Rangers squander lead to share spoils with Zebras as South Hobart inch closer to back to back titles after Round 18 of Tasmania's Victory League.
Northern Rangers let a 2-0 lead slip to draw 2-2 with Tilford Zebras.
The first half was an arm wrestle as neither team was able to break it open.
Northern Rangers had a lot of possession but Zebras looked the more dangerous side inside the first half.
The second half saw four goals as the game sprung to life. Shane Brassington netted the opener for the Rangers, converting a spot kick with a bullet finish inside the left upright, wide of Matthew Ferguson after Russell Courtney checked Aidan Rigby as the Rangers entered the box.
The Rangers doubled their lead just beyond the hour mark; experienced defender Josh Fielding gifted the ball to Brassington with a miscued back pass. Brassington fired off a shot and had it well saved by Ferguson, who then saved Nick Lanau-atkinson’s follow up before the nippy Rangers winger collected the parry and tucked it home into the bottom right to give the visitors a commanding 2-0 lead.
Four minutes later, a Ben Whitehall cross caught the hand of Rangers full back Tenzing Anderson in the box, giving the Zebras a chance to peg one back from the spot.
Alex Leszczynski stood up and thundered it home to give the hosts some hope.
Ethan Engels went close to claiming an equalizer three minutes later after Mattias Toghill robbed Pat Lanau-atkinson to whip in a threatening cross to Engels at back post.
Engels found the back of the net in the 79th minute with Leszczynski heading over the top for the forward to nudge home into the bottom right.
Zebras looked to have stolen a winner in stoppage time with Russell Courtney slotting from close range from a corner but a raised flag ceased the Englishman’s celebrations and saw the two teams share the points.
Devonport downed Glenorchy at their fortress Valley Road.
The Strikers struck inside a minute through veteran Chris McKenna as he fired home a side-footed effort from a Michael Holden cross.
The hosts doubled their advantage on the half hour mark, with utility Miles Barnard heading home from close range making it 2-0 at half time.
With ten minutes to go, Jake Gleeson made it 3-0 and a comfortable win for Devonport. Callum Moore rounded the goalkeeper and cut it back for the youngster to finish into an open net.
The result was Devonport’s eighth win for the season and their sixth at Valley Road.
Olympia edged out Launceston City in a match of missed opportunities.
Gus Rumney opened the scoring early for Olympia with his strike from the edge of the box fizzing in off Angus Martin on the 8th minute.
Olympia controlled the game but struggled to make the most of their dominance, with Launceston City’s keeper David Smith defiant in goal and their organized defence proving difficult for the Warriors to break down.
After a tough grind, Brian Kabangu extended the lead in the 59th minute, nodding home from close range after a Wadawu header at the front post collected the cross bar.
Late in the game, Launceston City claimed a consolation goal with a penalty after Nick Meredith made contact with a City player in the area. Angus Martin slotted from the spot off the arms of a diving Dmitri Nester.
South Hobart beat Kingborough Lions to put themselves just one result away from claiming the 2014 Victory League title.
Kingborough Lions started strongly at Lightwood Park, dominating the first 15 minutes.
Jack Turner asserted himself on the game early through midfield and Colin Robbins’ men went agonizingly close to snatching an opener early but were denied through some fine shot stopping from South Hobart keeper Kane Pierce.
Pierce saved a Turner strike off a short free kick in the 10th minute and then saved his teammate Jayden Hey in the 12th minute, saving a close range Danny Cowen drive after Hey gifted the ball to the striker just metres from goal.
South Hobart made the Lions pay for missed opportunities, when the cutthroat sharpshooter Brayden Mann struck home a free kick from 20 yards into the top left from just the first South Hobart shot.
The lead was extended for South Hobart in cruel fashion for the hosts with a dangerous Nick Morton cross headed from the front post into goal by Lions defender Phil McEldowney.
The game was swiftly ripped away from Kingborough when Mann doubled up in the 31st minute, slotting home from a Morton cut back from the by-line.
Andy Brennan then added the visitor's third in the 36th minute, burning off Nick Cuthbertson before firing into the bottom left.
Connor Kass did all the work to complete Mann’s hattrick, weaving through the Lions defence before skipping by keeper Adam Coleman only to have the ball sharked away from teammate Mann, who poked home his third of the afternoon.
Kingborough got reward for their effort, with Adam Hedge tucking home a neat header from a well struck Joel Schuth corner in the 81st minute.
Substitute Darcy Hall got himself a goal to add a sixth to the tally with the final kick of the game, turning in a Mann cross after Matt Lewis lofted a well weighted ball down the channel to pick out the striker.
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