Zebras Thump Lions to Close Gap to 2 Points
A clinical Hobart JEEP Zebras produced one of their best performances of the season to crush the Kingborough Lions 4-1 and move within 2 points of Devonport in top spot. The front three of McKeown, Walsh and Huigsloot ran riot, their pace and power overwhelming the Lions defence as Huigsloot hit a hat-trick and the Zebras had the game won by half time.
They took control of the game early and nearly took the lead twice in the opening 15 minutes if not for the woodwork. First Huigsloot crashed an effort into the post from close range before Walsh unleashed a pile driver from 25 yards which Grace did well to save. The rebound was nodded home by Huigsloot but he was off side and the Lions survived unscathed.
The Lions first real chance of the game nearly produced a goal as Taylor was denied by a nice leg save from Wright and they were made to rue not taking that chance as just two minutes later they were behind.
Hey curled a corner to the back post where McKeown was on hand to head back centrally to set up Huigsloot who headed home from close range to make it 1-0.
Grace then made a strong save, diving at full stretch to deny Undy but as the half wore on the onslaught proved too much for the Lions to resist.
On 40 minutes A free kick was played into the middle of the box, Huigsloot rose high and flicked it on, the ball fell to Undy who got a boot to it and roofed it from the back post.
Two minute later they increased the lead again as Dwayne Walsh set up Huigsloot for another with a cross from the right wing, the towering striker made no mistake and at 3-0 it was all but game over by half time.
Chris Downes tried to pull one back in spectacular style shortly after the restart, lobbing an effort from just beyond halfway onto the roof of the net that had caught Wright off guard.
It would be the Zebras who scored again to extend their lead however as Huigsloot completed his hat-trick with a clinical finish from inside the area after an interception fell to him on 66 minutes. It was Walsh who was again the architect, putting in the cross that had been steered away from McKeown only to fall at Huigsloots feet. The big Striker was finishing everything off but it was Walsh who was put in a performance every bit as dominant, surging past defenders time and time again in a superb display.
Dwayne Walsh was superb once again- Pless Pix
In the build up to the goal Joel Schuth unfortunately got crunched and suffered a broken ankle in the process. Play was stopped as he got stretchered off by both sides set’s of medical teams whose response was all class. Fingers crossed his road to recovery goes well but it was salt in the wounds for the Lions on a difficult day.
The sting was out of the game by now but the Lions were pushing for a consolation goal and got it in stoppage time through talisman Shane Cartwright. Substitute Daniel Gofton played a wonderful long range through ball from the wing into the box which Cartwright took in stride and finished first time into the bottom corner to see the game end 4-1.
The late goal couldn’t paper over a disappointing display from the Lions who were a distinct second best on the day. They were thoroughly outmatched by a Zebras side whose fate is now in their own hands. If they can win out, they will win the title.
It leaves their round 18 clash in 2 weeks’ time with the Devonport Strikers looming as decisive clash in settling the title. The gap is just two points now and the only loss the Strikers have suffered came at Valley Road at the hands of the Zebras, adding further spice to what will be a massive clash.
A hat-trick for Huigsloot whom the Lions had no answer for. PlessPix