Slice of Cheese

Lakoseljac Cup Qualifying Round Preview

Solstice Photography

The qualifying round of the Lakoseljac Cup kicks off tomorrow with 12 teams in action in 6 games across the state. The 8 NPL sides along with the Veto Northern Champions, Somerset, and Veto Southern Champions, Glenorchy Knights have already been seeded through to the round of 16, with six more team’s set to join them.

The biggest of the first round ties is the University v Beachside clash at Olinda Grove. It’s second v third from the Championship last season and pits the two strongest sides in the draw at this stage against each other. They met in the Summer Cup on Sunday and couldn’t be separated in 90 minutes, with Beachside taking the shootout for the extra point. The two sides looked very evenly matched in that game and you’d have to think penalties could be on the cards again this Saturday. If it’s even half as entertaining as the Summer cup clash was then this will be am absolute treat to watch. Sunday’s see-sawing 3-3 tie saw University twice demonstrating the old adage of a side being most vulnerable just after you score, with Beachside responding with a minute twice in the second half. It was a game filled with drama, now the stakes are raised get set for even more.

Kicking off before that game at Olinda Grove is Southern FC v New Town Eagles where both sides will be looking for a first win of 2018. Southern who haven’t entered the cup in previous seasons, claimed the extra point in a shootout following the 3-3 draw with Metro in their opening bow but defeats of 4-1 to Nelson and 6-2 to Taroona have since brought them back down to earth. New Town have also suffered a pair of defeats, falling 3-0 to Beachside and 3-2 to Hobart United but after finishing 22 points ahead of Southern last season will enter this as heavy favourites to progress.

North Chigwell is the other venue to host a double header and things kick off there with Nelson playing Hobart United. Nelson were the big improvers of the Championship in 2017 and they also made waves in the Lakoseljac Cup. Their road victory over NPL Club Northern Rangers was a famous victory for them and doubtless they will be targeting more cup heroics this year too. They had the better of United in their head to head match up’s last season, claiming 2 wins and a draw in their 3 league meetings. United have started 2018 strongly though, pushing Beachside all the way in a 2-1 defeat before edging out New Town 3-2 setting the stage for what should be a very tight battle.

Following on from that Metro will take on Riverside in one of two North v South battles of the qualifying round. Riverside have been on the wrong end of 3-0 and 6-0 defeats in the Northern Summer Series but those were against NPL opposition and despite the road trip, this looms as a more winnable game for them. Metro drew with Southern FC before being overrun in the second half against Taroona 3-0 in their Summer Cup games. Their first half defensive effort was stout though and if they can defend in that manner for 90 minutes against Riverside, they will give themselves a good chance of progressing.

The other North v South battle pits the red hot Taroona up against hosts Launceston United at Birch Avenue. The two sides preseason form lines are contrasting with Taroona eclipsing Knights in a shoot out before handily dealing with Metro and Southern FC over the past week 3-0 and 6-2. United meanwhile have been beaten 5-0 and 5-1 in their two hit outs but those results came against NPL sides Rangers and Devonport. From 2017 placings this is 3rd in the North v 4th in the South so it should be another tight clash.

Finally, moving further North and Burnie make their return to the cup in a coastal derby against Ulverstone. Burnie are yet to be sighted this year whilst Ulverstone have been on the end of 3 thumping defeats in the Summer Series but again, it comes with the caveat that they have been fielding an under strength side against NPL opposition. Those minutes in the legs should serve as an advantage in this game though with Burnie perhaps more underdone. In their three league meetings last season, Ulverstone won 2 but Burnie’s 3-2 win away from home will give them hope that they can cause the upset here and claim the early season coastal bragging rights.

SATURDAY 3 MARCH

Nelson v Hobart Utd  12:30opm, North Chigwell

Southern FC v New Town Eagles 12:30pm, Olinda Grove 1

Launceston United v Taroona 2:30pm, Birch Avenue

Burnie United v Ulverstone, 2:30pm, Montello

Metro FC v Riverside Olympic, 2:30pm, North Chigwell

University v Beachside, 2:30pm, Olinda Grove 1

Unfortunately our partners at Bion Stream are unavailable so there will be no games broadcast live, but you can keep up with the action from around the grounds by following the Slice of Cheese Lakoseljac Cup Live Blog that will keep you updated with all you need to know.

FFT Media and Communications Coordinator, Everton tragic, long form journalism devotee, Andrea Pirlo enthusiast and admirer of the parked bus.