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Photo:  Kingborough's Marcello Marchioli takes on the Knights' Jayden Hey [PlessPix]

(Forestry Tasmania Southern Premier League, Saturday, 28 July 2012)

Kingborough Lions United 1 (J Schuth 34)

Glenorchy Knights 2 (G Kamano 22, J Dawes 84)

HT: 1-1   Att: 80   Ref: K Barker

Kingborough Lions United: Duncan  -  D Pearce, Iseli, Cuthbertson, Di Falco  -  Bevan (Hawkins 46), Marchioli, T Pearce (Cowen 65), Schuth  -  F Kang (Cooper 72), Farquhar  (Subs not used:  Leamey, Davis)

Glenorchy Knights: Peter  -  Hey, Johnson, Holmes, A Robb (Robinson 69)  -  Marney, Huigsloot, Nowicki, Clay  -  Kamano, Strang (Dawes 78)  (Subs not used:  M Robb, Langdale)

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Photo:  The match officials [PlessPix]

This was the first meeting between teams that have been selected in next year’s Victory League and so both had something to prove.

Glenorchy Knights came out on top, winning 2-1, their first victory in six outings.

For Kingborough, it was their third consecutive loss, which must be hugely disappointing for everyone involved at the club.  Their top-four spot is now at risk.

The home side began confidently and Felix Kang soon showed he was well worth his place in the starting line-up.  He was prepared to shoot at every opportunity and from any range.  One of his efforts, after just 2 minutes, brought out the best in Knights keeper Ben Peter, who flew through the air to his right and turned the ball wide for a corner.

In the 17th minute, a Trent Pearce free-kick from midfield was headed over the bar by Marcello Marchioli as Knights looked a little fragile.

But, it was the visitors who took the lead midway through the first half when a counter-attack ended with Simon Strang floating a left-wing cross into the box for George Kamao to beat keeper Andrew Duncan to the ball and flick it home with his head.

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Photo:  Sam Johnson (right) pressures David Cooper [PlessPix]

Kingborough fought back and Joel Schuth equalised in the 34th minute when he collected a pass on the left and rounded Peter before slotting home from an acute angle.  Peter should probably not have committed himself, but Schuth did finish well.

Knights had the better of the second half and deserved their win against a Kingborough side that lacked penetration and finishing.  They certainly missed Danny Cowen at the start.  He was left on the bench because he has had tonsillitis and, even when he did come on, he was unable to make an impact.

Four minutes after the resumption, Duncan had to stretch to turn Jade Clay’s long-range free-kick over the bar.  Clay had a good game and seems to be regaining some of the form he showed last season.

In the 58th minute, Matthew Nowicki’s dangerous shot was turned wide for a corner by Duncan as the Knights searched for a winner.

Both sides made substitutions as the second half wore on, but the introduction of Jason Dawes by the Knights was to prove decisive.  He replaced Simon Strang, who had a recurrence of a hamstring strain, with 12 minutes remaining.

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Photo:  Kingborough's David Cooper (on ground) is unable to beat the Knights' combination of Jacob Huigsloot and Sam Johnson [PlessPix]

In the 81st minute, Alex Holmes headed a corner over Duncan’s bar as Knights started to increase the pressure.

Three minutes later, a poor pass out of defence by Nick Cuthbertson went straight to Nowicki and he slipped the ball through for Dawes to run onto and slot past Duncan for the winner.

Kingborough has one more chance to salvage a point in stoppage time, but substitute avid Cooper’s chip from range was easily fielded by Peter.

The result leaves Kingborough clinging to fourth spot, but they are level on 24 points with Olympia Warriors, while the Knights are all but mathematically safe from finishing last as bottom-side University lost 3-0 to Olympia Warriors the same afternoon.  This means University would have to win their three remaining games by huge margins and Knights would have to lose their three remaining games for the two teams to swap places.

This just is not going to happen and University have, for all intents and purposes, collected the wooden spoon.

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Photo:  The Knights' Jade Clay (left) holds off Kingborough's Nick Cuthbertson and Damien Pearce [PlessPix]

Kingborough Lions United coach, Matthew Rhodes, said:

“A disappointing result.  I really feel for the people who spent so much time on our fantastic Victory-League application and people like Bernie Siggins who, tonight, will go home and wash two sets of strips for next week.

No doubt, the usual people will want me sacked.  That’s fine.  I have given 150 per cent to the job.  I have done my best and that’s all I can do.

“The disappointing thing was that the other side we were playing were showing more passion and desire to win, and that’s hard to take.  I have been pretty loyal to the player group, but it’s a grand final next week for us and I will be making some changes.

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Photo:  Kingborough's Joel Schuth (right) tries to get past Knights' Jade Clay [PlessPix]

“If we win two of the next three games, we are still in with a chance to finish in the top-4.  Even tonight, we still are in fourth spot.

“It doesn’t matter who coaches.  The same questions have to be answered:  How bad to we want to win?  How bad do we desire it?  Only the players can answer these questions because they are playing for a great club that it’s not a right to play for, but should be considered a privilege to play for.”

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Photo:  Kingborough keeper Andrew Duncan punches the ball clear at a corner [PlessPix]

Glenorchy Knights assistant coach, Anthony Grundy, said:

“Obviously, an excellent result for our guys today.  I think once we found out about the announcement about the Victory League, we had a training on Friday night and all the boys were quite buoyed about it.  We just wanted to go out there and show what we put on the park last week against Eagles isn’t who we really are and that we’re a much better outfit than that.

“Today, hard conditions and it wasn’t the prettiest of games to watch, I don’t think, but at the end of the day we got three points and that’s really important for us as it probably makes us safe, definitely, from that last position, which is good.”

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Photo:  The Lions' Felix Kang (left) and Marc Iseli challenge the Knights' George Kamano for the ball [PlessPix]

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Photo:  Trent Pearce and George Kamano in a tackle for the ball as the Knights' Jade Clay and Jacob Huigsloot await the outcome [PlessPix]