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McDonald’s® NPL Tasmania: Round 18 Weekend Wash-Up

Welcome to the Weekend-Washup for Round 18 of the McDonald’s NPL Tasmania season. It was a weekend where the Strikers moved within a point of clinching the title with a drubbing of Riverside, the Knights struck late to deny South Hobart second place on the table, the Lions claimed a vital win in the battle for fourth over Launceston City and the Clarence Zebras snapped their losing skid at Launceston United.

Knights Strike Late To Stay Second

Moses Khasif struck a 93rd-minute equaliser to snatch a crucial point for the Glenorchy Knights, as they drew 1-1 with South Hobart on Friday Night. South appeared to be on their way to jumping the Knights up into second place on the table after Nick Morton, playing NPL Tasmania game #200 handed them the lead with a classily taken free kick shortly after the restart. It was not to be, however, as a last-gasp equalizer from Khasif saw the Knights take a share of the spoils and remain in second place with 3 rounds to go.

The Knights nearly lead in the opening moments when Dzalakowski volleyed just wide but it wasn’t a sign of things to come, with scoring chances a rarity in the first half. The Knights were shading things, but neither team was creating too many threatening moments, with shots from long-range the order of the day.

South took the lead shortly after the half time break when Nick Morton stepped up and seized his moment in NPL game 200 by picking out the bottom corner with a brilliantly struck free kick from just outside the box.

He has been one of the stars of the competition for many years now and he has just gone from strength to strength in recent seasons, playing a more advanced role and becoming a prolific goal scorer in the process. Few players would have the highlights compilation of Morton and he would be one of the first picked in an all-time NPL Tasmania XI.

Morton has been a star of the NPL Tasmania- Solstice Digital

Had his goal been the match winner it would’ve been fitting, but alas, with only seconds remaining there was a cruel sting in the tail for South Hobart, as the Knights struck late to snatch a draw.

Moses Khasif played spoiler in stoppage time, scoring the goal that might be the difference between a second and third-place finish for his side, smashing a first-time finish into the bottom corner after a long ball had been headed by Reilly Morton into the arm of Jack Bowman, deflecting into his path. The South players looked for a flag, but none was forthcoming, and the Knights wheeled away in celebration, snatching a dramatic equalizer that keeps them in second place on the table with 3 games left to play.

Lions Down City To Move Clear in Fourth

The Kingborough Lions claimed a 2-0 win over Launceston City and secured a crucial three points in the battle for fourth place. Goals from Noah Mies and Ahmad Othman secured the win for the Lions, which leaves them in the box seat for a fourth-place finish and the final spot in the end-of-season tournament.

The Lions wasted no time in taking the lead, as Ahmad Othman continued his red-hot run of form, taking the ball at the top of the box before bringing it under his spell and firing into the bottom left-hand corner past a diving Lachie Clark.

City should’ve restored parity in the fifteenth minute but a stretching Mason Smith could only direct his effort from the middle of the box wide of the post.

The game remained 1-0 at halftime with a pair of Joel Stone free kicks, fingertipped over the bar by an alert Eisa Azizi as close as City came to an equalizer, whilst Lachie Clark kept out Declan Taylor in the final minute of the half with a good stop of his own.

It was another fast start from the Lions after the restart as Noah Mies doubled their advantage with a wonderfully curled effort from just inside the penalty area coming in just the third minute of the second half. It was a tremendous hit of pure quality and left the Lions 2-0 ahead and with City facing a mountain to climb.

The second half saw the Lions always looking more like extending their lead than City did cutting into it, as Douce and Othman came close but fired their efforts straight at Lachie Clark.  

The game reached full time with the Lions still up 2-0 which sees them move five points clear of City in fourth. City does still have a game in hand though and they also have a slightly easier final few weeks schedule, so they remain in the hunt, but for now it’s firmly advantage Lions in the battle for fourth.

The fourth placed Lions have opened up a five point gap to City in fifth- Solstice Digital

Scintillating Strikers Move Within a Point Of Title

The Devonport Strikers were at their brilliant best as they dismantled Riverside Olympic and scored a thumping 6-0 win at Windsor Park. The Strikers ran riot throughout the 90 minutes as they moved within a point of officially securing the 2023 League title.

The Striker’s irrepressible Spaniard Roberto Fernandez Garrido had them off and running in just the fifth minute of this one as he finished off Brody Denehey’s cross with a well-timed run and finish from close range.

Ten minutes later and the lead was doubled as Dom Smith launched a long ball over the top which perfectly sprang Luke Bennett in behind his full-back and he took it down with a silky touch before stroking home the second.

Another long ball over the top led to their third as Smith once again played in a brilliantly weighted delivery that sprung Denehey who made no mistake to make it 3-0. When Charles Bidwell got in on the act it was 4-0 before half time and the Strikers were simply enjoying themselves at this point.

The highlight of the match came in the second half as Nick Lanau-Atkinson curled in an absolutely delightful free kick from 20 yards out on the left-hand side of the box, spinning it expertly over the wall and taking it away from the keeper with some wicked spin. He celebrated with his usual gusto and the Strikers led 5-0.

Roberto Fernandez Garrido then scored his second in second-half stoppage time, bobbing up with a header from close range to nod in Taylor Last’s free kick and make it 6-0 to the Champions in wait.

The win leaves the Strikers just one match away from being crowned champions, which they can wrap up on Wednesday night against Launceston United where they will need just a point to be officially crowned as Champions for what will be their sixth title in eight seaosns.

Nick LA hit a stunning free-kick- Solstice Digital

Ten Man Zebras Account For United

A ten-man Clarence Zebras outfit rallied back from 1-0 down to defeat Launceston United 2-1 and snap a six-game losing streak. Trailing to Josh Digney’s opening goal and then reduced to 10 men following Pritchard Adjei’s second yellow card, a Samuel Tooze brace saw the Zebras hit back to win the match and deny United a breakthrough result.

The best chance in the early going fell to Xuan Cappellino, who couldn’t quite bend his effort back enough after rounding the keeper.

A minute later and it was United who led instead, as Joel Digney fired home the rebound after Will Spicer had drawn a save from Joshua Burgess who was in net for the Zebras in the absence of Josh Jones.

But the Clarence Zebras began to create a few chances in the run into half time and shortly after Ryan Cook’s header was saved by Aidan Piper, Samuel Tooze had restored parity.

A cross from Riley Dillon from wide on the left to the top of the box saw Piper coming flying out off his line but failing to get to the ball, leaving an empty net for Tooze’s glancing header to trickle into.

The Zebras joy was short lived however when they were reduced to 10 men the very next minute following the goal. Pritchard Adjei brought down David Owusu as he stormed towards goal and was given his second yellow card for the contest and his subsequent marching orders.

It was a numerical advantage that provided an enormous opportunity for United, but would be one which they failed to seize. Five minutes into the second half the 10 man Zebras took a 2-1 lead as Samuel Tooze prodded home from close range after a rebound was left on the doorstep for him by Piper in saving a Cappellino shot.

Cappellino could’ve made sure of the points in the 68th minute when Piper fumbled Wishart’s free kick, but his recovery to deny the Argentine was incredible, pulling off a stunning diving save.

The Clarence Zebras didn’t need the third goal though, as United failed to create any real chances of note and the score remained 2-1 at the final whistle, as the Zebras snapped their skid, whilst United will be made to rue missing out on what might well prove their best chance at a breakthrough result.

Round 18

Glenorchy Knights 1 (M.Khasif 90+3”)

South Hobart 1 (N.Morton 51”)

Goal Highlights

Kingborough Lions 2 (A.Othman 3” N.Mies 48”)

Launceston City 0

Goal Highlights

Devonport Strikers 6 (R.Garrido 5” 90+2” L.Bennett 15” B.Denehey 27” C.Bidwell 43” N.Lanau-Atkinson 63”)

Riverside Olympic 0

Goal Highlights

Launceston United 1 (J.Digney 24”)

Clarence Zebras 2 (S.Tooze 45+1” 51”)

Goal Highlights

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