Slice of Cheese

Strikers Tickled Pink as they Extend the NPL Lead

Devonport Strikers extend their lead at the top of the NPL Tasmania ladder as Glenorchy Knights travelled to Valley Road for the first time this season. It was expected to be a replay of the epic Lakoseljac Cup final, where the two teams were so closely matched, that the game could only be decided by a penalty shootout two weeks ago.

But that’s enough about penalty shootouts for this week.

With a crowd in excess of 500 people, the atmosphere at Valley Road was alive as the Strikers held their annual “Pink Day” in support of the McGrath Foundation. The crowd numbers could also have been attributed to the rostering, where four games took place over the course of the day, allowing the teams and fans to support each other. With the Women’s Northern Championship and Women’s Super League games at 10 am, 12 noon and the NPL and Northern Championship respectively, there was something for everyone to watch. The wonderful people who volunteer for the club said that the four games together helped them to fully support all leagues and spectators, with over 90kg of chips sold in the canteen! What a result!

Onto results though, it was up to Tony Peart, Football Tasmania’s referee manager to be the peacekeeper and keep this crucial clash on point in his final game for Football Tasmania. Tony moves to Football Victoria this week as Head of Referees.

Tony Peart officiates his last game for Football Tasmania. Picture: Solstice Digital

The pre-game tension was high as the game kicked off 15 minutes later than planned after the Knight’s team bus was delayed on the Bass highway after a serious accident, which they were only minutes behind.

Dressed in special edition pink kits, both teams came out to face a battle in this top-two affair. A Knights side, undefeated this season were up for the challenge. Devonport however set themselves up for a strong campaign and retained most of the early possession. Ten minutes into the game it was still nil-all with just one shot each on target.

Passions were running high as the deadlock continued 

It was in the 18th minute of the game, Devonport were awarded a free kick after a challenge by Luttmer. Joel Stone stepped up for the free and true to previous form, placed it perfectly into the penalty box and the awaiting head of captain Keiran Mulraney, who headed it home to make it 1-0 to Devonport.

Strikers Captain, Keiran Mulraney opens the scoring for Devonport. Picture: Solstice Digital

 

Half Time: Devonport Strikers 1 (Mulraney ’18) – Glenorchy Knights 0

In the second half, the game took an upturn in pace from the very start as Daniel Syson, after a terrific run down the flank by Eddie Bidwell followed up onto Syson who fired into the unmarked goal to double the Striker’s lead.

The Devonport defence didn’t give the Knights many chances to breakthrough and it was a quiet day for keeper Nathan Pitchford, who was kept very busy in the last encounter of these two sides. On the other side of the field, however, Knight’s keeper Lachie Hart was put under continuous pressure from the Devonport attack.

It was a case of very recent history repeating itself, as much like the first goal, a foul and subsequent yellow card was given to Jack Bowman after a heavy tackle on Jordan Lamb. Stone with the free-kick and this time landed on the head of Lakoseljac Cup hero Toby Barton who had no trouble firing the ball over the head of keeper Hart.

 

Toby Barton head home the third goal. Picture: Solstice Digital

Devonport continued to push hard on the Knights for another goal, despite the 3 goal advantage. Bizarrely, after referee Peart blew his whistle for a Devonport offside, Luttmer took a kick from in front of the goal to pass to one of his Knights teammates on the far side. However, in what appeared to be a directional error, Luttmer directed the ball into the feet of the league top goal scorer, Brody Denehey. Denehey didn’t miss the opportunity, firing the fourth and final goal of the game past unsuspecting keeper Hart. ’83

Knights Lucas Hill and Current Golden boot contender, Brody Denehey. Picture: Solstice Digital

Full Time: Devonport Strikers 4 (Mulraney ’18, Syson ’46, Barton ’63, Denehey ’83) Glenorchy Knights 0

The victory takes Devonport Strikers to 31 points on the NPL table, ahead of Glenorchy Knights who are on 27 points.

The festivities continued into the night as Devonport Strikers held a fundraising function after a great day of entertaining football and raised an initial total of $6,408 for the McGrath Foundation, who provide invaluable support through their breast care nurses to men and women suffering from Breast Cancer.

Check out the full picture gallery of this game on our facebook page HERE

In other NPL games

South Hobart 4, defeated Riverside 0, at Windsor Park.

Olympia Warriors 1 – Kingborough Lions 2

Launceston City 2 – Clarence Zebras 0