Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Eagles start promisingly but get plucked in the end

Photo:  Eagles' Adam McKeown gets in a header at goal before a good crowd at South Hobart Oval for this Lakoseljac cup-tie against South Hobart. [PlessPix] 

South Hobart made it into the Lakoseljac Cup quarterfinals with a resounding 9-1 win over second-tier New Town White Eagles at South Hobart Oval on Easter Monday.

South Hobart were always going to win this cup-tie.

The difference between a top NPL side and a top Southern Championship side was evident from the start.

South Hobart were younger, fitter and faster, but it took them a while to assert their superiority against a determined but ultimately outclassed Eagles outfit.

The home side’s job was made so much easier when Eagles had Ben Whitehall sent off after conceding a penalty on the stroke of half-time and collecting a needless second yellow card.  If only he had kept his mouth shut he wouldn’t have got his first yellow midway through the first half.  After that, it was always going to turn out badly.

Photo:  Ben Whitehall appeals against the penalty as Bradley Lakoseljac writhes on the ground after being brought down, and referee Mr Nathan Coad, who had an excellent game, reaches for the yellow card. [PlessPix] 

South Hobart squandered chance after chance with erratic shooting in this game and the score could have been higher.

Eagles’ veterans did all they could, and there were brief glimpses of past glory, but it was no contest really as the home side kept going and Eagles began to flag when they had to play with 10 men for the entire second half.

South cannot be too cocky after this win as they will certainly meet more difficult opponents in this competition and their inability to finish some easy chances must be of concern to their coaching staff.

Bradley Lakoseljac was man-of-the-match as far as I’m concerned.  He made at least five goals, including winning the penalty that resulted in Whitehall’s dismissal.  He didn’t score and was taken off with 20 minutes remaining.  His performance was appropriate for a competition named after his grandfather.

Lakoseljac and Iskander Van Doorne should have scored early as Eagles were still finding their feet, but both shot over the bar.

Photo:  Eagles' Sam Leszczynski (left) races South's Gus Higgins.  Leszczynski had a lively performance for Eagles, who wilted badly and conceded four goals in the final 20 minutes of the match. [PlessPix] 

In the 10th minute, South finally hit paydirt as Lakoseljac’s right-wing cross found Nick Morton, who netted easily past a static defence and an exposed keeper, Mitch Stalker.

Two minutes later, Lakoseljac missed again as his shot squirmed past the far left-hand upright after the chances was created by Van Doorne.

In the 14th minute, Nick Morton worked his way in from the left, accelerating past opponent after opponent, only to lift his shot high over the bar.

South paid for their profligacy when Eagles drew level from the penalty spot midway through the half.  Reilly Morton brought down Sam Leszczynski and was cautioned, while Brett Andrews dispatched the spot-kick with ease to make it 1-1.

Photo:  The battle of the two Sams.  Eagles' Sam Leszczynski (left) tangles with South Hobart's Sam Berezansky. [PlessPix] 

Three minutes later, Nick Morton chipped over the bar and Eagles began to count their lucky stars and hope for a miracle.

They were brought back down to earth in the 31st minute when Lakoseljac picked out the marauding Tobias Herweynen with an accurate pass from the left wing and the fullback finished clinically to restore South Hobart’s lead.

Two minutes later, Nick Morton again fired high from Van Doorne’s right-wing cross as Eagles again avoided having their feathers plucked.

Eagles’ only response was a long-range effort from Joel Schuth on the left that flew harmlessly into the stratosphere.

Photo:  South Hobart's Reilly Morton conceded a penalty when he tripped Eagles' Sam Leszczynski. [PlessPix] 

In the 39th minute, Jackson Dent should have scored for South from Sam Berezansky’s perfect lay-off, but with the goal at his mercy, he shot straight at Stalker.

In stoppage time came Whitehall’s faux pas and dismissal and Nick Morton put away the penalty to give South a 3-1 lead at the interval.

Eagles started the second half in resolute fashion as they fought to overcome the one-man deficit.  They replaced Schuth with Adam McKeown and Oliver Johnstone, who had had a fine first half at right fullback, with the experienced Mark Page.

South had exchanged Dent and Reilly Morton with Jack Bowman and Jaden Fidra.

Photo:  Eagles' Luke Huigsloot tangles with South Hobart's Gus Higgins, who comes off second best. [PlessPix] 

Lakoseljac headed Berezansky’s left-wing cross wide in the 64th minute, but a minute later, Van Doorne netted South’s fourth to settle things down.

Lakoseljac’s parting contribution came in the 71st minute when he set up Nick Morton on the left with a long diagonal pass from the right and the skipper made it 6-1 to complete his hat-trick.

Photo:  Eagles' David Cox and South's Iskander Van Doorne vie for a header. [PlessPix] 

Van Doorne completed his brace in the 77th minute and his hat-trick from Nick Morton’s left-wing cross in stoppage time.

In between those two goals, Fidra had netted 5 minutes from the end to take the score to 8-1.

Eagles had had a hard lesson and know what’s required if they are to aspire to NPL football, while South Hobart know they will have to improve their finishing when they come up against stronger opponents.

Photo:  South Hobart captain Nick Morton goes down in spectacular fashion. [PlessPix]


Anonymous said...

Hopefully Eagles realise they are not as good as they think they are.
Big wins in Championship against mediocre sides is the extreme opposite to playing
up a level and copping a hiding.
Be humble in your victories when they do occur

Anonymous said...

They're a bloody championship side mate what did you expect bahaha.

Sounds like you might be a salty Beachside player who just got smacked 8-1 bahaha.

Anonymous said...

It was a close game at 2-1 before the red card/penalty and would have made for an interesting second half should that not have occurred. Eagles only copped a hiding due to playing 10 v 11. A few sour grapes from those watching them dominate the championship for so long.

Anonymous said...

2-1 when 11v11. Red card and game changed, can't really make any conclusions after that. Would love to see any of the top Champ teams have a chance to play the top NPL teams a bit more regularly, think games would be closer than NPL team supporters think (barring red cards). Hope Hobart United win the Laka Cup.

Anonymous said...

Thought it was a good match at 2-1 until the red card. Eagles had a few chances early. Game opened up in the second half when the 10 v 11 took it's toll. They went 3 at the back later on and conceded a few. Not saying eagles would have won or even drawn but it would have been a more interesting match 11 v 11.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10.35.
Eagles would not last 90 minutes against a team like South regardless what people may think.
Legs will become very heavy.
When do you propose NPL clubs play Champ clubs ? They are in a different league for a reason.
Champ clubs may do well every now and then in one off games .
I believe Eagles last last year in the same comp against a bottom NPL team, after being 3-1 up and lost the game . Maybe that tells you where Eagles are .

Anonymous said...

They dominated last year and won the title the year before, after a near decade of irrelevance? Would hardly call that 'so long'. Will be interesting to see how a team with an average age of 30+ continues, although they probably are favourites to win again. Taroona and Uni might challenge with great squads, but they never seem to put it together for a whole season.

Anonymous said...

Again, a red card when they were beating Olympia 3-1 and they then collapsed with 10 men from there.

Anonymous said...

They’ve lost 3 games out of 44 games in the championship over the last two seasons. A bit of dominance there one would say.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4.18 .
Yes a red card again. Seems to be a pattern here.
A good team would not have lost it at 3-1 up.even with 10 men.
Says where Eagles are at.
They still can’t beat NPL sides.