Slice of

South strike late to down Lions

Photos: Solstice Digital

Match report: Dan Thurley

A late flurry of goals saw South Hobart claw back from a 1-0 deficit to win 2-1 over the Kingborough Lions on Saturday, keeping their title hopes alive in the process.

Both Jez Kenth and Ken Morton opted to make changes to their victorious starting lineups from the week before. Jayden Hey’s reinjured hamstring put an end to his season, meaning Patrick Kibler took his spot in the starting eleven alongside Loic Feral at the heart of defence. Hugh Undy retained his spot in the South Hobart midfield, while Jack Turner and Jackson Khasif replaced Simon Vivarelli and Phil Kantzos for the Lions.

The opening stages were played with a high intensity, and the Lions’ defence took a while to adapt to South Hobart’s attacking threat. Lachlan Semmler was South’s outlet on the left and proved to be a handful with Joseph Juma preoccupied by the movement of Kasper Hallam in the middle. The two combined in the 15th minute when Semmler got himself free and found Hallam waiting in the middle with his back to goal. He played the ball back into the path of Tobias Herweynan, whose effort was swiftly blocked by Khasif.

One minute later, the Lions had a chance of their own when the outstretched leg of Ben Hamlett narrowly missed Jordan Mundy’s cross. After 20 minutes, Byungatae Ahn had switched sides with Juma in the Lions’ back three and the away side had settled, however South Hobart’s attacking threat continued until they created the best chance of the half in the 38th minute. Hallam picked up a rebound and fired toward an empty net that was cleared by Juma on the goal line.

Tate Kingston had an impressive half in goal for the Lions and proved hard to beat. His commanding presence and dominance in the air was largely responsibly for keeping the scores level at the break.

Photo: Solstice Digital

Half Time: South Hobart 0 Kingborough Lions 0

The Lions had the first chance of the second half when Adam McKeown forced Nick O’Connell into action in the 49th minute with a first-time strike from the edge of the 18-yard box. South Hobart soon took control, and Hallam’s through ball found Nick Morton whose lobbed effort to the back post was again cleared off the line by Juma.

The intensity of the contest started to wane as the final 20 minutes approached, but McKeown put some life back into the tie when he flashed a shot narrowly wide of the upright in the 73rd minute. South Hobart looked to build some momentum of their own, and transitioned to three at the back with Herweynan joining the central defenders, and Hallam and Morton moving into a front two.

Photo: Solstice Digital

The deadlock was finally broken in the 79th minute when Herweynan was adjudged to have fouled McKeown as the two contested Turner’s ball into the 18-yard box. After referee Stratos Plomaritis pointed to the spot, former South Hobart man Kobe Kemp stepped up and fired the visitors into the lead.

It did not take long for South Hobart to respond however, and after commanding his area so confidently in the first half, it was somewhat surprising that when Kingston was finally beaten, it was via a set-piece. Samuel Berezansky delivered an 85th minute free-kick into the area and Herweynan made up for his previous error by getting his head to the ball which looped over Kingston and into the net to get the home side back on level terms.

Photo: Solstice Digital

In the 89th minute, Hallam thought he had earned a penalty after he went down under the challenge of Ahn but his protests were waved away.

In the closing stages with scores level, South Hobart were again awarded a free-kick that presented with a chance to put themselves ahead. Berezansky delivered a deep ball to the back post where it was met by Nick Morton who did enough to square it across the face. Hallam arrived in time to apply the finishing touch and hand South Hobart a 2-1 win and three points.

Full Time: South Hobart 2 (Herweynan 85’, Hallam 90+1’) Kingborough Lions 1 (Kemp 79’)

With South Hobart’s victory, they remain seven points behind the ladder-leading Devonport Strikers with four games remaining. The Kingborough Lions’ pursuit of third place is in doubt after falling ten points behind third with Launceston City nipping at their heels with just two points separating them.

NPL Tasmania Round 18

South Hobart 2-1 Kingborough Lions

Devonport Strikers 7-0 Clarence Zebras

Glenorchy Knights 3-0 Riverside Olympic

Launceston City 3-2 Olympia Warriors