Slice of Cheese

Zebras Claim Trophy: South Win Respect

Izzy Ottavi

Hobart Zebras defeated South Hobart 3-1 to claim the Summer Cup on Friday night, making it four consecutive trophies for the undisputed powerhouse of Women’s football and extending their unbeaten streak to 35 games.

In an entertaining decider it was the experience and class of Zebras that prevailed over the youthful exuberance of South, who gave a fine account of themselves and earned plenty of respect for the way they went about it, taking the game to their more fancied opponents.

Zebras wasted no time in getting going as boom recruit Lucy Johnson launched a delightful chip from 25 yards out. It lobbed the scrambling keeper, her former Olympia teammate Margot Johnston, and landed in the back of the net to give the Zebras the lead inside of 10 minutes.

Playing in a different role as a striker, it was Alyssa Bowden who then doubled her sides lead when a misplaced headed clearance fell to her in the box.  She made no mistake, volleying home a well placed shot to make it 2-0 after 20 minutes of play and at that stage it seemed a rout could be on the cards.

Bowden led the line in the first half- PlessPix

But the young South Hobart side were not going to go quietly into the night. They managed to pull one back on 31 minutes as Pichon Choi ran onto a deflected ball, beating the Zebras keeper Ponting to it, and thumped a header home.

That goal seemed to fill South with belief and for the next 15 minutes they were all over Zebras. They took the game to them and came within a whisker of levelling things up when the dangerous Fader’s effort spun left late and somehow stayed out, clipping the post.

It was impressive play from South with the lively Eliane Fader and Isabella Ferrier causing chaos down the flanks and the class of Georgie Carter linking things together in midfield with some very tidy passing combinations.

It was a vision of perhaps what to expect from this South side in the years to come if they can keep this group together. Over the totality of the 90 minutes, they simply couldn’t keep up but it was the Zebras side who were baying for the half time whistle as South showed the type of football they are capable of in an impressive period.

The Zebras needed to regroup and half time gave them that opportunity to do so as they came out refocused for the second 45. Chris Hey shifted things around and moved Monique Undy into a centre forward role, shifting Kayla Mason into centre back and the move immediately paid dividends.

Undy’s strength bullied the defence and she did a fine job bringing her midfield players into the game with some quality hold up play.

Almost immediately after the restart, Zebras extended their lead to 3-1 when an unmarked Lucy Johnson’s shot deflected off a South Hobart body and into the back of the net.

From that moment on Zebras controlled the contest. Georgia Burt was masterful in midfield as they dominated possession and made their opponents chase them around. They slowed the tempo of the game and never looked troubled as they went on to claim the 3-1 victory.

South didn’t have enough in the tank to mount the second half fightback and the class of Zebras came to the fore. They ground out another cup final victory in a thoroughly assured and professional manner.

Lucy Johnson was named the player of the match, for her goal contributions, narrowly edging out Georgia Burt as the Zebras began the 2018 season exactly as they ended 2017, clasping silverware.

The Zebras celebrate- Izzy Ottavi

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