Launceston City’s ever diminishing chances of snaring an elusive NPL Tasmania title are delicately in the balance after surrendering a one-goal lead on Saturday.
Instead, Olympia Warriors broke the deadlock – and City hearts – four minutes from added time to inflict a 2-1 loss on the visitors.
Dropping three invaluable points still has the Devils five adrift from Devonport City, but the competition frontrunners can stretch that out to eight points on Sunday with victory against South Hobart heading into the final three rounds.
But Ken Morton’s side could jump City into second spot should they upset the Strikers at Darcy Street.
City started strongly when Tyler Fischer put his side 1-0 in front just eight minutes into the crucial clash.
The American scored off the back of a long ball after outpacing the rival defence.
Olympia went on to equalise through Eduardo Castaneda in the 35th minute from the top of the box.
City’s fortunes looked to have turned around when keeper Niko Giantsopoulos saved a penalty shot midway through the second half.
But the Warriors sunk City for good when talented 18-year-old Joffrey Nkoso shot a screamer past Giantsopoulos for the winner.
Northern Rangers had little trouble in disposing of Clarence United at home in the twilight fixture.
Lino Sciulli’s men had very little to play for but avoiding being the first team to lose to the perennial NPL strugglers.
They did that courtesy of a 3-0 victory that never looked in doubt in the first half.
It came on the back of eight shots on goal to three.
Rangers star captain Nick Lanau-Atkinson stepped up for his seventh goal of the year inside the 10th minute.
Twin Pat Lanau-Atkinson had finally broken apart a series of Clarence through balls, adding the second to Rangers’ tally.
But it took until seven minutes from time to finally put the polish on Rangers’ fifth win this season.
Talisman Harry Thannhauser put the keeper under immense pressure to score the third near the goal line.
Launceston City will continue its campaign in the Women’s Super League side against Taroona in Hobart on Sunday.
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