Slice of Cheese

Fast Finishing Warriors Overcome Zebras

In a see sawing affair, the Olympia Warriors dug deep to start their season in style with a 3-2 victory over Hobart Zebras in their Round 1 Super League clash. 

From the kick off, Olympia looked intent on playing keeping’s off, managing to keep the ball rolling and hold a majority of the possession. The Zebras seemed content to let them play, sitting their midfield deep to keep the lines tights with the defence.

Some jigging feet by Chambers on the left flank and nifty balls by Michael and Bomford weren’t enough to break the Zebras down for half an hour as the Zebras defence held firm. Up the other end, the chances were sparing, however the Zebras transitioned quickly and were searching for something from Hulton and Nichols, even if they were often left isolated.

Just after the half hour mark, Olympia opened the deadlock through an unlikely source. Raffaella Puli, pushing up from fullback, found herself goal side of her defender with space in behind. A ball over the top released her through on goal and not needing any second chances, Puli pummelled it home to open the scoring.

Soon after Olympia looked threatening from a free kick around the box. However Cook pulled out a marvellous save, then was ready for the scraps, to punch the ball away twice to safety. The game was beginning to open up slowly, as the Zebras begun springing more players forward when they surged in attack, whilst Olympia still controlled the bulk of play.

There was still life in the half after the goal, as a searing counter attack initiated by Nichols saw Farrow take out Hulton in the box. The initial advantage was allowed, however ultimately called back for a penalty against the keeper.

New City recruit, Selina Steventon stepped up to the plate for the Zebras. Cool-headed, the centre back left little doubt securing the equaliser by burying the penalty into the net to see the sides go in at halftime level at 1-1.

With a pep in their step after the half time break, the Zebras looked the more likely side to score. Olympia were still searching their answer book for a solution to break down the Zebras defence, whilst the Zebras sought to pounce on them like prey. It was Nichols, whose dancing feet, entertaining all game long, finally got the better of the Olympia defence. The traffic not proving of any hazard to the forward, she weaved through and produced a powerful finish into the bottom corner. The Zebras had found a way to pull ahead and suddenly  Olympia found themselves with their backs against the wall.

Olympia continued to play patiently, but the Zebras had a wind under their sails and went searching for another as Danielle Kannegiesser looked increasingly dangerous on the wing. She came within inches of making it 3-1 to the Zebras but in the end, it was Olympia’s patience and fitness that prevailed.

In the 83rd minute, Michael conjured a nifty ball over the defence to Marino. Marino turned her fullback inside out to cut the cross back to Davies. Hitting it hard on her left foot, Davies finish may not have been perfect, but it fooled her opposition goalkeeper to sneak it in and equal the score.

Olympia put to bed any chances of the Zebras getting something out of the match in the last ten minutes of play. Despite Mason attempting to single handedly at times to salvage a point, the writing was on the wall. A 90th minute winner was found by Mamic. The forward was simply in the right place at the right time, cleaning up Davies parried shot, which had wound up at her feet. So once again, a last minute Mamic winner separated a tight encounter, giving Olympia the full three points up for grabs.

In a match far more even at the end of the whistle than the opening twenty minutes would’ve suggested, the Warriors out ran the Zebras in the end. With entertaining clashes all over the park, particularly the mouth watering duel between Bomford and Nichols, it was a cracking encounter. However the Warriors were undeterred, executing their game plan, finding themselves with their first three points on offer.