Devonport City stay on top of NPL, but City draw and Rangers lose in disappointing results

FULLY STRETCHED: Rangers goalkeeper Sam Whatman makes a diving save on Saturday in a desperate effort to keep his side in the home encounter against South Hobart at the NTCA No.2 Ground. Picture: Scott Gelston

FULLY STRETCHED: Rangers goalkeeper Sam Whatman makes a diving save on Saturday in a desperate effort to keep his side in the home encounter against South Hobart at the NTCA No.2 Ground. Picture: Scott Gelston

Devonport City cast aside roadblocks on its way to Hobart to retain its position atop of NPL Tasmania.

Travelling south to face off against the FFA Cup-bound Olympia Warriors following their Lakoseljac Cup victory five days earlier, the Strikers showed no fear to win 2-1.

The result had come on the back of losing Strikers stalwart Chris McKenna to a career-ending injury, as offseason recruit Tyler Fischer walked away from the club after 11 brilliant NPL games.

Fischer scored 12 times before cashed-up Victorian club Avondale sensationally enticed the American to sign up to a lucrative deal for the remainder of the season.

Up front, Devonport wasn't lacking in their absence.

After Brayden Mann had put on one of two early shots on goal within three minutes, he returned to net his side’s first at the 32-minute mark.

Mark Holden, who is only second behind Fischer for goals scored this campaign, lifted the visitors to a 2-0 lead with a 54th minute strike. 

Olympia did breath new life into the contest when Jack Callan’s long-distance shot took a deflection, but it couldn’t get enough shots off to secure a point on Saturday.

The reigning premiers have maintained its three-point buffer ahead of South Hobart for the title race.

Kenny Morton’s men kept in touch with the NPL frontrunners after a clinical 2-0 win over Northern Rangers.

South arrived feeling in a bullish mood and peeled off 14 shots – twice as many as Rangers – to never look in danger away from home.

The visitors took advantage of the disorganised defence to take the lead well inside the first half.

But Rangers made their fancied rivals sweat until two minutes from injury time to secure the points when Jack Turner slotted his second.

Busy goalkeeper Sam Whatman ensured the final margin wasn’t greater, the Kiwi pulling off a handful of strong saves.

Launceston City wasted a golden opportunity to move off the bottom of the NPL Tasmania table and also close the gap on opponents Kingborough Lions.

The 0-0 result was enough for City to draw level with Clarence United, who play Hobart Zebras on Sunday. 

But City failed to capitalise on dominance in attack at Buckby Range Rover Park that coach Ben Brookfield had warned in its last start loss to derby rivals Rangers.

The hosts had seven shots on goal to two and had sprayed a further five.

Kingborough spent long periods late battling to get the ball out of their half, but would walk away satisfied to keep a clean scoresheet.

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