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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Griffin and Holden - Copy

Photo:  Zebras' Callen Griffin tries to stop Devonport's Michael Holden [PlessPix]

(PS4 NPL Tasmania, KGV Park, Saturday, 15 July 2017)

Hobart Zebras 3 (M Sanders 17’, 52’ pen, J Buga 89’)

Devonport City 2 (B Mann 26’, R Reynolds 87’)

HT: 1-1   Ref: B Kopra

Hobart Zebras: Mercuri - Kadisha, Lewis, Groenewold, Warrener - Pace, Huigsloot, Griffin - Walsh, Sanders, Gates (Subs: Reid, Bighin, Buga, Ackerley)

Devonport City: Zaikos - Smith, Reynolds, Bidwell, Knott - Jesse Dance, Andrews, Argent, Jack Dance - Mann, Holden (Subs: Millington, Rand, Wicks)

Man and Pace and Martelli - Copy

Photo:  Devonport's Brayden Mann goes around Zebras' Matthew Pace while former Juventus, South Hobart and Dnipro midfielder Joe Martelli sips his coffee at his usual position near the cricket nets [PlessPix]

I had a feeling that Hobart Zebras may win this one, but not quite in the dramatic fashion in which they did.

They were without Jayden Hey, who is on holiday in The Philippines. He was replaced by Teddy Kadisha.

Doubts crept into my mind early on when Matthew Pace missed a sitter after just 4 minutes. Put it down to inexperience. The youngster has shown enough in recent games to show that he will be a fine player after getting more regular game time at the top level and amassing some experience.

It was a Devonport error that enabled Zebras to take the lead. In the 17th minute, an under-hit back pass by Raphael Reynolds was latched on to by Mathew Sanders, who stroked it home. That’s why he was hired and why he is flown down from Melbourne each weekend.

Kadisha and Knott - Copy

Photo:  Zebras' Teddy Kadisha about to tackle Devonport's Liam Knott [PlessPix]

In the 26th minute, Devonport were level. A neat through-ball from Michael Holden to Brayden Mann on the left of the box and the ace striker fired home to make it 1-1 at the break.

Seven minutes into the second half, Zebras earned a penalty when Devonport keeper Matt Zaikos caught a cross while under pressure from Sanders but was adjudged to have brought Sanders down seconds later. Sanders calmly placed a left-footer past Zaikos from the spot to give Zebras a 2-1 lead.

Zebras appeared to be heading for a 2-1 win with three minutes of normal time remaining, but the reigning champions threw caution to the wind as they saw their title slipping away. In the 87th minute, a chip by Edward Bidwell found centre-back Raphael Reynolds, who beat Zebras keeper Marcello Mercuri to the ball and nodded it home to make it 2-2.

Mann takes off - Copy

Photo:  Devonport's Brayden Mann about to be confronted by Zebras' Imran Lewis [PlessPix]

A draw seemed inevitable, although Devonport created a couple of chances in the closing minutes that could have caught Zebras out.

Then, from a counter-attack in stoppage time by Zebras, Sanders lofted the ball from the left into the middle, where an unmarked substitute, John Buga, was in hectares of space and confronted only by Zaikos. The youngster kept his cool and expertly lobbed the ball over the keeper and into the net for the winner.

The sense of relief in the Zebras camp and the gloom in the Devonport ranks were palpable.

South Hobart coach, Ken Morton, who was watching from the sidelines, left with a smile on his face despite having a bout of the ‘flu. The title is clearly South Hobart’s to lose.

4 and Warrener

Photo:  Devonport's Edward Bidwell leaves Zebras' Luke Warrener in his wake [PlessPix]

Hobart Zebras coach, Tommy Fotak, said:

“I was confident in the players and, if we could do what we wanted to do, then we could get a result.

“You can never be one hundred per cent sure. I mean, they’re a top team and we still don’t have our full-strength squad.

“Yes, and no [confident about winning today], no guarantees. I go into every game confident. This is a good enough team to be winning games of football and we’re down on numbers and no-one has wiped the floor with us.

“We’re only just losing games, and our problem is scoring. We put three in today, but conceded two, which is unheard of for us, but we won.”

“[Was your heart in your mouth when the ball reached John Buga?] At training, he just puts them away all the time [commenting on the winning goal]. He’s a good striker and he scores a lot of goals in the Challenge League, so I know that he can finish.

Muller and McKeown 15 July 2017 - Copy

Photo:  Jordan Muller (left) and Adam McKeown were still missing through injury from the Zebras team [PlessPix]

“When [Mathew] Sanders broke through with the ball, I thought he might strike it because the keeper was off his line, but I was screaming at him that Buga was central and he lobbed it and I thought, ‘Oh no’, and then, his first touch, I thought he’s going to score here because he puts those away at training, and everyone was jumping up and I couldn’t see when he lobbed it and so I had to jump up at the back of everyone and I saw the net ripple. My heart was in my mouth, yes, but then everything was a big relief after that. We still had to close out the game for five minutes.”

Buga chips keeper Zaikos - Copy

Photo:  Zebras' John Buga chips Devonport keeper Matt Zaikos for the winning goal [PlessPix]

Devonport City assistant coach, Nick Owen, said:

“I thought the football we played today showed that we haven’t hit a wall. The result obviously showed that it appears that way, but the football we played in that game - I know we played a similar style to Zebras last year and it got us a long way - but I’m actually pretty glad we’ve stopped playing that brand of football.

“I thought we totally outplayed them and, unfortunately, they’ve got some big strong men and they can impose themselves on a game when they have to, and that was the difference today. I thought we played a lot better football than they did.

Mercuri saves at feet - Copy

Photo:  Zebras keeper Marcello Mercuri goes down to block [PlessPix]

“I didn’t think it was a penalty, but then, I thought the one that he didn’t give was a penalty.

“We did push for the win. We changed formation a little bit to try and push for the win and it didn’t go our way, so we have to live with that.

“South Hobart would have to drop three games and we’d have to win all our games for us to have any chance [of retaining the title]. It’s been a tough period for us and it’s not getting any easier, even though we’re at home for the next three games.”

Mercuri and Holden - Copy

Photo:  Zebras keeper Marcello Mercuri grabs the ball ahead of Devonport's Michael Holden [PlessPix]

Comments   

0 #18 Extra Time 2017-07-22 04:29
Reading this high quality article, with accompanying quality photographs and coach interviews, it would be good to see more posters responding to the content of Walter's match report than abusing each other.
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0 #17 Extra Time 2017-07-22 04:25
I was away for this game.

Love your round up and quality photos, Mr Pless, particularly the extended coach interviews at the end of the match report.
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-3 #16 anonymous 2017-07-18 13:56
#15 so you just commenting on something you don't even know is fact ? Says it all about you then .
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-4 #15 Anon 2017-07-18 08:58
#13. Actually I have never been on Zebras FB site. I was just commenting on #3and #4 pathetic immature comments. If. You are fri Zebras , says it all
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+5 #14 Anon 2017-07-18 07:12
Quoting Anonymous:
Yes well #1 If you are Clarence I guess from week to week you post a losing score it becomes a natural thing to do. When clubs like ours and Olympia lose we suffer greatly. You guys lose with the expectation of doing so.

A pathetic attempt to involve a club thats not involved in this thread.
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-4 #13 anonymous 2017-07-18 04:26
#5 Do you check every post of Zebras FB ? you wouldn't know what was posted , unless you are secretly in love with Zebras and their FB otherwise you would have no reason to follow them.
Another troll is found :)
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+3 #12 Titanic 2017-07-18 04:25
Quoting anonymous:
#1 you poor , lonely confused soul , may God bless you and we pray for you and hope with help you are able to find Yourself again.

Dear Oh Dear you poor soul average reply at best so much anger.
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-3 #11 anonymous 2017-07-18 04:22
#10 Maybe Port are rubbish or Zebras poor line up better than you think.
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-7 #10 Anonymous 2017-07-18 02:23
Poor zebras line up beats port. go figure
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0 #9 Anon 2017-07-18 02:02
#8. You need to grow up.Sounds like you are the f.......
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