Slice of Cheese

Stone Strike Stuns South

Solstice Photography

Joel Stone poked home from a mad scramble in the box 5 minutes from full time and the Devonport Strikers claimed a huge 2-1 win over South Hobart at Darcy Street.

Football is a funny old game and this was proof of it, in a reversal of last week, the Strikers were second best for much of the contest against South, but this time took their chances and head back up the highway with a vital 3 points.

Brayden Mann had opened the scoring for his side in the first half before Dan Brown levelled midway through the second half, leaving the game in the balance entering the final 25 minutes. Despite peppering the Strikers box with crosses, South could not find a way through and it was Stone who made himself the hero as he steered home the late winner.

South will feel they should have won this, they certainly had more chances and could have taken the lead through a number of openings they created in the first half. Saracino had a good chance denied by Pitchford, as did Jack Turner with an acrobatic volley. Then Alex Walter seemed odds on to score, only to be denied by a fine Mulraney block, who was once again a stand out in defence for the Strikers. Some more composure in the box and it would have been 1-0, but instead it remained 0-0 deep into the half.

Devonport had only created one opening of note in the first half when Holden’s drive was well blocked by Oscar Thomas, but just before half time their talisman pounced.

Brayden Mann simply outpaced the South defence, charged in and off balance volleyed home. I don’t think there is a player in the NPL who is playing better than Mann right now, he is driving this Strikers team forward and once again in the big moments, he delivered the goods here.

South were not deterred and came back out of half time looking to reassert themselves. Their midfield was in firm control of the contest and they won corner after corner. Eventually that pressure told and Dan Brown rose highest to thump home an Adam Gorrie free kick to put the game back on terms.

From that point on the game really opened up, with a point not really helping either team greatly. It flowed from end to end, despite the players tiring in what was becoming a battle of attrition on a heavy pitch. South were still creating the better looks but Devonport had their moments as Michael Holden started to lift his game and look lively down the left.

Jack Turner had a great chance to win it but the imperious Lazcano was on hand to provide the crucial shot block and it five minutes from full time it was the Strikers who struck.

Beau Blizzard played the percentages and drove one into the middle of the box, where anything could happen. It fell the way of Joel Stone and he made no mistake, sweeping home to claim a vital 3 points for his side.

In a season of such tight margins, with what is looming as one of the more open title races we have ever seen in the NPL TAS, it could well prove a decisive moment when we look back at this game come seasons end.

South Coach, Ken Morton was not too concerned post game, choosing to look at the performance as a positive and with Zebras losing the most they will trail by after this round is 6 points.

Devonport rode their luck today but they were definitely due some, after a couple of snake bitten performances in front of goal in the past 2 rounds. Following a brutal stretch of games, their record against the top 3 of last year reads 1 win, 1 loss, 1 draw,  which probably isn’t a bad return with 2 of those games coming on the road.

 

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