- Written by Walter Pless
- Published: 29 July 2012
(Forestry Tasmania Southern Premier League, Wentworth Park, Saturday, 28 July 2012)
Clarence United 0
South Hobart 1 (B Eaves 20)
HT: 0-1 Att: 80 Ref: I Jozeljic
Clarence United: Cornish - Toghill, Lewis, Hedge, Price - Hoppitt (Aldridge 75), Cairns, Malcolm, Cannamela, McIntyre - E Tsakiris (Subs not used: Nicholson, W Reibel, Lush, Aitken)
South Hobart: Ferguson - Duffy, Ludford, Bladel, Williams - Hickey, Feral, Eaves - Lantouris (Ince 90), Brennan, Morton (Subs not used: Rogers, Kruijver, M Clarke)
You need a little bit of luck, even when you’re on top of the ladder, and South Hobart got that luck on Saturday night in the 1-0 win over third-placed Clarence United.
The visitors scored a fine goal in the opening half, but were on the back foot in the second half and survived a disallowed ‘goal’ for off-side and cleared another certain goal off the line.
Hugo Bladel was reinstated at the heart of the South Hobart defence after Ned Clarke suffered a foot injury at work and was unable to play.
Clarence were without the injured Carlos Ortiz and Trent Cornish took his place in goal.
South’s Konstantinos Lantouris started in lively fashion but, after receiving a yellow card for dissent early in the game, virtually faded away completely.
South threatened the Clarence goal from the start but without any fortune and it was not until the 20-minute mark that South took the lead.
Shae Hickey, Greg Duffy and Andy Brennan engaged in some impressive triangular passing on the right before Brennan slipped the ball through for Bobby Eaves, who had time to chip a delightful ball beyond Cornish and inside the right-hand post.
South threatened to run away with the game after that, but some brave goalkeeping by Cornish kept them out and Eaves had another effort ruled out for off-side.
Clarence went close through David Hoppitt, while the visitors were off target through Nick Morton and Brennan.
It was a different game after the interval as the home side went all out for an equaliser and perhaps even a winner.
In the 65th minute, a superb through-ball by Aaron Cairns put Emmauel Tsakiris clear of the defence and he had the ball in the net, only to be ruled off-side. He seemed to have timed his run to perfection, but there was no arguing with the assistant referee’s flag.
Five minutes later, South keeper Matthew Ferguson did very well to get down to a firm shot from Grant Malcolm and turn it wide for a corner.
Lantouris popped his head up for a minute in the 82nd minute after a good build-up down the right, but his shot was wide.
A minute later, Clarence almost got the goal they deserved, but Cameron Williams was South’s saviour as he cleared Tsakiris’s shot off the line with Ferguson well beaten.
South substituted Lantouris in the final minute, but it was more of a delaying tactic than a genuine attempt to score another goal.
Neither side could come up with a goal in stoppage time and South were grateful for the three points.
It was difficult to say who was more disappointed - Ronnie Bolton, the Clarence coach, or the watching Stephen Pitchford, coach of second-placed New Town Eagles, who now trailed South by 6 points ahead of their game against Tilford Zebras on Sunday.
Clarence United coach, Ronnie Bolton, said:
“I thought it was a good game of football. Entertaining. No doubt they’re the best football side in the league and I thought our boys stood up to them and, with a bit of luck, we could have got an equaliser.
“I’d like to see the off-side again. I thought it was a bit dubious. But, that’s football. It’s a cruel game at times, but South are a good side.
“But, we can take something out of the game and that’s that we’re a decent side ourselves.
“I think we had the better of the second half. They relied on the break more in the second half. With a bit of luck we could have got one back but it wasn’t to be on the night, so congratulations to South.”
South Hobart coach, Ken Morton, said:
“I thought it was a very tough game for us tonight. I thought Clarence played good football, with a lot of good commitment and they worked really hard and put us under pressure.
“But, I was very happy with the performance from our lads because we dug deep and we battled through the game. We got a good goal in the first half and even though they had a big chance in the second half I think we had chances on the break, though we took too many touches to put them away.
“I thought it was a very dour match, and a very, very hard match.”