Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Clarence Zebras beat Launceston United in Under-17 Statewide Cup Final, but participants largely a mystery

Photo:  Rush hour in the penalty area for a header. [PlessPix] 

Clarence Zebras are the Under-17 Statewide Cup winners after defeating Launceston United 2-0 at KGV Park on Saturday in a torrential downpour.

Two penalties did the trick for Clarence Zebras and they should probably have had a third, but the referee waved play on.

Number 17 was unlucky not to put Clarence Zebras ahead in the 3rd minute when his long-range free-kick from the right struck the right-hand post and cannoned back into play.

Launceston United created some dangerous attacks and Number 14 missed a sitter in the 16th minute when he shot wide from close range after Number 2’s miscued header fell at his feet.

Photo:  Ballet in the box. [PlessPix] 

The first penalty came in the 18th minute when Launceston United’s Number 19 brought down an attacker.  Number 19 had been cautioned in the 14th minute so was fortunate not to receive a second yellow card and a red.

Ned Cunningham (Number 18, I think) netted the spot-kick.

In the 29th minute, Number 17 again hit the United woodwork, this time from Number 26’s right-wing cross.

The second penalty came in the 36th minute for the United goalkeeper’s foul on Clarence Zebras’ Number 19.

United’s keeper saved Viktor Gordon’s (Number 31) penalty but he followed up and netted the loose ball to make it 2-0. At half-time.

Photo:  The referee books Number 29. I just hope he knew who the player was.  There was no Number 29 in the team listed in the program. [PlessPix] 

Seven minutes after the resumption, Number 30 for Clarence Zebras smashed a great shot against the United crossbar, while 5 minutes later, Launceston United’s Number 12 shot wide when he should probably have scored.

The Clarence Zebras goalkeeper injured himself while diving for a shot that was flying wide and after a lengthy delay, he was stretchered off and replaced by a keeper also wearing the Number 1 shirt.

In the 73rd minute, Launceston United’s Number 14 blazed wide but he had a case for a penalty as he was clearly having his shirt pulled.

Photo:  The teams take the field, but the numbers meant little.  I've covered many youth games over the past four decades and it's always nice to know who the players are so one can see what becomes of them in future years.  I've seen the likes of Dominic Longo, David Clarkson, Luciano Fabrizio, Nathaniel Atkinson and Kurt Reynolds play as youth players and then seen them develop into international players.  How am I supposed to know if any of these youngsters make it to the top levels? [PlessPix] 

In the 79th minute, Clarence Zebras’ Number 19 beat three or four players and got inside the box before being stopped in his tracks, but no penalty was given.

Clarence Zebras were probably worthy winners, but Launceston United certainly didn’t make the most of their chances.

[I’m sorry about using numbers instead of names in most cases, but I can find nothing about this game on DRIBL and the player numbers in the match program were incorrect.  Not a good way to promote the game and some up-and-coming youngsters.]

Photo:  The Clarence Zebras Under-17s.  If any of these make it to high levels, will I be able to say I saw them as 16-year-olds? [PlessPix]
Photo:  The Launceston United Under-17s.  It's not fair on the players that they were largley anonymous to the watching public and the media. [PlessPix]


Anonymous said...

The Zebras are a talented unit, well coached and they also have 2 15 year olds in that line up, you'll certainly see some of these boys in NPL down the track!

Anonymous said...

Great photos Walter. Not fair on the boys not to have their names listed. So easy these days with numerous options.