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McDonald’s® NPL Tasmania: Round 15 Weekend Wash-Up

Welcome to the Weekend Wash-up for Round 15 of the McDonald’s NPL Tasmania season. There were just the three games played this weekend, following the postponement of Riverside v Launceston City, on Friday night with Saturday producing two comfortable wins for the competition’s top two sides, before the Lions provided the surprise of the weekend by ending South Hobart’s winning streak on the Sunday.

Strikers Surge Past Zebras

The Devonport Strikers continued to close in on sealing the 2023 league title, as they produced another dominant performance to brush aside the Clarence Zebras 5-1 at Valley Road.

Having been tested by the Zebras in each of the three prior meetings the Strikers seemed determined to prove a point here and not let the opposition get close again.

The opening goal came a quarter of an hour into the game when Nick Lanau-Atkinson curled in a free kick which Toby Barton helped on its way, through the sea of bodies and into the back of the net.

The Zebras have found ways to score against the Strikers this year though and they got themselves back on terms just past the half-hour mark when defender Benjamin Tilley bobbed up for a second goal in as many games, glancing home a long-range free kick.

Any notion the Zebras were set to push the Strikers once again was quickly put to bed though as the Strikers responded from the penalty spot five minutes later, with Roberto Fernandez Garrido restoring the lead.

The Strikers then surged away from the Zebras with a devastating burst from the 60-70th minute mark, as they scored three times in quick succession to storm to a huge win.

The highlight of the game arrived just after the hour mark as Taylor Last curled in a superb free kick from long range, catching the keeper out with a perfectly struck set piece to make it 3-1.

Denehey played in Luke Bennett for a classily worked fourth before Denehey turned scorer moments later and headed home another just 17 seconds after the game had restarted.

It locked up a thumping 5-1 win that maintained the Striker’s seven-point lead atop the table as they close in on yet another league title.

The Strikers produced another dominant display at home- Solstice Digital

Knights Ease Past United

The Glenorchy Knights bounced back from their defeat at the hands of the Strikers last time out, to register a comfortable 5-0 win over Launceston United. The Northeners provided some stubborn defensive resistance early on but were eventually overwhelmed as Nick Mearns fired in a brace and the Knights found their shooting boots in the second half.

The Knights were in control of the game for the majority of the first half and were creating some promising chances but were unable to find the breakthrough. Piper saved well to deny Daniel Sagno the opening goal, with the Canadian star later succumbing to a knee injury which he has since had scans on.

The breakthrough arrived just before the halftime break, as Eli Luttmer got the better of his marker at a corner and thumped home a powerful header to break the deadlock. It was a hammer blow for United, who were just moments away from heading into the sheds with the game locked up.

The Knights struck again just moments after the restart after some magical work from Nicholas Mearns, weaving into the box past two defenders before smashing an effort in at the near post that beat the keeper for power.

Mearns made it a brace just after the hour mark when he ran onto a well-played pass from Lucas Dzalakowski and lifted his effort over the advancing keeper.

Piper made a brilliant save to keep out Undy moments later but the Knights were now all over them and the goals were clearly breeding confidence against a worn-down United defence.

The fourth arrived on 75 minutes via an own goal as Connor Schmidt’s cross was turned in on the line by McTigue, before the scoring was rounded out by Adam Gorrie in the 84th minute when he was also played in behind by a pass from Dzalakowski.

It secured a third win from three games against United this season and was a nice bounce-back performance for the Knights. With South ultimately dropping points in Sunday’s fixture, it sees the Knights now sitting four points clear in second place, though still some seven points adrift of the Devonport Strikers.

A knee injury to star Canadian Daniel Sagno put a dampener on the Knights big win- Solstice Digital

Lions Claim First Darcy Street Victory

The surprise of the weekend came on Sunday, as the Kingborough Lions did something they have never done before in NPL Tasmania history and beat South Hobart at Darcy Street. After trailing to an early Nick Morton strike, the Lions hit back to claim a 2-1 win that sees them close back within a point of fourth place.

South started the sharper of the two sides, but it was Freddy Hess who came close to nodding the Lions into an early lead, heading just wide from a corner. A minute later however and his side were trailing.

South took the lead in the 11th minute when Nick Morton took advantage of the Lions keeper Azizi being caught in no man’s land, changing his mind about coming to sweep a ball off his line, and promptly finding himself chipped by the South star from 25 yards out.

The Lions restored parity just 10 minutes later when Jack Bowman turned what seemed an innocuous cross from wide on the left past his own keeper and into the back of the net.

South should have regained the lead almost immediately after Semmler whipped in a dangerous cross, but a stretching Morton elevated his effort over the top from 5 yards out.

The sides traded half chances for the rest of the half in what was developing into a pretty open game with plenty of shots being fired off.

The Lions then had the lead to take into the half-time break when Noah Mies was left with a tap-in at the back post after a surging run into the area from Freddy Hess unlocked the South Hobart defence in the final minute of the half.

Hess continued his strong recent form with a fine display- Solstice Digital

The Lions had the better of the early exchanges in the second half, creating some good scoring chances in the opening twenty minutes but finding themselves unable to extend their lead and leaving the door ajar for South.

They were almost made to pay for not slamming the door shut when South came close three times in the space of a minute.

First Toby Herweynen turned an effort over the bar from close range in the 72nd minute after Lancaster had played an inviting ball back across the face from a back post free kick.  

Then Van Doorne was denied by an excellent save from Azizi, before his follow-up effort was cleared off the line by Keenan Douce who somehow snuck in behind a lurking Nick Morton to whisk it away in the nick of time before Morton could tap home from a yard out.

The Lions were living dangerously and South again came close in the 84th minute when Gus Higgins became the latest player to spurn a chance over the top from close range, heading over after Semmler had seemingly put it on a platter for him.

It would be South’s last meaningful chance and they will walk away from this game wondering how on earth they only managed to score twice. According to the ever-reliable stats guru, Benjamin Smith, the win was the Lions first in NPL Tasmania history against South Hobart at this venue and the first time they tasted a league victory against South at Darcy Street since 2006!

South squandered some glorious scoring chances and the Lions made them pay- Solstice Digital

Round 15

Devonport Strikers 5 (T.Barton 14” R.Garrido 38” T.Last 63” L.Bennett 68” B.Denehey 69”)

Clarence Zebras 1 (B.Tilley 33”)

Goal Highlights

Glenorchy Knights 5 (E.Luttmer 44” N.Mearns 47” 62” T.McTigue OG 76” A.Gorrie 84”)

Launceston United 0

Goal Highlights

South Hobart 1 (N.Morton 15”)

Kingborough Lions 2 (J.Bowman OG 24” N.Mies 45”)

Goal Highlights

Highlights

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