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Photo:  Devonport's Joel Stone (right) controls the ball as former Zebras' team-mate David Cox moves in [PlessPix]

Second-placed Tilford Zebras stayed on the heels of pace-setters South Hobart with a 4-0 win over fifth-ranked Devonport City in Saturday’s Victory League double-header at Grove Road.

It was the Zebras’ seventh win in a row, but the litmus test for them will be next Sunday when they meet the champions, South Hobart, away at South Hobart Oval.

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Photo:  Zebras' Russell Courtney about to be challenged for the ball [PlessPix]

Date: 19 July 2014

 Result: Tilford Zebras 4-0 Devonport City

 Scorers

 Tilford Zebras:

Leszczynski 27, 45 pen, 57 pen

Walsh 60

 Venue: KGV Park

 Attendance: No official figure available

 

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Photo:  Zebras keeper Matthew Ferguson clears in the nick of time [PlessPix]

Match Overview: Devonport City were no match for a Tilford Zebras side that won easily without exactly setting the world on fire. Zebras were missing key defender Josh Fielding, who was rested because of a hamstring strain in preparation for next Sunday’s showdown with leaders South Hobart.

The Zebras’ rearguard were never tested by a lacklustre Devonport team, who managed only two shots on target.

A long throw-in from the left in the 27th minute was nodded in off the underside of the bar by Alex Leszczynski to give Zebras the lead. Leszczynski made it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time with a penalty after shirt-pulling by a Devonport defender.

Zebras earned another penalty in the 57th minute when Corey Vickers pulled down Adam McKeown and Leszczynski again obliged from the spot to complete his hat-trick and make it 3-0 for the southerners.

Right-back Dwayme Walsh smashed home Zebras’ fourth on the hour to complete the win.

It might have been five, but Ben Whitehall’s shot seven minutes from the end came back off the bar.

 

Key Moment: Zebras’ second goal, a penalty by Leszczynski seconds before half-time, broke the back of Devonport City. It had been laborious for the Zebras until then, but that second goal ensured there was no way back for Devonport, and so it proved in the second as Zebras added two more goals to run out 4-0 victors.

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Photo:  Zebras' Curran Ferns (right) on the hunt for the ball [PlessPix]

 Man-of-the-Match: Alex Leszczynski, who hit a hat-trick, albeit with two penalties.

 Matter of fact: This was the Zebras’ seventh win in succession. It was a vital three points as it keeps them 6 points adrift of leaders South Hobart before their showdown with the champions next Sunday. South Hobart are trying to change the kick-off from 2pm to noon, but Zebras are resisting.

Talking point: Dwayne Walsh’s magnificent strike on the hour to make it 4-0 for Zebras. The right-back attacked down the right flank and floated a centre into the box. When the ball came back to him in the air, he unhesitatingly sent a volley from 25 metres into the far top right-hand corner of the net, giving Devonport keeper Casey Eaves no chance. Certainly a candidate for a goal-of-the-year award.

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Photo:  Zebras' Curran Ferns takes a tumble as he tries to stop Devonport's Joel Stone [PlessPix]

 Stats:

 Goal attempts

Tilford Zebras 19

Devonport City 6

On target

Tilford Zebras 10

Devonport City 2

Corners

Tilford Zebras 8

Devonport City 1

Fouls

Tilford Zebras 8

Devonport City 8

Off-sides

Tilford Zebras 3

Devonport City 1

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Photo:  Alex Leszczynski (No.13) sends the Devonport keeper, Casey Eaves, the wrong way with his first penalty [PlessPix]

 Line-ups:

 

Tilford Zebras:

1 Ferguson

9 Walsh

4 Courtney

7 Cox

11 K Engels

8 Fagg

2 Ferns

14 McKeown

15 Whitehall

13 Leszczynski

12 E Engels (6 Clark 82)

 

Devonport City:

1 C Eaves

3 Dance

19 Barnard

5 Vickers

11 Blake

14 Chilcott (2 Baldock 75)

15 B Foote (6 Andrews 63)

10 Stone

7 Denehey

8 Moore

4 Gleeson

 

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Photo:  Dwayne Walsh (in red boots) scored a spectacular goal [PlessPix]

 Yellow Cards

 Tilford Zebras:

Leszczynski 24

Ferns 40

Fagg 42

 Devonport City:

Vickers 24

B Foote 41

Dance 43

 

Referee: Mr Ivan Jozeljic

 

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Photo:  Zebras' Ben Whitehall tries the spectacular while surrounded by Devonport opponents.  Devonport coach Nick Owen and his staff at right seem unimpressed. [PlessPix]