- Written by Walter Pless
- Published: 30 August 2010
Tilford Zebras 1-3 Burnie United
Tilford Zebras had no answer to Burnie United’s fast, physical and direct style of play. The visitors also had skill and their three goals were delightfully created and finished in style.
They might have had a fourth at the start of the second half, but the ball was adjudged not to have crossed the line.
Burnie’s first goal came in the 18th minute and demonstrated all of the above qualities. A good build-up through midfield, a first-time curling pass by Kyrone Johnson, and a neat finish by Chris Smith, who beat Jason Voss with a precise low drive inside the far left-hand post.
It was 2-0 for the visitors in the 23rd minute. An attack down the left had the Zebras defence stranded and in Chris Smith flicked the ball on for Mark Ambrose to cut inside his marker and beat Voss from just inside the box.
Zebras had several good chances to score, but their shots were either directed into the side-netting or over the goal. Burnie’s stout defending also made it difficult for the home side. Michael Wolfert was tidy at the back for Burnie, while goalkeeper Bradley Ryan was brave and efficient.
Matt Hall, Jonathon Ladic and Jayden Welch were all denied by Ryan and Wolfert, and when Zebras did get the ball in the net, an assistant referee’s flag ruled it out for off-side.
The second half began with a sensational burst of speed by Chris Smith to outpace youngster Jordan Muller down the inside-right channel, but Smith’s shot was blocked on the line and cleared, despite some appeals that the ball had crossed the line.
Toby Macgregor replaced Hall midway through the second half and he added some strength to the Zebras attack, that was badly missing Ben Crosswell.
In the 69th minute, Zebras finally found a goal, but it was a soft one for Burnie to concede, Ladic’s low drive through a crowded box catching Ryan unsighted and sneaking past him and into the net.
With 12 minutes remaining, Astyn Johnson killed off the game with Burnie’s third goal after a low left-wing cross from Mark Ambrose again revealing the deficiencies of the Zebras’ defence.
Welch had a penalty appeal turned down 10 minutes from the end, while Dwayne Walsh headed a good chance wide in the dying stages of the game.
Zebras were beaten by a better and more determined side in the end, and one which had disposed of Glenorchy Knights at the same venue earlier in the season in a Milan Lakoseljac Memorial Trophy match.
Burnie are now away to Northern Rangers in the semi-finals of this State-wide Top-Four Finals series.
Tilford Zebras coach, Romeo Frediani, said:
“A tough game. We knew it was always going to be tough. Any team that comes down on the road is going to want to take points back. And, they did.
“They scored two simple goals in the first half. We just gave them too much room. The last 20 minutes of the first half, I thought we put a lot of pressure on them.
“The same in the second half, but we just couldn’t hit the back of the net. We had enough chances.
“Yeah, it was touch and go [about getting a penalty or two]. Sean [Collins] is not going to give you anything if he’s not going to pull up a head-butt. He’s not going to give you a penalty. [The head-butt] was on Henry Fagg. I mean, the ball was out of play and a guy walked past and head-butted him. So, you know, if he’s not going to pull that up, he’s not going to give you a penalty. So, yeah, pretty poor refereeing. I can say that because it’s the last game of the season.
“I don’t know [about coaching next year]. It depends on what the committee wants me to do.”
Burnie United coach, Sam Cocks, said:
“I thought the boys lifted again. Zebras came out fighting pretty hard. We knew it was going to be a hard battle.
“The game plan we worked on during the week worked well. We thought the Zebras would attack and attack, so we went to a 4-4-2 set-up which we haven’t played all year.
“The boys stepped up and it was just a great win. I thought in the second half the Zebras came out fighting harder and we were a bit tired in the feet and legs. Credit to the boys. We did let an easy goal in, but we kept on fighting and fighting.
“Credit to the Zebras. They kept pushing and pushing, too. All in all, it was good game and, you know, we were probably, not lucky, but deserved it that little bit more, I thought.
“[As for the chance just after half-time], I was pretty sure the ball was over the line. Smithy knocked it in and I was sort of backing it up. It did look like it, but we’re not...the officials aren’t robots. It happens here, it happens in Premier League, so you just get on with the game.”
Tilford Zebras: Voss - Fagg, Telega, Muller, K Engels - Self, Ladic, Cairns, Welch - Walsh, Hall (Macgregor 68) [Substitute not used: L Engels]
Goals: Ladic 69
Booked: Fagg, Telega, Ladic, Cairns
Burnie United: Ryan - Scolyer, Van Ek, Kaimon Johnson (Tyler Johnstone 86), Wolfert - Kyrone Johnson, Ambrose, Ashley Smith, De Bomford (Astyn Johnson 35) - Chris Smith, Sam Cocks [Substitute not used: Scott Parke]
Goals: Chris Smith 18, Ambrose 23, Astyn Johnson 78
Booked: Astyn Johnson, Kaimon Johnson, Ashley Smith
Att: 150 (KGV Park)
Ref: S Collins