Lions Hit Reds For Six
A dominant display from Shane Cartwright and some set piece brilliant from Chris Downes propelled the Kingborough Lions to a thumping 6-1 victory over Clarence United at Wentworth Park. Danny Cowen put them ahead just 27 seconds into the game and from there they never looked back, roaring to a massive victory to move back into sixth place in style.
Cowen set the tone for things to come when he scored in the opening minute of the game. From the Lions first attack Cartwright worked it to Cowen who raced in behind the Clarence back four and slotted home into the corner.
The dream start got better in the eighth minute when Chris Downes was afforded too much time and space and blasted a sublime long range strike from 25 yards, into the top right corner of the net.
It was all Kingborough early as they pinned Clarence deep with wave after wave on the attack and their passing tempo was impressive through this period, but it was Cartwright who was causing all the headaches with his ability to run at the defence and turn defenders.
Clarence came close to pulling a goal back when George Hallard powered a header over the bar on 23 minutes following some nice build up play from Naden, working it to Bugg who sent in an inch perfect cross from the right.
Just as Clarence appeared to be getting a foothold in the game, Cartwright flashed a further warning with a powerful shot from outside the box that Darby Randall did well to save, diving full stretch to his left to pull off a spectacular save.
It was Voss who was next called into action to deny Sam Randall, who showed some nice flashes throughout the contest but couldn't find a way past Voss at his near post after a Stalker slip had let him in.
Clarence were then made to regret a foul on the edge of the area as Chris Downes was afforded a chance to show his quality over the dead ball as he duly dispatched the free kick to make it 3-0 shortly before the break.
Any fears of another second half fade out were quickly abated when Shane Cartwright curled an effort from range which Darby Randall did well to save at full stretch, but the rebound fell to Trent Pearce who walked the ball into the empty net and all but seal the game at 4-0.
Clarence pulled back a consolation marker shortly after when Nick Naden was brought down in the box and Grant Malcolm stepped up to dispatch the spot kick but their joy was short lived as the Lions responded immediately.
Nathanial Taylor, who had a productive game down the right wing, ran onto a long ball over the top and made no mistake with a clinical finish to make it 5-1. Clarence were once again a mess at the back for this one. They were torn apart all evening by the Lions, led by the outstanding Cartwright.
The final goal of the game was another stunner, Chris Downes capping off a memorable performance and a hat-trick with yet another free kick. This one was from further out, but the result was the same, curling it perfectly into the top corner of the net. If there is a better dead ball specialist in the State, I'm yet to see them.
Ian Shaw was delighted with his side
"I'm ecstatic for the players, it was a great performance and very good goals from set pieces and combination play"
He praised the performances of his star men Cartwright and Downes.
"The quality of what he was delivering tonight was fantastic, set pieces from 20 metres out can turn a game and he showed that tonight, the technique in
"He was quality up front tonight, he laid the platform for other players to come forward and score the goals."
Alan Jablonski was unsurprisingly disappointed with his sides showing.
"We didn't defend in the same way we have been the last couple of weeks, it wasn't effort, we just didn't defend as a unit as we have been and left too many 10-15 yard gaps between players and it just made their job a lot easier."
He singled out Cartwright as the major difference maker for the Lions.
'If Cartwright isn't winning the Mitsubishi Medal i'd be surprised, he was easily the best player tonight, to the point where he was so much of an influence on the game that I've not seen that from one single player in a long time. They're very lucky to have him there."