Slice of

McDonald’s® NPL Tasmania: Round 19 Weekend Wash-Up

Welcome to the Weekend Wash-Up from Round 19 in the McDonald’s NPL Tasmania. It was a weekend where the Lions extended their winning streak to 6 games by downing the Knights, the Strikers downed South Hobart and hoisted the silverware at Valley Road. The Clarence Zebras proved too good for Launceston City whilst Launceston United got off the mark with their first point of the year snatching a late draw with Riverside.

Six Straight for Surging Lions

The Round began on Friday night with the Kingborough Lions notching their sixth consecutive victory by downing the Glenorchy Knights 2-0 in front of a vocal home crowd at the Den.

The win coupled with City’s defeat to the Clarence Zebras leaves the Lions firmly encapsulated in the competition’s top four, now sitting seven points clear and all but locked into the end-of-season cup competition.

The game was played at a furious tempo early, with the Lions jumping sharply out of the blocks and firing off a raft of early shots. They were creating plenty of chances in the first 20 minutes but were unable to convert.

Dzalakowski had the first opening for the Knights but couldn’t beat Azizi at his near post before Marco Favaro came closest of anyone by absolutely blasting a shot that rocked the crossbar from 30 yards out.

The Lions took the lead in the 35th minute thanks to an exquisitely dinked ball from Kobe Kemp, picking out Freddy Hess with the outside of his boot for the player/coach to volley home.

They then doubled the lead before the halftime break with Gardner giving up a rare soft goal and getting beaten at his near post by Declan Taylor to double the advantage.

Hugh Undy had an early look in the second half but Azizi slid out well to close down the angle and turn his shot aside.

The Lions came close to extending their lead as Kemp and Othman both fizzed efforts wide before the Knights started to work their way on top.

The Knights spent much of the second half on the attack, putting ball after ball into the box and winning a series of corners. The Lions defence and shot blocking were first rate though and despite facing an almighty push they would not yield a goal.

It could even have ended 3-0 if not for a brilliant kick save from Jackson Gardner to deny one of the form player’s in the competition in Ahmad Othman another goal. There would be no more scoring however as the game ended at 2-0.

The streak means the Lions have beaten every side in the competition bar the Strikers over the past 6 weeks. They were the last side the Lions tasted defeat at the hands of and they are currently riding a seven-match winning streak. Those two sides will meet next weekend in what should be a cracking encounter.

The Lions are absolutely flying- Solstice Digital

Strikers Celebrate Title With Win Over South

The Devonport Strikers celebrated hoisting the NPL trophy with a 2-0 victory over South Hobart at Valley Road. On a day when they were presented with the 2023 NPL Champions trophy in front of the Valley Road faithful, the Strikers produced a display worthy of the occasion, highlighting just why they were top dogs once again with a dominant performance by absolutely bossing the contest.

Having been defeated by South Hobart in the most recent meeting at this venue the Strikers seemed to have a point to prove here and they wanted to ensure this was a proper celebration by adding three more points to their title-winning tally.

The first half saw the Strikers shading possession and territory but clear cut chances were few and far between outside of the opening minutes with the Strikers jumping sharply out of the blocks.

A thumping volley from Roberto Fernandez Garrido drew a low-down save from O’Connell before Denehey fired a good chance wide moments later.

Devonport came close again just before half-time when Toby Barton had a header cleared off the line, whilst the only real chance South created was a good one, but not taken when a brilliant ball from Castaneda sprung Fidra in behind but he fired wide.

The Strikers made their move after the restart with Fernandez Garrido striking twice inside the opening 10 minutes of the half to set up the win.

Fernandez Garrido wheels away after scoring- Solstice Digital

The first came via a long ball from Dom Smith that sprung Nick Lanau-Atkinson down the right, he cut it back to the Spaniard who fired home at the second time of asking after O’Connell had saved his initial shot.

That combination then linked up again 90 seconds later as Garrido reacted brilliantly to a perfectly placed free kick from Lanau-Atkinson and steered home his second.

It was a day of celebration at Valley Road- Solstice Digital

Lanau-Atkinson nearly added another of his own midway through the half but O’Connell got across to defend his near post and complete a nice double save to keep it at 2-0.

That is how it would remain as the Strikers saw the game out to secure the victory and then celebrated post-game by lifting the trophy. It marks their sixth NPL Tasmania crown in the last 8 seasons and makes it 10 of the last 16 major trophies on offer they’ve claimed. Whatever way you cut it, the last eight years have just been the most extraordinary period of dominance from this absolute powerhouse of a football club.

Devonport Strikers, McDonald’s NPL TAS Champions 2023- Solstice Digital

Wishart Masterclass Shatters City’s Top Four Hopes

The Clarence Zebras claimed an impressive 3-0 win on the road to Launceston City, splintering the host’s top-four hopes in the process and moving ahead of them on the table.

City had the better of the early exchanges and came close twice in the opening twenty minutes with first James Hawes and then Joel Stone fizzing efforts narrowly wide from distance. Toby Anderson then nodded a sharp chance over the top as the game reached halftime locked at 0-0 but with City firmly on top and looking the more likely to score.

The trajectory of the match drastically changed after halftime however with the Zebras striking in the very first minute. Ryley Wishart played an inviting cross to the back post where fellow import Xuan Cappellino was waiting to thump home a booming header into the top corner.

The Zebra’s lead was doubled just before the hour mark as Curtis Miley played a well-weighted pass that Wishart stormed onto, beating Clark to the ball before rounding him and depositing it into the net.

City tried to claw one back but the best chances they created were shots from outside the area that fizzed wide from Simeoni and Smith.

The cherry was put on top of the cake in the 97th minute when Wishart produced another assist, this perhaps the best of the entire NPL season, as he stormed from inside his own half, beating two defenders before finding Matthew Pace at the back post who bundled home the Zebras third.

It capped a stunning performance from the Canadian and saw the Zebras move past City on the NPL table as they string wins together for the first time in a couple of months. Interim coach Alex Tatnell seems to have done a good job steadying the ship.

Ryley Wishart shone with a goal and two quality assists- Solstice Digital

United Strike Late To Claim First Point

Launceston United got themselves on the board in season 2023 in dramatic fashion, striking a 97th-minute equalizer to deny Riverside Olympic a derby victory and claim their first point of the campaign.

The sides traded early chances as a mazy run from Jaeden Mercure nearly brought about the opener, but he was denied a stunning solo goal by Dan Nash getting down to keep his shot out. Up the other end, Will Prince headed narrowly over the top from a corner as the sides traded chances.

United then had a superb opportunity at the back post for David Owusu to head in from close range but Nash got across and got a piece of it to somehow keep it out with some remarkable keeping.

Nicholas Penchenyi had an even better chance for the Roos just before the break, but with the goals at his mercy could only pick out the upright.

The teams traded half-chances in the first part of the second half before a corner led to a diving header at the back post from Gedi Krusa to break the deadlock and fire Riverside ahead.

It seemed like Riverside had done enough when in the 94th minute Will Prince showed some excellent recovery speed to get back and block away what looked like a prime opening for Angelo Amato.

But there was one last roll of the dice remaining for the hosts and United made it count as they struck in the seventh minute of stoppage time. Aidan Rigby floated a long-range ball into the area that multiple players lept for, but nobody made contact and it managed to sneak it at the back post.

It set off wild celebrations from the home faithful as United finally got off the mark by claiming a point from the 1-1 draw.

It spoiled the celebrations a little for Riverside stalwart Aaron Campbell who became just the second player to reach the 200-game milestone in the NPL Tasmania and had to be content with a draw on the occasion.

Aaron Campbell gets a guard of honour in NPL game 200- Kaleb Clark

Round 19

Kingborough Lions 2 (A.Hess 22” D.Taylor 44”)

Glenorchy Knights 0 

Goal Highlights

Launceston United 1 (A.Rigby 90+6”)

Riverside Olympic 1 (G.Krusa 70”)

Goal Highlights

Devonport Strikers 2 (R.Garrido 53” 56”)

South Hobart 0

Goal Highlights

Launceston City 0 

Clarence Zebras 3 (X.Cappellino 47” R.Wishart 60” M.Pace 90+7”)

Goal Highlights