Slice of Cheese

Van Doorne Fires South To Summer Cup

By Andrew Cooling

A solitary goal from returning Canadian winger Iskander Van Doorne was enough for South Hobart to claim the 2022 NPL Summer Cup with a 1-0 win over the Kingborough Lions at D’arcy Street.

The Lions were made to rue a host of missed opportunities in a game that really should have produced more than the single goal it did given the quality and consistency of scoring chances that flowed throughout it, as South ultimately did enough to hold on and hoist the first trophy on offer in 2022.

It was South who started the sharper of the two sides and twice in the opening ten minutes, Lions keeper Roan Gillam was called into action to make big times saves.

First he did well to get down to his left to keep out a dipping shot from Josh Divin, who showed tremendous skill to jink past a pair of defenders and set himself to shoot from the top of the box before Gillam produced an even better save from the resulting corner to keep out Luke Bighin’s header that appeared all but destined for the top corner of the net.

Having weathered the early South storm, the Lions began to get a feel for the contest and soon started to ask some questions of their own. Taking the attack to South and starting to see more of the football, it was Tom Prince who came within a whisker of parlaying that into the opening goal when a corner was turned just inches wide of the post by the rangy Lions Centre-half at full stretch from close range. 

Less than a moment later it was once again just a matter of inches, as a lunging Keenan Douce only just failed to latch onto Adam Mckeown’s through ball into the box, allowing South keeper Jake Hayers to slide in and knee the ball away just in the nick of time.

Around the half hour mark it was Noah Mies who was the next to threaten as he found room to shoot from 9 yards out after a well-placed Kobe Kemp cut-back, but an outstanding piece of defending from Gus Higgins, sliding in with a perfectly timed block saw it steered behind for a corner. 

A minute later and it was South who felt they should be ahead after Morton drilled a bullet cross through the Lions penalty area, alluding four Lions defenders and finding Sammut all alone at the back post. But with the goal at his mercy, Sammut found the ball stuck between his feet and it deflected agonizingly wide of the gaping net as the game remained scoreless.

The Lions had two golden chances to claim the lead in the opening five minutes of the second half, with both Ben Hamlett and Kobe Kemp squandering chances you would expect them to bury only for both to be denied by the outstanding Jake Hayers who would have strong shouts for man of the match award such was his performance in what were particularly tough conditions for goalkeepers. 

First, Hayers reacted superbly to keep out Kemp’s low drilled show from 10 yards after the lively Declan Taylor picked him out in the area, but his shot was far too central, allowing Hayers to get down and produce the sharp reaction save. 

Then Ben Hamlett found himself sprung through one on one with the keeper by a sublime Kobe Kemp through ball over the top of the defence from long range. Veteran defender Loic Feral managed to apply some pressure from behind and just forced Hamlett wide enough to sharpen the angle. Hamlett drilled a low at the near post where Hayer flung out his left leg to make a tremendous kick save. It was superb keeping but again it rated as a chance that really should have been taken and handed the Lions the lead. 

Not four minutes later they were made to pay for their profligacy when South forced a turnover deep in defence for the Lions. Nick Morton pounced on the loose ball and picked a perfect pass to Van Doorne at the penalty spot. The Canadian took a touch to set it for himself before smashing the ball past Gillam to break the deadlock in the 54thminute.

Coming so soon after the two prime chances they had created was a bitter blow for the Lions but they still had plenty of time to operate and had shown they could find holes in the South Hobart defence.

Just prior to the hour mark, Jake Hayers was again called into action and once again he came up big as he got down well to keep out Alfred Hess’s skidding effort back across the face of goal from the angle. It was the type of shot that you would expect the keeper to keep out, but was far from an easy stop, particularly given the heavy rain. 

Mies fired just wide on the turn on 66 minutes as the missed chances continued to mount for the Lions and Hamlett again broke through behind the lines a minute later only to fire straight at Hayers who continued his excellent game by parrying his fizzing shot over the top.

The frequency of chances dried up in the final 25 minutes as South professionally begun to see the game out and control more of the possession, but the Lions still threatened from set pieces and twice they headed chances at the back post over the crossbar resulting from corners. 

Nick Morton came close to icing the game with his stunning 87th minute free kick that rattled the frame of the goal that somehow stayed out, but it mattered not, as South saw the game out and claimed the first piece of silverware on offer for Season 2022. 

Ultimately it was a tight and hard-fought game, with both sides producing enough good scoring chances to score multiple goals and what would separate them at the final whistle was the class of the Canadian Van Doorne to take the chance that fell his way, as he once again produced a big goal scoring moment on the final stage, just as he did in the 2019 Lakoseljac Cup final. 

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