Slice of Cheese

Zebras Start Season In Style With Clarence Smashing

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The Hobart Zebras started their 2019 NPL TAS campaign in domineering fashion, smashing Clarence 9-0 on Thursday night at KGV. Mathew Sanders scored 5 goals, taking his tally to 19 goals in 7 games against the Reds since the turn of 2017, with braces from Pace and Edwards rounding out the scoring. It was an emphatic second half display from the Zebras, as they turned a 2-0 lead into a 9-0 result, overrunning the beleaguered Reds.

It didn’t take long for the Zebras to get on the board, Sanders opening his account on 12 minutes with a thumping shot that hit the roof of the net after the Reds defence had stopped, anticipating an offside flag.

Huigsloot nearly doubled the lead when he rattled the crossbar with a thunderous shot before Sanders grabbed a second, finishing off the impressive Riley Dillon’s cross on the half hour mark.

Clarence were sitting in deep and doing a reasonable job of stifling the Zebras, who were generating shots, but not quite clicking in the final third, where the vast majority of the play was taking place. The game headed into the sheds at 2-0, the Zebras in control but Clarence frustrating them.

The second half was a demolition job, the Zebras switching things around and finding their shooting boots.

On 53 minutes Sanders made it a hat-trick, afforded too much time and space in the penalty area to pick his spot. A minute later they broke through again, this time Matt Pace, who was dynamite in attack all night, heading the ball beyond his former teammate Jake French’s reach.

On the hour mark it became five, Nicky Edwards given too much space and picking out the bottom corner before Pace grabbed his second with the goal of the game, a bending effort from the top of the box that curled top window.

Deflated and tiring, Clarence were being picked apart by the rampaging Zebras side who made it 7-0 via Sanders after Edwards put it on a platter for him from all of 2 yards out.

Jake French had been utterly shelled all night, but can walk away content with his game, he made upwards of 14 saves for the games and there was little he could do to deny his former team.

Edwards bagged a second 10 minutes from full time as the sparkling combination play between he, Sanders and Pace continued before it was left to Sanders to round out the night with his fifth goal in the 88th minute, Riley Dillon once again the provider.

It ended 9-0, an emphatic start to the season for the Zebras who looked slick and moved the ball around sharply. They will face a far stiffer test on Monday against South Hobart though, whilst Clarence will be left to lick their wounds and try to find a way to arrest their run of defeats.