The Strikers Vault
Rd 12 2016 v South Hobart FC
For our next entry into the Striker Vault, we take a look back at the 2016 Round 12 clash against South Hobart at Valley Road.
This top of the table clash provided a real opportunity for the Strikers to solidify their spot at the top of the league table with a win potentially putting them 5 points ahead of the second-placed South Hobart. However, a determined South Hobart outfit also had strong motivation, 3 points from this match would see Devonport bumped down to second and South replace the Strikers as the league leaders. Adding to intrigue a week earlier the Strikers beat South Hobart 1-0 in a tightly contested Lakoseljac Cup final, both sides had a lot to play for.
As the first half kicked off the match quickly adopted a fast-paced tempo with both squads coming out of the gates strong and looking to advance the ball quickly.
The further the opening period progressed the more South Hobart gathered momentum. Soon it was all South and the Strikers struggled to develop anything substantial going forward.
The domination of play from South Hobart tested the Strikers defensive unit and keeper Niko Giantsopoulous services were routinely called upon.
Key saves from Giantsopoulos in the 9th and 14th minute denied threatening attempts on goal from South and maintained the nil-all scoreline.
The 14th minute also featured a dangerous volley on the edge of the box from South Hobart’s Darcy Hall that was denied by the crossbar.
Despite not having the run of play for arguably the entire half the Strikers were not without their chances.
In the 16th minute, Brayden Mann manufactured a chance out of thin air, exhibiting some acrobatic ability to perform a bicycle kick but he was unable to make sufficient contact with the ball to trouble the keeper.
In the 26th minute from the left-wing Joel Stone played Adam Gorrie into a tight one on one chance but Gorrie lost his footing before he was able to get a shot away.
A quick counter-attack from that passage of play led South Hobart into a scoring position at the opposite end. Giantsopoulos was again called upon to deny an initial strike from Alex Walter before a follow-up attempt from Alex Leszczynski was cleared off the line by Nathan Gratton.
Another round of important saves from Giantsopoulos in the 33rd and 35th minute, again denied South Hobart’s attempts at taking the lead.
On the cusp of half-time, another shot from Walter looked off the boot to be destined for the bottom left corner but it hit the post and ricocheted back into play.
At the conclusion of the half, many would count the Strikers lucky to be going into the break at nil-all having endured an overwhelming amount of threatening chances from the South Hobart attack.
The Strikers had the kick-off at the beginning of the second and immediately moved the play forward. South Hobart’s Matthew Hess made contact with Stone near the halfway line and Devonport were awarded a free-kick. The set-piece delivered by Mann into the box spilt out to the top of the box and was subsequently volleyed back into the mix by Stone. Stone’s volley dipped over the South defence and was nudged home by Brodie Dennehy, making it 1-0 to Devonport.
The goal was somewhat of a catalyst for the Strikers who began to wrestle back some of the possession and the second half continued as a closer contest than the first between the two sides.
In the 70th minute, a well-placed ball delivered from the left wing by Dennehy found Mann who volleyed the ball into the top right. Mann was then judged offside by the linesman, who, with the benefit of a video replay may have changed his decision.
The Strikers doubled their advantage in the 86th via another link-up between Dennehy and Mann. A ball delivered from the right-wing by Dennehy played Mann into a one on one who made no mistake smashing it to the left of the keeper, running over to celebrate in front of the clubrooms.
The Strikers ran out the remainder of the match and secured an important 2-0 victory!