In one of the most epic and aggressive encounters in NPL TAS history, the Devonport Strikers have escaped KGV with a valuable point when substitute Daniel Syson’s goal in the 95th minute gave the visitors a 2-2 draw in their clash with Hobart Zebras.
It took till the 44th minute to get the first goal of the day after both teams were trying to play each other out. Nicky Edwards provided a lovely backheel for Matthew Sanders in the lead up, Sanders crossed it in low to Matthew Pace who had no trouble slotting it past Devonport keeper Nathan Pitchford on the stroke of half time.
Jan Charuza was shown his second yellow after a reckless challenge in the 71st minute leaving the Zebras down to ten men.
Daniel Syson came off the bench and made a immediate impact for the Strikers after getting onto a header from teammate Miles Barnard. Syson picked up the pieces and knocked his first past Zebras keeper Sam Whatman for the equaliser in the 75th minute.
Zebra’s somehow got the lead back in the 92nd minute through Adam Mckeown getting onto a tight angle and hitting the ball right into the top right corner for what seemed the winner for the home side! That was Mckeown’s first game back from injury which would of been some fairytale if the home side held on.
However amoungst those celebrations, Riley Dillon was shown a straight red after pushing Kieran Mulraney down to the deck which sparked a melee of sorts from both sides. Referee Charlie White, certainly had a busy one in the middle today! That booking left Zebras down to 9 men!
Rick Coghlan’s men shocked the home fans when Syson popped up out of nowhere from a long throw in and headed into the back of the net! Right on the 94th minute of play!
This game had it all! Another melee almost started but order was restored when Max Fitzgerard of the Strikers was shown a yellow card after the celebrations.
So full time and this game swung the title race back and forth every action! If Devonport ended the game with the win they would of been 1 point clear on top. But with the equaliser at the death, Olympia and Devonport are now on equal points with the Strikers only ahead on goal difference.
Strikers Manager Rick Coghlan said he was massively disappointed that his men didn’t get the win “We’re away from home with a massive rival, here to win, we left two points on the table, our objective was 3 points and we didn’t achieve it.”
“Syson made a point today off the bench and it’s very difficult to not get a start, he certainly proved himself.”
Zebras Manager David Smith also expressed his frustration with the result. “I can’t comment on the red cards, it is what it is.” We are very upset with our exit in the Lakaseljac Cup Quarter Final to Devonport, and today we came out to prove it”
“Against the wind we was pretty good, we pinched one go 2-1 up but then lose it again, thats football.”
“Jan was our best player but was sent off, Jayden Hey also very good, it was always going to be a physical game.”
How big next week just got when these two will clash up at Valley Road in a match that could very well decide the fate of the NPL TAS title.
Written by Tanner Coad.