The Strikers Vault
Rd. 18 2016 v Hobart Zebras
Our first entry into the Strikers Vault takes us back to late July 2016 for Round 18 of the PS4 NPL TAS in a top of the table clash against the Hobart Zebras. With the rest of the competition at least eight points behind the Strikers, the Hobart Zebras were left as the Strikers only considerable rivals to win the league as they sat two points behind the Strikers.
Everything was to play for at Valley Road, a win to the Zebras would see them leapfrog the Strikers to go top of the table. However, a win to the Strikers would put them 5 points clear with 3 games to go.
The opening stages of the game saw several half chances created, but very few quality scoring opportunities came as the games main source of entertainment came from some crunching tackles from both teams.
As the first half continued the Zebras began to grow into the game, creating several opportunities. A header from Luke Huigsloot crashed into the crossbar, shortly followed by several shots flashing across the face of the goal. But it was the Strikers who would score against the run of play, Brody Denehey scoring from inside 6 yards after Graham White palmed a Joel Stone shot into his path. The Strikers would head into the half time break with a 1-0 lead.
The second half once again saw the Hobart Zebras creating early chances, but good defensive work and another solid display from Strikers goalkeeper Niko Giantsopoulos left the Southern side with no reward for their effort.
It was the Strikers who had the ball in the back of the net again, with Brody Denehey scoring from a Beau Blizzard cross, however, the goal was disallowed and Denehey was judged to be offside.
As the game continued and time began to run out, the Zebras pushed further forward, creating more chances that required some close-range saves from Giantsopoulos. But it would be the Strikers with the next great opportunity. After a long cross into the box, Captain Brayden Mann fired his shot into the arm of a Zebras defender and the referee immediately called for a penalty. The normally reliable Mann stepped up to take the penalty, putting the shot high and wide.
These opportunities seemed to grow the Strikers confidence as they began to get a grip on the game, creating several more chances.
While the Zebras would throw everything they had at the Strikers, the Devonport defence proved too strong, ending the game with their 12th clean sheet for the season and the game ended 1-0 to the Strikers winning the game 1-0.
Stay tuned as we go into the Strikers Vault again next Wednesday!
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