Slice of Cheese

City Rout Zebras: Holders On The Ropes

Solstice Photography

Launceston City recovered from a tough two weeks to rout the Hobart Zebras 4-0, putting  the defending champions 11 points adrift after the first full round of fixtures. There was none of the tight battle anticipated, City striking early and dominating the contest to claim a resounding win.

Last season these sides could barely be separated, playing out 3 arm wrestles in the WSL and a compelling Statewide Cup final. It was the Zebras who continually found the extra edge on route to their record breaking treble, but Sunday was a demonstration that things are looking very different in 2018.

City controlled the contest from start to finish, they looked hungrier, bossed the midfield battle and relentlessly pegged the Zebras back deep in their own end. Time after time Zebras broke down around halfway, as the usual flow and possession control they demonstrate was absent.

City took the lead on 15 minutes when Ponting couldn’t hold Beth Bygrave’s free kick and waiting to pounce was Holly Savill who poked home the opening goal.

Zebras were under the pump, with Beth Bygrave instituting a shoot on sight policy with City frequently testing Ponting from distance, though not having much success.

Their best moments were coming when they got it wide and crossed it into the box and it was a cross from corner that allowed Lilian Shegog the simplest of tap ins on 28 minutes.

Just under 10 minutes later, Shegog turned provider as she crossed a ball into the middle of the box where Emily Hernyk attacked the ball with purpose and blasted a shot home to make it 3-0 before the break and reflect City’s dominance on the scoreboard.

Chris Hey shuffled his deck on the second half introducing Allie Berry and Danielle Kannegiesser who continue their return from injuries but before they could make a mark, the margin blew out to 4-0.

Keilin Fagan seized on a turnover and then fired one off near post that squeezed through Ponting and snuck home to make the game safe for City.

From there the game went through the motions in the final half hour, City sensing they had the game won and Zebras knowing they were too far down. Each side had a couple of chances to add further to the score, but the sting was out of the game.

It means the defending champions are now on the ropes as we reach the 1/3 mark of the season, sitting 11 points behind the leaders Ulverstone which leaves them with no margin for error. City meanwhile keep up the pressure on Ulverstone and remain within striking distance, separated only by last weekends defeat to them.