Slice of Cheese

The Weekend Washup: Butterflies and Crossbars

Welcome to the Weekend Washup after an extremely eventful Round 11 of NPL Tasmania action. In a massive weekend the Strikers extended their lead on top and may now be uncatchable, the Lions secured a historic win over South, whilst the Warriors and Knights got what they both needed for very different reasons with respective 4-0 victories.  

Before launching into the recaps, I want to address something of a pet peeve of mine that reared its head after the controversial City v Strikers game, specifically in relation to the non-goal on 32 minutes.

Now first off, if that ball wasn’t across the line, then I will eat my hat, quite simply, Macka Hancox was robbed of an absolute stunner. It is incorrect, however, to say this cost City the game, or even that it cost them a 2-0 lead given that they scored shortly after. The reason for that is the butterfly effect. Because what you need to consider is that if that goal is paid, then from that moment on, every single event in the game transpires differently! Nothing plays out the same and I mean nothing. The ball goes back to the middle for a kick-off rather than it being played on and from there the game plays out in an entirely different manner, or timeline if you will. The team’s tactics probably change, the mentality changes, the field position changes, and everything is now made different. All we can really say definitively is City would have led 1-0 at the 32-minute mark of the match. It doesn’t mean they would’ve been up 2-0 just because they also scored in the 45th minute. Now they may well have scored again, it’s quite possible if it’s allowed that they go on and win the game 3-0, but equally maybe Devonport take it from kick-off and score themselves and win 3-1. What we do know, is that City did get up 1-0 shortly after, presenting a similar scenario to what we face in the hypothetical situation in which this goal was allowed, and yet with less time to do it, Devonport still fought back from that position and won the game.  

Now it’s certainly not exclusive to this result, it just happens to be a convenient example to demonstrate this with because I see and hear similar gripes to this every week across every sport. “Oh it was 2-2, but we had a wrongly disallowed goal in the first 10 minutes so it should have been 3-2”, Wrong!! Nothing plays out the same from the moment you change a single event. Those other goals simply never happen. By all means, you can bemoan it, it may well have cost your side points, but you can’t just change one event in a game, assume every other event then plays out the same and then apply that one change to the final score. That’s not how cause and effect works.

Righto, the old man has finished yelling at clouds now, so let’s get onto the games themselves. 

Lions Finally Get One Over on South Hobart

On Friday Night the Kingborough Lions secured a historic victory as they downed South Hobart 1-0. It was the first time the Lions had defeated South Hobart in the history of the NPL TAS, coming at the 28th time of asking. The record sat at 5 draws and 22 South Hobart victories prior to this match but Ramiro Vilar’s 71st-minute strike was enough for the Lions to secure the win and break the hoodoo. 

It was a significant one in the title race too, enabling the Lions to leap over South and sit third on the table, now level on points with Knights on 22. South now sit behind them both on 20 points but they still have a game in hand which could see them moving back into second with a win. Basically, the impact on the league from this result is that it draws this group of 3 sides closer together and allows Devonport to disappear even further off into the distance, now sitting 8 points clear. 

South had their chances in this one, they probably should’ve led at multiple points but just couldn’t find the finish. It left the game in the balance late and Kobe Kemp produced a wonderful ball to find Vilar who was the very picture of composure, setting himself before picking out the far corner with a clinical strike to put them in position to snap the streak. 

Of course, they thought they had snapped that streak when leading 4-2 in their NPL clash earlier this season, only for Josh Divin to snatch it away from them late. This time the defence held the line, determined to avoid a repeat and they kept the clean sheet to ensure the momentous win.

Devonport could well be too far ahead for anyone to catch, but the Lions are firmly in the race for second place if that does prove to be the case, which whilst not a trophy, would still be a fine achievement. It’s certainly going to be a fascinating watch down the stretch because the margins between these sides are just so fine at the moment. 

Strikers Rally Late to Extend Their Lead

I said in my preview that these were two teams who didn’t like each other, and it could well be a physical match. And boy did it deliver on that promise! This is one that will live in the memory of both sides for a while to come I suspect. It was downright hostile at times and both sides would end the game with 10 players as Devonport rallied late to secure a 2-1 win. 

It was a cracking encounter that City took the lead in on 44 minutes having already been denied what should’ve been the game’s opening goal 12 minutes prior. Though in defence of the officials here, there is a reason goal-line technology has come into the professional game, the linesman can’t possibly be in the perfect spot on the by-line when that shot was launched given where it was hit from and it’s a mighty tough call to make given the speed, spin and conditions. Anyway, as I ranted on about earlier, City got their 1-0 lead anyway, so I really don’t think it was enormously influential on the end result, but it did rob Hancox of a truly spectacular goal, so I feel for him. 

City took the lead just before the break as Albert Amankwa finished off some nice build-up play from Tantari cutting through the heart of the defence and at halftime, it was 1-0 to the hosts.

But the Strikers drew level from the penalty spot shortly after the break when Lachie Clark upended his former teammate Yasin Mohammadi in the box. Fernandez Garrido converted to square things up and then all hell broke loose.

A scuffle broke out following the conversion as Fernandez-Garrido basically attacked Clark in the process of trying to get the ball back. It’s the type of scuffle you often see with the keeper trying to stop the attacker from picking up the ball but there is no doubt the Spaniard was overly forceful in his efforts to do so and it drew a strong response from Clark’s teammates who sprinted in to protect him.

Rather than it being a case of the instigator and retaliator getting the same punishment as we so often see, Mr Kopra opted to give a straight red to the Spaniard and a yellow to Shane Egan. Unfortunately for City, Egan was already on a yellow and therefore he had to go too, leaving both sides down to 10 men for the final 30+ minutes.

With the game locked at 1-1, it was Devonport who did as they so often do and found the moment of inspiration, as Nick Lanau-Atkison produced the perfect finish at the back post to convert Henry Andrews’ cross and put them ahead 2-1. 

It was a cruel blow for City who will feel they should have gotten something out of this game, but once again it was Devonport getting the job done when the chips were down. This side just knows how to win. It’s the type of game where their other rivals would’ve likely dropped points, but not this mob, they just find a way and as such I find it very hard to see them ceding an 8 point lead in the final 10 weeks of the season. They’ve still got some tricky trips still to come, but now they’ve got an enormous amount of breathing room.  

Knights Rediscover Their Groove

The Glenorchy Knights bounced back from a disappointing pair of performances to down the Clarence Zebras 4-0, taking advantage of South’s slip to move back into second place on the NPL table. 

After consecutive defeats, this was a win they badly needed to get back on track. Whilst it won’t go down as a vintage display by any means, the Knights completely dominated the second half, showing a dangerous cutting edge in the final third that they’ve lacked at times this year and they were good value for the win.  

Connor Schmidt got things started on 26 minutes when he found the bottom corner with a powerful strike from distance but it was all they would conjure in what was a pretty scrappy first 45 minutes, doing the bulk of the damage in the second half.’

Knights wore their opponents down here and got better as the game wore on. Eli Luttmer provided the well-deserved second goal when he hammered home a rebound through an absolute sea of Zebras bodies on the line that had prevented an initial shot from finding its way through.

Austin Yost showed his quality throughout the 90 minutes, and he produced the Knights third on 73 minutes with a lovely curling finish that left the keeper no chance. 

The final goal came from the penalty spot after a handball from Baumgartner, though keeper Matt Dyson has to consider himself unlucky having saved the penalty and getting a hand up to the follow-up shot from Pitt, which I think just crossed the line before Luttmer made certain with a diving header on the line. 

It meant it ended 4-0 and the Knights move back into second place on the table. They’re going to need to be perfect from here on out and hope for multiple Strikers slip-ups if they are to defend their crown, but it was important they got back on the winner list and they duly did. 

Warriors Claim Second Victory 

Finally in the battle of the bottom two sides the Olympia Warriors created some breathing room from the foot of the table with a resounding 4-0 win over Riverside Olympic. For the second time this year, the young Warriors were too strong for the Roos and secured a comfortable win.

It was through set pieces that they really exploited the Roos here, with 3 of the 4 goals coming from corners. 

The first came from open play however as Tyson Barrett fizzed off a shot that took a deflection off Rutabayiro on its way into the back of the net.

Then the corners began to do the damage, as big Alex Holmes, stretched out those long legs to reach a ball that had been headed back into the area and guided it past the keeper to give the Warriors a 2-0 lead to take into half time.

Just past the hour mark and another corner proved Riverside’s undoing as the ball came all the way through to the big presence of Adam Pickup, who scored his second in as many weeks as he nodded home from close range.

He might’ve well doubled that too, winning a header at another corner 10 minutes later, but Tyson Barrett seemed to get the last touch on it and see it over the line to extend the Warriors lead to the 4-0 it would end at.

It’s a confidence-boosting win for the Warriors and one that should see them avoiding the wooden spoon. Riverside will now have to claim a scalp elsewhere as well as beating the Warriors in their third meeting if they are to avoid the last-place finish. Based on what we’ve seen from them this year, that appears a stretch.

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