Slice of Cheese

City Down Warriors To Move Top

Solstice Photography

The bus ride back to Launceston would have been a happy one for Launceston City after downing Olympia 2-0 in windy conditions at Warrior Park to move to the top of NPL TAS table after 4 rounds.

The game began with the Warriors attacking well, settling into their fast paced game early. In the 4th minute, a clumsy City mistake awarded Olympia a penalty. But Niko Giantsopoulos lived up to his reputation, denying Gordon Gurson’s shot from hitting the back of the net and keeping the game locked at 0-0. This save didn’t halt the Warriors charge, with Lucas Hill almost finding a goal in the 18th minute, weaving his way through traffic, only for his shot to be saved by the inspired Giantsopoulos.

The Launceston defence was holding strong and it was clear that they were not going to be beaten easily, but in the 24th minute, Alex Holmes almost did. As Wadawu swung in a corner, Holmes rose high over his opponents, only for his header to rumble against the crossbar. As the half wore on Jake Vandermey made a great run down the right hand side, followed by a cutback which found Gordon Gurson who had found space in the box, but failed to score. It was after this that Launceston became less defensive and got into the game a lot more, with Noah Mies showing good signs for the second half with a positive run down the right hand side. City continued to gain more possession, yet in the 44th minute the game went into overdrive when the referee pulled out a red card, only to quickly reverse it to yellow. This event led into half time, with top spot still very much up for grabs in the second half.

The second half looked to begin the way that most of the first half played out, with Hugh Undy whipping in a cross and Nkoso putting Wadawu through, however Launceston had other plans.

In the 48th minute City won a free kick, which spilt to Joesph Dazario who reacted quickly to connect with the ball, placing it out of reach of Brett Johnson and putting City 1-0 up. Launceston began piling on the pressure and in the 63rd minute, Olympia mistakenly committed a pass back to the goalkeeper, allowing City an indirect free kick in the box, which went over the bar.

It appeared that nothing could stop the momentum of City, that was until the corner flag decided it would not stand up. This caused a comedic few seconds as both Warren Wadawu and the assistant referee combined to fix the flag. Once the flag had been put in its place, the game continued, with Olympia using all of its subs in one go.

However, Launceston weren’t phased, continuing to attack. This persistence eventually led to their second goal, with Noah Mies producing a gut busting run down the left wing touchline before putting it on a platter for Tyler Fischer who made no mistake from close range.

As the game continued Olympia persisted to get back into the contest but couldn’t break down the City defensive unit, with the game ending Launceston 2 Olympia 0, sending City to the summit.

Launceston coach Jez Kenth wasn’t worried about the majority of Olympia attacks in the first half, saying that many failed to threaten the goals. He spoke of the intent of his side in the second half, to press higher and win their one on one battles, which ultimately won them the match.

Dale Itchins was disappointed by his teams ability to finish their attacks, which seems to have become something the Warriors have struggled with in the early stages of the season. Itchins also labelled his side “patchy” but saw positives in a number of individual performances, namely the return of Lucas Hill.

Launceston’s next match will be at home on Saturday to a South Hobart looking to make their way up the table, meanwhile Olympia play the Hobart Zebras at North Hobart Oval on ANZAC day.

Solstice Photography

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