cade Smith, who often starts on the bench, netted twice to give Knights victory.  His first came from a header after a short corner in the 80th minute to make it 2-0.

In the 84th minute, again after a set-piece from the left, Smith scored from close-range to make it 3-0, the ball being helped into the net by a desperate defender, who tied himself into knots trying to clear on the line after Philpott was beaten.

Knights will need to do a lot better if they are to progress in this competition.

They tend to overdo the square passing at the back and do not penetrate enough when in possession, while their distribution from defence was erratic at times.

They use width when attacking but need to make the most of the resulting crosses.

They lost two key players through injury in this contest.  Luttmer suffered a leg injury just before the break and had to be replaced early in the second half, while Yost fell awkwardly when tackled late in the game and appeared to badly injure his left arm.

Photo:  Jacob Glover and Thomas Young of Burnie show concern at injured Knight, Eli Luttmer. [PlessPix]
Photo:  Burnie physio Jacob Glover tends to injured Knight, Austin Yost. [PlessPix]

He required attention for several minutes and a stretcher was brought onto the ground, although it was ultimately not needed and Yost was walked off the ground.

Burnie’s physio, Jacob Glover, deserves praise as he assisted both Luttmer and Yost when they were injured.  Burnie midfielder, Thomas Young, a trainee doctor based in the North-West and a former Knights player, also helped out with the injuries.  It was pleasing to see such cooperation between rivals.

Alex Woodham was again in goal for Knights and Trent Le Rossignol was his understudy.  Mystery surrounds the whereabouts of new goalkeeper Reef Murfett.  He played at the start of the season but then apparently suffered a shoulder injury which has keep him sidelined since.

Photo:  Burnie United and Glenorchy Knights honor Ahemd Abdaltam with a minute's silence before kick-off. [PlessPix]  

Both teams observed a minute’s silence before kick-off in tribute to former Knights player and coach, Ahmed Abdaltam, who passed away suddenly in Egypt this week.

Championship side Hobart United caused an upset by beating NPL Tamsania outfit Launceston City 2-0 at UTAS Stadium in Launceston in the curtain-raiser to the A-League clash between Western United and Perth Glory, which United won 6-0.

Photo:  Knights' Eli Luttmer and Benjamin Tilley spoil each other in going for a header. [PlessPix]  

Goals by Joseph Mwabaru and John Buga gave United the win against a City outfit that has now lost opening round cup games to lower league opponents five times in the past 11 seasons.

In 2012, they lost to Taroona;  in 2013 to Riverside Olympic, in 2017 to Glenorchy Knights;  in 2019 to University; and this season to Hobart United.

Launceston City may be third on the NPL Tasmania standings, but they are unlikely to win the league on today’s showing.  They may, of course, say they are concentrating on the league rather than the Cup.

Photo:  Knights' Adam Gorrie unleashes a full-blooded shot at goal. [PlessPix]  

Riverside Olympic parted company with coach Alex Gaetani during the week after losing all four of their league games and not scoring a goal and conceding 18 goals.

But, they won their Lakoseljac Cup game and scored their first goal of the season, overcoming Southern Championship side Hobart City Beachside 1-0 at Windsor Park.

Northern Rangers, coached this season by former Leeds United apprentice, Peter Savill, progressed to the next round of the Lakoseljac Cup with an emphatic 6-0 win over the Somerset Sharks.

Photo:  Tyler Harrison heads the opener for Knights against Burnie. [PlessPix]

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