Slice of Cheese

City Hold Off Zebras To Stay Top

Solstice Photography

Launceston City held off a late Hobart Zebras rally to claim a 3-1 victory and move four points clear atop the table after the first full round of fixtures. First half goals from Tyler Fischer and Noah Mies had City in command before Olaf Conforti breathed life back into the game midway through the second half. Some sensational goalkeeping from Niko Giantsopoulos kept City ahead before Mies iced the game with his solo effort.

As the Referee’s whistle blew the intent was clear from both sides, with City winning an early free kick on the wing and forcing an error from Sheku Kamara. Meanwhile, Jayden Hey began well on the left hand side, providing a number of early chances for the Zebras. However, things began looking shaky for the home side when the ball ran under Sheku Kamara’s leg and almost into the back of the net in the 8th minute.

Not long after, a 15th minute Zebras corner was caught by Niko Giantsopoulos, Giantsopoulos then hit the ball long to Tyler Fischer who beat two Zebras defenders before striking the ball towards the near post from outside the box. Kamara got a glove to it but it wasn’t enough, with City going 1-0 up in the 15th minute.

In the 23rd minute, Jayden Hey had a golden opportunity to get his team back in the contest, but sprayed this shot well wide of the post. This didn’t phase City, with the men in red creating a fantastic opportunity in the 38th minute, when Liam Scott got on the end of a Daniel Syson cross, only to be denied by Kamara.

Down the other end of the pitch, it was Jan Charuza who found himself on the end of a corner, only for his shot to rattle against the crossbar. As the game approached half time, a long ball from Charlie Dyer found Tyler Fischer, with Fischer cutting it back to the waiting Noah Mies who slammed the ball into the back of the net, putting Launceston 2-0 up as the teams headed into the sheds.

As the second half began the pace quickened and the Zebras looked to get back into the contest. A 47th minute shot from Van Doorne tested Giantsopoulos but the goalkeeper held firm. Whilst Noah Mies was unlucky not to score in the 69th minute, when his shot was saved and his followup hit wide. Not long after the Zebras were right back in the contest, when a 75th minute scramble in the box saw Iskander Van Doorne play the ball to Olaf Conforti, who got his team back in the contest, bringing the scores to 2-1.

This goal brought new life to the Zebras side, and if it wasn’t for a freakish Giantsopoulos save in the 85th minute, the Zebras would have equalised. Sanders header looked for all money to be hitting the back of the net only for the Canadian to produce a stunning reflex save.

However it proved to be Launceston’s day, with Noah Mies scoring his second and his teams third with a brilliant individual run from the corner before putting the ball into the back of the net.

Soon after the referees whistle blew, with Launceston winning 3-1.

Zebras coach Gabriel Markaj was happy with his teams performance and said that whilst opposition teams may have worked out his teams gameplay they will not change it, as he has a long term goal. Markaj still believes his team are in the box seat for the title, with the quality of players that the Zebras have being evident.

Meanwhile Launceston City Assistant Coach Roger Mies said that the club is still taking it one week at a time, and that they are “happily surprised” to be on top of the ladder. He spoke of the club exceeding expectations and there being a belief that they can win the league title this year.

Next week, Launceston face a huge test when they welcome South Hobart to Buckby Landrover Park for their Lakoseljac Cup Semi-Final, whilst the Zebras have a week off to adjust and try get their stuttering season back on track.

Student, lover of Melbourne Victory, the Richmond Tigers and all things sport