Mann Inspires Second Half Blitz
Kingborough Lions United 0 Devonport City 5 (B Mann 46', 51', 52', D Smith 66', M Barnard 77')
Brayden Mann hit a hat-trick inside the first seven minutes of the second half and fired the Devonport Strikers to a comfortable 5-0 win over the Kingborough Lions. After a tightly contested first 45 minutes in which the Lions probably shaded the contest, the Strikers, led by the irrepressible Mann came flying out of the blocks in the second half and never looked back. They dominated the second half to restore their four point lead atop the NPL TAS table with a comprehensive victory.
It was the Lions who had actually looked the more likely of the two sides to open the scoring. Tom Mcdonald’s long throw ins were causing problems at the back and the usually dominant aerial defence of Devonport was being sternly tested by Cartwright and Cuthbertson. Twice flicks on’s from these throws just went wide of the back post as the Lions put the Strikers under pressure throughout the first 25 minutes and they looked well up for what was developing into a bruising encounter.
After about 25 minutes the Strikers settled and began to trouble the Lions at the back with their pace and movement. Adam Gorrie and Daniel Syson both had chances that they fired wide and a number of promising attacking movements were stopped by last ditch interventions from the Lions defenders. Nick Cuthbertson and Jackson Nugent were cutting very composed figures in the heart of defence whilst Joel Schuth saved a certain goal with a sliding challenge to block a Mann pass to Gorrie in the box.
The physical duels between Cartwright and Cowen up against Gratton and Zupo was looming as key and all parties were throwing their weight about, but as the game wore on it was the Strikers centre backs who got control of that battle.
Nick Cuthbertson could have put his side 1-0 ahead when his glancing header went wide of the post just before half time and it would be the last real chance they would have until the game was out of their reach.
The Strikers exploded out of the blocks in the second half as Brayden Mann came out firing and he would have the game all but over within seven minutes.
He first held off three defenders on the wing before setting away Denehey to start an attacking move before pouncing on a loose ball at the top of the box with a silky touch and driving it into the corner of the net.
Then five minutes later, from 25 yards out, wide on the left he hit a stunning free kick that curled around and dipped perfectly to nestle in the far right hand corner of the net. It was a sublime strike that will go down as one of the goals of the season.
His third a minute later was also spectacular. Niko Giantsopoulos launched a massive goal kick that carried all the way to the Lions box and Mann got a slight piece of it with an acrobatic volley that saw the ball trickle past a stranded Voss and into the back of the net.
From 0-0 at half time to 3-0 after 52 minutes, Mann had all but won the game off his own boot.
The Strikers would go on to add two more and in truth it could have been more still as they dominated the second half of the game.
Dom Smith got his head to a Joel Stone corner at the far post to score a rare goal and make it 4-0 before Miles Barnard hammered home a shot from the middle of the box to make it 5-0 after some lovely build up play from Syson and Gorrie.
Devonport Coach Peter Savill was his usual talkative self post game but admitted he was happy with the second half display.
“Second half we were good. The first half was difficult, it was windy, it was bobbling and they got into us which was fair enough. ”
Lions Coach Ian Shaw was happy with his sides first half but admitted they were not good enough over the whole 90.
“I think it was a good battle, the first 45 minutes was a really tough battle… Without doubt we could have done a lot better in the second half, the game is 90 minutes long, we’ve seen it before with Kingborough this year, concentration, you lack that for a few seconds and teams will punish you.”