Slice of Cheese

Zebras Hold Off Fast Finishing City

Solstice Photography

The Hobart Zebras survived a late scare and defeated Launceston City 3-2 in a thriller at Buckby Landcover Park. After a brace from Mathew Sanders and goal from Matthew Pace had the Zebras seemingly in complete control leading 3-0 at half time, the game then changed tact drastically in the final 30 minutes. A penalty from Noah Mies and header from Shane Egan closed the gap to 3-2 and the Zebras were forced to endure a barrage of crosses into their box in the dying minutes, before holding on to take the points.

Things have taken a sudden turn in recent weeks for Launceston City. It’s been a hard run of fixtures for the northern side. After losing to South Hobart, they dominated the Devonport Strikers in the first half last week. But could not manage to hold out for the full 90 as Devonport managed to come out firing in the second half to win 3-1 and send themselves to the top of the NPL Tasmania table. This week’s game against the Hobart Zebras could not have come at a worse time for City, as they were trying to get back to winning ways against a side that scored 9 past Clarence the week earlier and were playing with a large amount of confidence.

In contrast to last week, City were on the back foot going into the sheds after going 3-0 down inside the first 45 minutes. A penalty tucked away by Matthew Sanders was the first blow for City, after Millington produced a rare mistake and took down Sklenar in the box. Sanders would add to his first just before half time when he was left completely free on the edge of the box with only Niko Giantsopoulos to beat. Pace was also able to break through the City backline when he retrieved his deflected shot and got in behind to slot it past the keeper. It was a very uncharacteristic display from the City defence in the first half. It looked like a near impossible task to mount a comeback, especially when star striker Tyler Fischer was substituted at half time.

After that first half display, Hobart Zebras leapfrogged City into second place on goal difference. However, a penalty to City in the 71st minute, tucked away by Noah Mies, gave the home side some hope.

As City kept pressing to get that crucial second goal, it came 10 minutes after the first when Syson put in a corner ball. There was a bit of confusion as to whether Scott or Egan got to claim it, but both seemed more interested in getting the ball back to the centre to try and salvage a point.

It wasn’t to be for Launceston City as they could not seem to find that last goal to complete the comeback, even after Giantsopoulos came up for a corner late in the game.

Deapite losing the match and losing pace with Devonport, City managed to cling onto second spot after their second half comeback. The Zebras find themselves in third, but have closed the gap between themselves and second place. Both teams will await Sunday’s fixture featuring South Hobart, who could go as high as second depending on the result.