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South Hobart and Knights show why they are just also-rans this season

Photo:  South Hobart coach Ken Morton (left) and Glenorchy Knights coach James Sherman seemed to be quite friendly before Saturday's game. [PlessPix] 

(NPL Tasmania, South Hobart Oval, Saturday, 13 August 2022)

South Hobart 5 (S Berezansky 16, J Lancaster 27, N Morton 35, 42 pen, T Herweynen 82)

Glenorchy Knights 3 (E Luttmer 69, 90+5 pen, A Yost 86)

HT:  4-0   Ref:  S Plomaritis

South Hobart:  Hayers  -  Herweynen, Lancaster, Bighin, Semmler  -  Hey, Higgins, Morton, Lakoseljac  -  Berezansky, Van Doorne  [Subs:  Divin, Brown, Feral, Moncur (GK), Schofield]

Glenorchy Knights:  Woodham  -  Harrison, Luttmer, Bowman  -  Gorrie, Dzelakowski, Castaneda, Undy, Schmidt,  -  M Brkic, Walpole  [Subs:  Muller, Murfet (GK), Naden, Smith, Yost)

Photo:  Knights' Eduardo Castaneda has a piece of Luke Bighin's shirt in this goalmouth scramble. [PlessPix]  

South Hobart and Glenorchy Knights showed why they are pretenders for the league title this year.

How could a team lead 4-0 at half-time and then concede three goals in the last 20 minutes to run out 5-3 winners?

There is something seriously wrong with both teams’ defences.

The ease with which South stormed to a 4-0 half-time lead was an embarrassment for the reigning champions.

The marking by Knights was non-existent.  South Hobart full-backs Tobias Herweynen and Lachlan Semmler were allowed to push into attack at will, while Sam Berezansky. Nick Morton and Bradley Lakoseljac roamed the pitch seeking openings.

Photo:  A cross into the Knights' box has players leaping but not connecting at the near post. [PlessPix]  

Berezansky opened the scoring in the 16thminute, making it look so easy.  He picked up the ball in the centre-circle and advanced on goal before chipping home inside the far right-hand post from all of 30 metres.

It was 2-0 in the 27th minute when a free-kick from the left near the corner flag by Semmler was allowed to bounce in the bix and carry towards the far post, where Luke Bighin’s shot was blocked.  The ball fell to his fellow central-defender, Jacob Lancaster, who fired home.

Captain Nick Morton scored one of the easiest goals he’ll ever score in the 35th minute when the marauding Herweynen cut the ball across from the byeline on the right and Morton rolled it into the empty net from close range.

A penalty in the 42nd minute converted by Morton, who had been brought down by Jack Bowman, made it 4-0 at the break.

Photo:  Knights' Mathew Brkic tries to deal with the rampaging Tobias Herweynen. [PlessPix]  

Complacency on the part of South and a renewed sense of pride by the Knights changed things in the second half.

Atrocious defending at a corner from the left by South in the 69th minute allowed the ball to carry across the box to Eli Luttmer, who fired home to reduce the arrears.

With 8 minutes remaining, a long ball down the right by Jayden Hey found Herweynen on a run and he was allowed to bear down on goal and beat Alex Woodham with what could only be called a tame shot to restore South’s 4-goal buffer.

The home side seemed to go to pieces after that and substitute Austin Yost pulled another goal back for the visitors when he was put through the middle by a long ball out from defence by Luttmer.  With South’s defenders appealing for off-side and then frantically trying to regain their ground, Yost advanced on goal and easily beat Jake Hayers to make it 5-2.

Photo:  South Hobart centre-back Luke Bighin shoots in a crowded penalty area. [PlessPix]
Photo:  After Bighin's shot was blocked, his centre-back partner, Jacon Lancaster (Number 8), scored. [PlessPix]

Photo:  Knights can only wonder what happened as South players mob Lancaster and the ball rolls back out from the net. [PlessPix]  

In the 5th minute of stoppage time  -  the game had been delayed for several minutes after an all-in melee that saw nine yellow cards and a red to Knights Eduardo Castaneda, who had been substituted  -  Knights earned a penalty for a foul on Hugh Undy.  Luttmer despatched the spot-kick with ease to make the final score 5-3.

The game provided clear evidence of why Knights have relinquished the league title and why South Hobart are miles behind league-leaders Devonport Strikers.

As for the melee, it was not a pretty sight and unbecoming as far as many players and coaching staff are concerned.  I don’t agree with Football Tasmania’s decision to remove the replay of the match from NPL.TV.  It was tame compared to some incidents in the 1960s, when spectators often got involved and strong wooden corner flags were used as weapons.  That doesn’t excuse this melee, but Football Tasmania’s censorship is treating football fans as fools.

Photo:  South Hobart's Jayden Hey gets past Knights Daniel Schmidt. [PlessPix]

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