City Claim Derby Cup With Comfortable 4-0 Win
Launceston City ran out 4-0 winners against a nimble Northern Rangers team to clinch the local bragging rights and the Derby Cup in the third and final Launceston Derby for 2016. City just shaded Rangers in the game but were more clinical in front of goal than their visitors. Rangers had two golden chances to score but continued to follow their season’s trend of not putting the ball in to the back of the net.
A long ball to the wing from the kick-off signaled the home team’s intention and for the first few minutes it was all Launceston City. After five minutes, Aaron Campbell found the ball at the side of the Rangers’ box, drove closer to goal and unleashed a low, far-post bound shot which nested in the back of the net to put them 1-0 ahead.
After a few more minutes Northern Rangers brought some balance to the game and were in City’s final third on several occasions to show that they had plenty of desire to win. For much of the first half the chances for each team, the display of passing combinations and the amount of possession was relatively even. City had the goal but Rangers had self-belief and looked likely to equalise.
As good technical displays go, Dom Rossi and Hayoto Ogusu appeared to be having a contest to see who could hold off the most opponents whilst controlling the ball. The two City players were playing tremendously well evading their markers, dribbling, rolling the ball away from challenges and distributing the ball to their team mates. Of the two players it was difficult to tell which was the better player of the half. But just as the referee was about to blow for half-time it was Ogusu who shifted the ball back on to his right foot at the top of the box to fire home City’s second goal.
Despite the scoreline, Rangers had looked a good team in the first half and from the re-start they looked sharper again. Short passes to feet with players running off the ball showed a level of precision seen in teams much higher up the table. Indeed, this style paid off with a stinging shot at David Smith’s gloves that rebounded back towards the penalty spot. Joel Griffoen reacted quickly to race on to the ball and fire at the open net before Smith could regather himself. But Griffoen’s shot flew up at sharp angle off in to the night sky well over the crossbar. It was by far Rangers’ best chance of the game but the chance of scoring now seemed more elusive than ever.
Solid work by Greg Duffy down the right worked the ball towards the City box and a lobbed cross was swung at and missed by Campbell before Rangers could clear. Alex Sciulli was lurking further out and hit a thunderous shot from distance which gave Wes Chugg no chance in goal.
Despite now being three goals down the Northern Rangers showed grit and spirit to keep taking the game to their hosts. On 71 mintues they were rewarded with a penalty. Pat Lanau-Atkinson stepped up with the obvious intention of to tucking away a rare goal for the winless team. But his shot skewed wide of the right-hand post to maintain City’s clean sheet.
To put matters to rest, at 77 minutes Rossi bursts through the middle of the park with the ball at his feet. He was pushed slightly wide but as he entered the penalty box he managed to get a shot away under pressure from Chugg who had to come off of his line. The ball went under Chugg, crept slowly towards the goal line and inched over the white marking to send the home crowd in to raptuous celebration. Launceston City 4, Northern Rangers 0.
The win combined with a draw and win earlier in the season awarded the Launceston Mitsubishi – Launceston Mazda Challenge Cup to the home team. Harry Thannhauser was awarded the Challenge Cup medal for best player in the three matches.
City manager Lino Sciulli saw the win as a solid reward for the good showings City had made in the previous matches.
“We went out there for 90 minutes today. We played extremely hard and well and we knocked it around well together as a group. The middle of the park played really well. The defenders obviously had an exceptional game. They played out from the back. And they did as best as the could in the conditions. But I think the middle of the park, we did exceptionally well, because that’s where in past games the Rangers have pretty well dominated us.”
Pat Lanau-Atkinson was more circumspect in his view of the match.
“The boys fought hard and tried our best. We’ve still got a young side out there. We know the season’s gone so we’re more working towards next year. I thought we came out on top towards the start of the second half but we just couldn’t get that finish away. We’re just really lacking at the moment someone who can score goals for us. It’s shown across the year.”
The match ebbed and flowed throughout with both teams seeming to have a good foothold on the game. But City put away their chances and once again defended resolutely. They’ll need those attributes if they’re to get anything from their trip to Warrior Park next weekend. The pressure for Rangers to win or at least score seems to have once again have been too strong as their season fades away. With only two rounds remaining they will have to hope that Devonport will be tired after their mid-week FFA Cup exploits or it will all come down to the final game of the season.