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McDonald’s NPL Weekend Wash-Up: R19

Welcome to the Weekend Washup for another week as we creep ever closer to the conclusion of the 2022 McDonalds NPL Tasmania season. With the title wrapped up it’s just the minor placings and individual awards really left to play for at this stage and this past weekend went some way to resolving those matters. Roberto Fernandez Garrido took ahold of the Golden Boot race with his brace in Devonport’s comprehensive 3-0 win over South Hobart though Noah Mies stayed in the hunt as he scored in his Lions side’s 2-1 win over the Warriors that kept their hopes of second place alive. Knights remain hot on the Lions heels with a 2-1 win of their own over Launceston City, whilst the Clarence Zebras locked in a sixth-placed finish as they edged out Riverside Olympic 1-0. 

Strikers Underline Title Credentials

The Devonport Strikers demonstrated just why they already had the league title wrapped up as they dismantled second-placed South Hobart at Darcy Street. In a game devoid of the usual stakes that come with a Strikers v South showdown, the visitors completely dominated the game and drove home the gap between first and second with a comprehensive 3-0 win. On the table, that gap now stands at a whopping 13 points and on Saturday’s evidence that seems entirely appropriate. The Strikers have been the best side by a distance this year and even with nothing much to play for here they weren’t going to let up.

They took the lead just five minutes into the game as Spaniard Roberto Fernandez Garrido reclaimed the outright lead in the Golden Boot race by converting from the penalty spot after Dom Smith had been dragged down by Gus Higgins.

The Spaniard probably should’ve doubled his tally shortly after but fired a great chance wide and the Striker’s wait for a second goal would extend into the second half despite their near complete control of the game. Nick Lanau-Atkinson eventually provided it as Fernandez Garrido flicked it into his path and cutting through the defence, Lanau-Atkinson produced a composed finish to give his side the goal their play had surely deserved. 

A third goal to provide some more emphasis on the scoreboard came 15 minutes from full time when Mohammadi was sent tumbling in the box prompting a second penalty of the match. Up stepped Fernandez Garrido for his second of the afternoon and league-leading 20th goal of the season. It saw the game ending 3-0 and it was a game in which the Strikers were scarcely troubled. 

The loss was a flat performance from South Hobart but it shouldn’t dent them too badly as they will still finish in second if they win their final two games over Clarence Zebras and Riverside, both of which they will host at Darcy Street. 

Lions Eclipse Points Record

The Kingborough Lions rallied back from an early deficit to defeat Olympia 2-1 on Friday Night at Clennett’s Lightwood Park. In a game that saw all the scoring done early on, the Lions were able to overcome falling behind after just five minutes to secure the victory. 

Tyson Barrett handed Olympia a surprise early lead after just 6 minutes from a corner, as he hammered in an effort from close range to shock the Lions.

The home side wasted little time in mounting a response and got back on terms just ten minutes later via Declan Taylor, who dispatched a shot from the top of the box that had been set for him by Kobe Kemp.

Minutes after that and the Lions led, as Noah Mies moved level in the Golden Boot race at the time with his 18th of the season. The powerful front man was played in 1 v 1 and picked his spot calmly to hand the Lions the lead.

With the goals flowing it seemed like we were in for a potential shootout but remarkably that is where the scoring stopped for the evening. 

The Lions probably should have extended their lead and were nearly made to rue their inability to do so if not for the heroics of their keeper Lee Mackie.

Twice Mackie stood up to make clutch saves in the final fifteen minutes to preserve his side’s lead. His first was a sharp reaction save with the leg to keep out a low drive from Barrett before then denying Cummins a close-range header in the 86th minute. They were two outstanding saves and it was enough to see the Lions hold on and claim the 2-1 win. 

The win means that the Lions have officially secured their highest ever points tally in the NPL Tasmania era. The win leaves the Lions with 38 points heading into the final fortnight of the year, eclipsing their previous best of 36. With games against Knights and Launceston City to come, they will have a good chance of extending that further.

Ten Man Knights Stuns City

The Glenorchy Knights fought back from a goal down to defeat Launceston City 2-1 at Buckby Motors Park, despite playing the second half at a numerical disadvantage following Nick Naden’s dismissal. 

After a tight first-half battle produced no goals, the game sprung to life early in the second half. The Knights were down to just ten men two minutes in when Naden picked up his second yellow card of the game and was promptly given his marching orders.

City wasted no time taking full advantage and took the lead just two minutes later from a corner. Albert Amankwa was afforded far too much room in the box and he pounced on a loose ball to hammer home the opening goal.

But with the rain starting to hammer down, Knights were not going to give up and they hauled themselves back on terms when Gorrie fed Schmidt down the left. Schmidt beat the keeper to the ball and then cut it back centrally where Lucas Dzalakowski was waiting in the middle to tap home as City defenders lost their footing on the slippery surface around him.

Schmidt then went himself for the go-ahead goal, outpacing his marker before unleashing a ferocious shot that blasted by Clark and provided the 10 man Knights a shock 2-1 lead.

City tried to rally and Tantari and Amankwa came close with powerful shots from outside the box, but they couldn’t find the goal and were condemned to a fourth defeat in their past five games, which has seen their outside hopes of a top-four finish collapse.

Knights meanwhile remain firmly in the battle for second place, though third remains the more likely prize to be settled in their final day clash against the Lions.

Zebras Overcome Riverside

The Clarence Zebras claimed their fourth victory of the season, with a lone goal to Dwayne Walsh enough to secure the three points despite a valiant performance from Daniel Nash in the Riverside goals. 

Nash made four saves in the opening ten minutes of the match, and they weren’t regulation either, he was being tested out frequently but coming up with all the answers as the Zebras were left frustrated to have nothing to show for their complete and utter early dominance.

Eventually, their control of the contest and sheer weight of opportunities was always going to shine through and just before half time Dwayne Walsh finally handed the Zebras a well-deserved lead when he pounced on a secondary ball played back into the box following a corner. It was an emphatic finish, and the lead was certainly no less than they deserved.

Walsh probably should have had a second and killed the game midway through the second half when he spurned a glorious chance from close range, but that along with a few more squandered looks at goal didn’t come back to haunt them with Riverside struggling to create much of anything back the other way. Realistically if not for Nash’s efforts in this one, it would’ve been a far more comfortable final result for the Zebras who get their fourth win of the year.

It leaves Riverside as the likely Wooden Spoon winners unless they can claim something from a tough final fortnight that will see them taking on Devonport and South Hobart.

The post McDonald’s NPL Weekend Wash-Up: R19 first appeared on Football Tasmania.