Who Is Walter Pless?

Walter_Pless

A teacher by profession, but is now in his 38th year as a football writer. Has written for "Soccer Action" (Melbourne), "Australian Soccer Weekly" (Sydney) and "World Soccer" (London), as well as for several Tasmanian newspapers. Currently contributing to "Goal!Weekly" in Melbourne and the Australian magazine "Soccer International". Played for Croatia-Glenorchy, Caledonians, Metro, Rapid and University in Tasmania, as well as in the United States of America. Coached University, Metro and Croatia-Glenorchy.

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Photo:  Tilford Zebras trot back to the middle for the kick-off after scoring a goal in the semi-final [PlessPix]

(Summer Cup, Semi-Final, KGV Park, Saturday, 3 March 2012)

Tilford Zebras 2 (Welch 50, McIntyre 68)

South Hobart 0

HT: 0-0   Att: 400   Ref: C Phillips

Tilford Zebras: Minty  -  Palmer, Smith, Telega, Fagg  -  Otte, J Foley-Donoghue, McIntyre  -  Self, Walsh, Welch  (Interchange:  P Foley-Donoghue, Heggie, Barabara, Wilcock, F Lapolla)

South Hobart:  Ferguson  -  Di Falco, N Clarke, Ludford, Williams  -  feral, Hickey, Bladel  -  Postma, Mizael, Brennan  (Interchange:  Morton, Harbod, Lees, Eaves, Moncur)

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Photo:  Seth Otte (left) and Jon Foley-Donogue played for Zebras against their former team-mates [PlessPix]

Tilford Zebras reached their fifth Summer Cup Final in the past six seasons when they knocked out South Hobart, the winners for the past two seasons, in the semi-finals at KGV Park on Saturday.

Zebras’ 2-0 win was well-planned tactically, but also had an element of good fortune about it.

The decision to have Paul Palmer man-mark Andy Brennan was a good one, but Brennan’s pace was often too much for Palmer and only poor finishing by the youngster prevented him from scoring.

Dylan Postma and Mizael also squandered good chances for the cup-holders, who lacked the experience of past seasons and had mainly raw youngsters on the bench to call on.

Having said that, Zebras did well and deserved their win because of some excellent goalkeeping by Craig Minty and solid outfield play by everyone else.

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Photo:  Tilford Zebras players celebrate a goal [PlessPix]

Seth Otte and Jon Foley-Donoghue would have particularly enjoyed the victory as they are former South Hobart players, while South goalkeeper Matthew Ferguson would have found the loss a little bit galling as he is a former Zebras keeper.

Ferguson was the first keeper called into action and he did well to dispossess Dwayne Walsh in the 5th minute when the Zebras striker threatened to round him inside the box and score.

Brennan showed what a dangerous player he is when, in the 12th minute, he unselfishly set up Postma, only to see his team-mate blaze over the bar.  He might have had a go himself with a better result.

Minty denied Mizael’s cheeky effort from an angle on the left in the 28th minute, while 7 minutes later, Brennan fired wide.

Zebras had provided little response by this stage and they were saved again in the 43rd minute when Shae Hickey’s astute pass put the diminutive Brazilian, Mizael, through the middle, but Minty was off his line in a flash and blocked at the youngster’s feet.

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Photo:  Ricky Self slices the ball as Sam McIntyre looks on [Photo by Raelene Hennicke]

South had two more chances before the interval.  In the 45th minute, the marauding Hugh Ludford cut the ball back from the left and Postma tried to be a little too clever by trying a fancy back-heel and succeeded only in flicking the ball wide of the far post.

And then, in the 2nd minute of stoppage time, Minty saved superbly from Postma, turning his powerful shot wide.  Mizael could not get to the ball before it rolled out of play for a corner that was never taken as Mr Phillips blew for half-time.

When Zebras hit the front 5 minutes after the resumption, one sensed that it could be their day.  Jon Foley-Donoghue crossed from the right and Henry Fagg’s air kick surprised everyone.  The ball carried on to Jayden Welch on the left edge of the box and he curled a marvellous right-footed shot beyond the despairing dive of Ferguson and inside the far right-hand post.

In the 68th minute it was 2-0 and game over.  Hickey conceded a free-kick just outside the left of the box and was a shown a yellow card as punishment.  There was worse to come, however, as Fagg floated the free-kick towards the far post and, when Ferguson could not hold it, the ball fell perfectly for Sam McIntyre to nudge it over the line.

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Photo:  Tilford Zebras' Andrew Telega heads clear as keeper Craig Minty breathes a sigh of relief [Photo by Raelene Hennicke]

South did not have the reinforcements to get back into the game.  They brought on youngsters Nick Morton and Tom Harbod  -  the latter for the seemingly jinxed Hickey  -  but there was no way the holders were going to salvage this match.

Tilford Zebras coach, Eamonn Kelly, said:

“For what we’ve been through in the last eight days, it was absolutely brilliant.

“It’s been tough times at the club, but they’re big enough and strong enough and good enough to get over it, and we have done.

“We trained three nights this week and trained really well and hard and we set a target and we achieved our target.

“We played good football and we took our opportunities and we kept our shape.

“All right, we changed our formation when we started and Paul Palmer did his job.”

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Photo:  Tilford Zebras' Paul Palmer shows his aerial prowess [Photo by Raelene Hennicke]