Slice of Cheese

Red Hot Zebras Light Up Warriors

Solstice Photography

The Hobart Zebras have put on a dominant display at Warrior Park, downing the Olympia Warriors 5 – 0. Jakub Sklenar opened the scoring in the 12th minute after a fantastic run from Jayden Hey, before striking again in the 30th minute, pouncing on a blocked Huigsloot shot. Matthew Sanders was next to join the scorers list with his 37th minute strike and only two minutes later Van Doorne added his name as well. Then in the 86th minute Sklenar rounded out his hat-trick and his team ran out 5-0 winners.

The Zebras began the game showing clear intent, with Van Doorne producing a fantastic run down the right hand side and playing the ball across the box. Waiting in the box were the Zebras strike force, with both Sklenar and Sanders forcing saves from Olympia goalkeeper Brett Johnson. The early onslaught continued in the 9th minute, with Jayden Hey hitting a powerful volley over the bar. This early Zebras attacking was rewarded minutes later, when Jayden Hey made a run down the wing in the 12th minute. Hey then cut inside and found Sklenar, who nutmegged Johnson and put side side 1-0 up.

In the 20th minute it looked like the Zebras had doubled their lead when Jayden Hey hit a one-two with Van Doorne in the middle, Hey then crossed the ball in to find Sklenar whose shot was blocked, the ball then fell to Sanders whose shot looked to be going in before Brett Johnson leaped across his goal and made a brilliant save.

It wasn’t long after that the Zebras struck again, when in the 30th minute, Luke Huigsloot’s shot was blocked. Huigsloot’s blocked shot then fell to Sklenar who turned and struck the ball perfectly, doubling his sides lead.

Olympia’s best chance of the half fell in the 34th minute, when they won a free kick at the top of the box. It was Gordon Gurson over the ball and the American sent his shot well over the bar. Three minutes later and the Zebras found the back of the net again, with Dwayne Walsh’s free kick spilling to Matthew Sanders who buried his shot, putting the Zebras up 3-0.

Three goals soon turned into four when in the 39th minute Dwayne Walsh played the ball into Van Doorne who slid it past Johnson and saw his side head into half time 4-0.

The second half proved to be a much more competitive affair, with both sides having chances. In the 54th minute Olympia substitute Oliver Davis almost got one back for the home side, when he rose highest to head his sides freekick just wide.

The chances continued to fall to both sides in a more open second half, with Alexsander Markaj almost hitting his sides 5th goal from a corner. In the 77th minute it was Jayden Hey who again put the ball into the area with a fantastic pass, however the chance went missing.

However the next chance was not missed, with Dillon playing the ball to Sklenar who made no mistake, hitting the back of the net and finishing his hatrick. Sklenar’s goal rounded out the game, with the Zebras running out 5-0 winners.

Speaking post match Olympia coach Dale Itchins labelled his teams first half performance “unacceptable” and “not good enough.” Itchins also spoke of how 9 of his players were under 20 years of age and that he will “build for the future.”

Due to Gabriel Markaj’s suspension, Zebras assistant coach Enzo Botte faced the media. Botte said that his team executed their game plan “to the tee”. Botte hopes that the Zebras can utilize the momentum from their recent results to push for the title.

The win sees the Zebras draw level on points with South Hobart in third and piles even more pressure on Launceston City to hold their lead atop of the table. Round 13 of the NPL TAS kicks off next week with the Zebras facing a Clarence side that went down to the Lions in a competitive match at the Den. Meanwhile Olympia face South Hobart in what is a crucial match for South’s race for the title.

Student, lover of Melbourne Victory, the Richmond Tigers and all things sport