- Written by Walter Pless
- Published: 28 July 2013
Photo: Olympia's Kim wins the ball off Zebras' Leszczynski [PlessPix]
(Victory League, KGV Park, Friday, 26 July 2013)
Tilford Zebras 2 (A Leszczynski 38, A McKeown 44)
Olympia Warriors 3 (G Ochaya 60, L Nichols 74, Seungyong Jin 81)
HT: 2-0 Att: 302 Ref: K Barker
Tilford Zebras: Norval - Toghill, Telega, Clamp, K Engels - Palmer (Welch 71), Ladic, Page (MacDonald 79) - Clark (McIntyre 84), Leszczynski, McKeown (Subs not used: Siedler, Smith)
Olympia Warriors: Nester - Wilcock (Griffiths 46), Kumpulainen, Holmes, Phillips - Jeong Bib Kim, Nichols, Undy - Seungyong Jin, Ochaya (Mearns 82), Meredith (Subs not used: Cale, Herbert, Kunwar)
Photo: Olympia's Hugh Undy (with ball) had a decisive influence on the game [PlessPix]
Tilford Zebras’ slim hopes of catching South Hobart, or even of finishing second in the inaugural Victory League, were struck a fatal blow when they threw away a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 to Olympia Warriors, their bogey side this season.
Olympia started the better but found it difficult to penetrate and get in shots at goal.
Having survived this early storm, the Zebras began to hit back and pick out holes in the visitors’ defence.
Adam McKeown should have done better when he found one such hole down the left and found himself with only Dmitri Nester to beat, but he fired wide of the far post.
Alex Leszczynski then did well with a free-kick, curling it just wide of the diving Nester and the far right-hand post.
One of the big failings of most Tasmanian players is their lack of consistency. One minute, they will produce brilliant technique to execute a move, while in the next, they will let themselves down by basic errors. This was evident for most of this match.
The breakthrough came after 38 minutes when McKeown found a way down the right and crossed low into the box. Mark Page forced the ball wide to Leszczynski, who hit a sweet first-time curling shot past Nester to give Zebras the lead.
A minute before the interval, McKeown left Chris Kumpulainen and Alex Holmes sprawling and scored from the left of the box to make it 2-0 for the home side.
Photo: Olympia's Gift Ochaya shields the ball from Zebras' Jacob Clamp [PlessPix]
Leszczynski should have made it 3-0 in the dying seconds of the half, but his shot close range and from an acute angle on the right ran across the goalmouth and beyond the far post to safety.
Olympia pulled a goal back on the hour when the busy Hugh Undy picked out Gift Ochaya and the teenager beat Ryan Norval with his shot.
Undy, who was displaying that inconsistency referred to earlier, proved dangerous in the 63rd minute when his goal-bound shot took a defelction and flew just wide of the far post.
Four minutes later, Undy showed his abilities when he smacked a surperb shot with the outside of his foot that Norval acrobatically tuned over the bar.
In the 70th minute, Nester found only Andrew Clark when he cleared the ball, but the Zebras player lobbed over the bar to let the keeper off the hook.
Olympia drew level in the 74th minute with a fine move started by a Ben Phillips throw-in on the right. Nichols got on the end of a Nick Meredith pass to slot the ball past Norval at the near post.
Photo: The nimble Hugh Undy (No.18) skips past Zebras' Andrew Telega [PlessPix]
The Olympia fans grew very vocal at this point. The look on the face of Zebras president Nick Di Giovanni said it all as far as his supporters were concerned.
Zebras had made some changes by this stage, Paul Palmer making way for Jayden Welch and Nicholas MacDonald replacing Andrew Clark.
It was Welch who, in the 80th minute, brought out a superb save from Nester, the keeper tipping the substitute’s goal-bound shot over the bar in spectacular style.
Nine minutes from the end, Seungyong Jin raced inside the left-hand side of the box and fired inside the left-hand post to give Olympia a 3-2 win.
Zebras had one final chance in stoppage time to salvage a point, but substitute MacDonald’s diving header, from fellow replacement Welch’s left-wing cross, was wide.
Photo: Zebras' Alex Leszczynski bends a free-kick just wide of the far post [PlessPix]
Tilford Zebras coach, Tommy Fotak, said:
“We conceded three goals. I’ll have to watch the replay. It all happened so fast. We dropped our bundle and started to give the ball away in critical areas and they took their chances.
“Poor use of the ball, poor positioning at defending - a multitude of reasons. We need to have a good look at the tape and point out the exact faults.
“[The positive] was to come in 2-0 after being outplayed for 20 or 25 minutes and to fight our way back into the game and get two goals and start to find time and space on the ball.
“And then the first 15 minutes of the second half. If Sunday [Adam McKeown] had buried that goal, it would probably have been game over by that stage. But, we didn’t take the chances we created in that period and they took theirs in the period in which they dominated.”
Photo: The officials and ball boys and a Spartan warrior [PlessPix]
Olympia Warriors coach, Glen McNeill, said:
“I think that [second] half was one of the best halves I’ve seen form an Olympia team in terms of passion. Not necessarily in terms of skill, but certainly in terms of passion. The passion they showed in that second half was outstanding.
“It’s something that we talked about at the start of the game. Michael Berwick addressed the playing group and it centred around passion and they certainly brought it in the second half.
“[At half-time] we said that 2-0 is the hardest score to defend. One early goal can change the entire game. It didn’t come as early as I would have liked, but it came and it certainly ended up that way.”
Photo: Kim Barker tosses the coin for Olympia captain Ben Phillips and Zebras skipper Jonathan Ladic [PlessPix]
Photo: Olympia Warriors with their Spartan warrior mascot before Friday's game [PlessPix]
Photo: The teams about to enter the field of play [PlessPix]
Photo: Zebras goalkeeper Ryan Norval in possession as Olympia's Gift Ochaya approaches [PlessPix]
Photo: Tilford Zebras limber up before walking on to the KGV Park pitch [PlessPix]