Reigning Champions South Hobart FC are within a point of the top of the table following Round 8 of the PlayStation 4 Victory League.
South Hobart capitalised on ladder leaders slip up with Olympia FC Warriors drawing 1-1 away from home against Northern Rangers, seeing the Champions well within striking distance of the top.
The round kicked off in exciting style with Kingborough Lions clawing back from 3-1 down to defeat Devonport 5-3 in a shootout at Lightwood Park.
The first half saw three six goals and while there were some exquisite finishing there were some absolute defensive howlers.
Devonport have had poor starts all season but they flew out of the blocks with Michael Holden continuing his rich vein of form, striking an opener in the fifth minute. Beau Blizzard added a second, punishing a Lions defensive blunder with a sharp finish in the 12th minute.
Lewis Verdouw was the star of the Lions fightback and he pegged one back five minutes later to give a comeback some life. Before Kingborough even had time to celebrate their opener Devonport struck again through a long Adam Gorrie free kick and it look like the Lions fightback would be short lived.
The Lions then clawed their way on top with Danny Cowen volleying home a corner in the 25th minute. Dean Watkins then completed the comeback, rounding Tom Pearce after Daniel Syson gifted the midfielder position in his attacking half.
Verdouw then ripped the game from Devonport with a second half brace to ensure Kingborough a big victory, to shoot them from seventh to fifth.
Launceston City continued Glenorchy Knights' miserable run of results, inflicting a 6-0 smashing on Glenorchy. Dom Rossi was the start with two assists and a goal in the big win.
The thrilling rivalry between Northern Rangers and Olympia continues to blossom, with the ledger now at four Rangers wins, three draws and three Olympia wins since 2013.
Olympia FC Warriors' title hopes took a knock on Saturday after they failed to capitalise on their dominance against Northern Rangers, and were held to a 1-1 draw at the NTCA.
Alex Rossetto scored for the hosts in the 28th minute, a lead they held deep into the game.
Olympia had the better of general play but struggled to find the back of the net, waiting until the 76th minute, when substitute Fabian Gustaffson struck an equaliser to ensure the Warriors didn't leave NTCA empty handed.
In the last match of the round, South Hobart overcame rivals Hobart JEEP Zebras 2-1 in a fiery encounter at KGV on Sunday. The win put Ken Morton’s men just one point behind PS4 Victory League frontrunners Olympia Warriors.
South Hobart won the match but they were very fortunate to end the game with 11 players still on the park.
Near the end of the first half in what was a big moment in the match, Brayden Mann made a challenge on Dwayne Walsh that left the full back dazed on the ground. With the ball on the ground Mann went in with his elbows raised and connected a high elbow to Walsh’s head that made a huge thud across KGV. While it appeared it was unintentional and he braced for contact Mann was extremely fortunate to only escape with a yellow card and not to be sent for an early shower.
On the other side of the break South escaped another potential send-off with Daniel Brown thanking his lucky stars Kim Barker didn’t show him a second yellow for a challenge on Ethan Engels. Engels was running with the ball on the half way line when Brown ran and bumped Engels with his elbows raised in what was a professional foul. By this point Zebras coach Chris Hey was clearly upset with the lenient officiating.
It was South Hobart though that opened the scoring through an unlikely source, with defender Matt Lewis marauding forward down the right flank to score his first goal for the club. The full back broke the deadlock just after the half hour mark, Ben Hamlett fed Lewis well down the right, he skipped around Harrison and rocketed a half volley across the goal and into the bottom corner.
In the fourth minute of first half stoppage time as it looked like it would be 1-0 at half time, Kemp stung the Zebras with an unstoppable long range thunderbolt. He made it 2-0 with a spectacular volley from 20 yards that was blasted into the top left corner of Graham Wright’s goal.
Forward McKeown rewarded Zebras for an improved second half with a well-finished goal late in the contest. Luke Warrener found him well but McKeown made it, nutmegging Hugh Ludford at the edge of the 18 yard box, he breached the box and tucked home his shot into the bottom corner. The remaining ten minutes were nervous for South but they managed to defend their lead to the final whistle.
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