Monday, June 10, 2013

Central Region win on the road again

We just spent the weekend with Marcus up north for the Devonport Soccer Carnival. His team Central Region (representing the main metro area of Hobart) won their four games and took out the tournament again. Last year they won Devonport and Launceston and lost at home in Hobart (to Northern Tasmania). Again this year they have lost in Hobart (to Northern Tasmania) and won in Devonport - we travel to Launceston in about 5 weeks. We have just heard there is going to be a fourth tournament, in Burnie in September.

The first game on Saturday against Eastern (representing the eastern shore of Hobart) was a tight tussle. Central were 3-0 up early in the 2nd half when they started to get complacent. Some snoozy defending let Eastern in for an excellent goal, and then it looked like a matter of time before they scored again as panic set in.Central's travelling supporters started praying for the whistle and the ref obliged, final score 3-1.

In the afternoon was the game we all were hanging on, against the main threat, Northern Tasmania (who represent the whole North and North East but are generally just called "Launceston"). They were very unlucky to have a probable goal ignored by the ref, who thought it didn't cross the line. Our keeper Ethan scooped it out, and play continued. It was extremely tense for the whole first half, which finished 0-0. After the break Central scored from a goalmouth scramble. Again there was debate whether it had gone over the line but the referee was very decisive and firm in all four games. I was still worrying that we had been very lucky to be 1-0 when a 2nd went in. The Launceston boys dropped their heads then and it became a rout, finishing 5-0. Our boys were terrific in their behaviour - no over-the-top goal celebrations. Although they knew they had made a huge step towards winning the comp, they were respectful of their opponents and didn't go crazy at the end.

The next morning we played one of the traditionally weaker teams, WSSA based in Burnie. They gave us a very tough match - WSSA scored after only a minute. Again there was some dozy boys in the backline, WSSA won a corner which popped out to one of their midfielders who crashed it in just under the crossbar. Within 3 minutes Central equalised then added another. WSSA were moving the ball around really nicely while Central were rushing everything, but it was still 2-1 at half time. Central settled in the 2nd half and got out to a comfortable 4-1 lead. WSSA pulled a well-deserved goal back before the end. Coach Atef addressed the boys at the end, (in gentle-chiding mode rather than hairdryer mode) and said that apart from Marcus who was man-of-the-match, everyone else forgot to do the jobs assigned to them.

Our last game was against the hosts, Devonport. The word was out that our boys needed only to draw to take first place, but Devonport had also looked like an improved team. They took it right up to Central, and had us under a lot of pressure at times. Our defence in this match was a lot better, and our forwards made the most of their chances. Central won 5-1 although on the balance of play the teams seemed much closer.

The team has changed a bit from last year. Sam, Antonio and Gus have left either for AFL or to play exclusively for Ken Morton's soccer school. Sam was our best defender but I think Marcus has taken that mantle now. He always gives 100% and I get the impression the coaches really trust him. He is happy playing at right fullback where his primary job is marking. But he plays more like a centre-back, and I think with his height there is a good chance he'll be given that responsibility sooner or later.

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