Launceston City coach Jez Kenth dismisses back-to-back losses on NPL Tasmania title impact

STANDING TALL: Gun Launceston City striker Noah Mies will look to continue his strong form. Picture: Paul Scambler
STANDING TALL: Gun Launceston City striker Noah Mies will look to continue his strong form. Picture: Paul Scambler

Morale still remains high, confidence is up around the mark and those elusive NPL title hopes are far from gone inside the dressing rooms of Launceston City.

Coach Jez Kenth said there has been no sign of panic in the squad after conceding the competition lead for the first time in nine weeks.

From 11 weeks without a league defeat, including nine wins, City has since dropped two matches in a row.  

“We are trying to keep the routine as normal as possible still,” Kenth said. “They are young boys, a lot of them, and this is where the Daniel Sysons and Tyler Fischers are handy because they’ve been there and done that before.

“The rest of the team, about 90 per cent of them, haven’t.

“That’s the big challenge for us and that’s why we like to keep things under wraps.

“We know we have a very inexperienced team at this level, going for the title.

“It’s a learning curve for us and we’ll take the young guys under our wings to concentrate on the next game and the good things we’ve done.” 

But Kenth also bemoaned the quirkiness of City’s draw.

The Devils host a third successive contender against Hobart Zebras on Saturday following a soft four weeks.

“It’s so close between the top four teams that sometimes luck is the difference between each other,” he said.

After forgoing four clear-cut chances to just front half-time 1-0 up to Devonport City, Kenth was painting the positives out of the loss.

“We should have put the game to bed in the first half from the amount of chances that we had,” he said. “The first half showed what we can do and we’re capable of.”

Gallant Northern Rangers captain Nick Lanau-Atkinson can certainly sympathise. 

Rangers have been on the end of multiple brutal recent results after starting the NPL campaign positively.

After conceding 12 goals in the past two appearances, Lanau-Atkinson said his teammates remain upbeat.

“The boys aren’t feeling too bad,” he said.

“We didn’t play that badly against Kingborough – we created enough chances to win the game, but a few mistakes cost us a few goals. We are working hard and trying to be as positive as possible.”

The task does not get easier in the trip to Darcy Street.

South Hobart have strung six wins from seven games, but the skipper is optimistic.

“We know South are a tough outfit, but we aren’t afraid,” Lanau-Atkinson said.

“We know if we play to our potential we can get a result.”

South coach Ken Morton has stop short of calling on referees to protect his star striker Renato De Vecchi Marins ahead of Sunday’s clash.

The Brazilian leads his side up front with eight goals.

He came under close attention last week after scoring twice against Olympia.

“He is the most marked man in the league. You know teams don’t mind that [sort of attention] as they mark or wallop him,” Morton said.