Beachside completed a weekend of shocks and surprises today, upsetting New Town Eagles 3-1. Few would have predicted South Hobart would drub Clarence United 8-0 on Saturday and many expected a much closer encounter.
Friday night also produced an interesting result, with a struggling Glenorchy Knights side putting up a good fight against a fancied Tilford Zebras outfit to draw 2-2. If Jonathan Ladic hadn’t produced two sublime goals, Knights may have easily pipped Zebras of all three points.
Saturday night’s match at Warriors Park was also an intriguing one, with Kingborough Lions nearly punished by Olympia Warriors for surrendering a two goal lead, but eventually restoring their two-goal margin to win 4-2 late in the closing stages.
The table has undergone a bit of a rejigg as a result, with Beachside arguably the big winners this weekend, jumping out of the dreaded bottom-placed position. In their first match at their home ground, Sandown Park, Beachside looked hungry from the get-go and had a goal on the board inside 13 minutes.
Debutant John Rogers was lively early and won a tussle on the right wing against his Eagles opponent before squaring to Andrew Keygen who happily smashed home the opener.
Player-coach Brett Pullen directed his team from the sidelines instead of the pitch this weekend and he would have been delighted when witnessing his side go 2-0 up on 20 minutes. Coaches enjoy when their team convert set-piece opportunities and Cameron Sweeney’s excellent looping header from a corner was a well-executed set play.
Beachside were buoyant having registered an early two-goal cushion, but had to deflect wave after wave of Eagles attacks to defend their lead. Beachside limited the visitors to shots from range on most occasions, but when they had chances in the box, keeper Michael Soszynski was equal to them, pulling out some top-class saves.
The pick of his stops were when he denied Adam McKeown’s shot from the edge of box, diving low to his left to parry the goal-bound effort out for a corner and when he tipped a powerful, point-blank David Cox header over the bar. The custodian may have had extra motivation after footage of him taking a big grab against Clarence won the Almost Footy Legends section on The Footy Show.
However, he was well-beaten once in the first half when Michael Anderson unleashed a stinging left-footed drive from 25 yards which dipped over the keeper, but the crossbar came to Beachside’s rescue on this occasion. Soszynski may have faced a penalty if referee Craig Phillips had pulled up Nathan Robinson when he appeared to impede McKeown in the box, but the official waved play on.
Eagles looked a different side compared with the confident outfit which had turned up to rustle South Hobart’s feathers last weekend and they continued to lack a killer instinct in front of goal in the second half. If they had put Chris Wass up front they may have had a bit more luck.
His finish on 70 minutes to give Beachside a 3-0 lead was a sensational chip from 25 yards on an angle, into the top corner. The only problem was it was at the wrong end and against his own keeper, Nathan Pitchford. Wass’ skewed back-pass could easily be own goal of the season – some strikers find Pitchford a hard keeper to beat so convincingly, but Wass did so with unintended aplomb.
With Eagles needing three goals in 20 minutes, it was always mission impossible and with each minute ticking towards full-time, Eagles’ unbeaten run was facing an inevitable stop sign. They did pull a goal back through Jacob Clamp who fired home, but with two minutes remaining it was far too little, far two late.
Player of the round: Brayden Mann (South Hobart). In South’s 8-0 demolition of Clarence on Saturday, Mann played a part in five of the eight goals. He set up goals for Andy Brennan and Kostas Kanakaris, before scoring two sensational efforts on his left and right feet before capping a ‘perfect’ hat-trick with his head.
Goal of the round: Jonathan Ladic (Tilford Zebras) vs Glenorchy Knights. There were some absolute crackers this weekend, and Mann is unlucky not to claim goal of the round this week, but Ladic’s 35 yard strike on Friday night was one of the best goals this league has seen in recent years. The absolute thunderbolt from a huge distance was an absolute pleasure to witness.
Quote of the round: ‘Kosta, Kosta, Kosta’ sung by Olympia’s faithful at Warriors Park towards their injury-plagued striker Kosta Grillas, who lasted just one half on Saturday night.