GNL. The Rocky Cape Tavern Smithton Saints notched up their first victory of the Greater Northern League season on Saturday following two consecutive draws.
After travelling to Devonport for the round three encounter with Devonport Subs, the game began in a restricting style with little space to work the ball.
Breaking out of defence, the Subs went into a fast attack however the Saints were ready for this tactic and spread their defence to contest the ball in the midfield.
Smithton’s Jason House led from the front, both pushing his strikers into attack as well as working deep in defence. The Saints mounted multiple offensive pursuits however the Subs keeper was up to the task at every opportunity.
Donning the pads for Smithton, Mitch Lovell was a standout in defence as his aggressive style saved more than a few certain goals. Logan Buckby was moved into fullback and shone in defence, his ball carrying ability as well as sharp defensive skills provided Smithton with drive from the backline and kept the visitors in pursuit.
With scores remaining locked throughout the first half, the third quarter began with a desperate scavenge for possession. Smithton amped up their offence, with strikers Richard Cornish, Harry Lester and Kade Wooldrage creating the space needed to work with.
Piling on the pressure, the Saints earned a penalty corner however House’s strike was disallowed after missing the backboard by millimetres.
Smithton’s desperation and aggressiveness won through in the fourth quarter as the Saints gained the lead when Lester dished the ball to Wooldradge to convert.
Following the restart, halfbacks Daniel Cramer and Liam McLaren heaped further pressure onto the Subs but as the clock wound down, the home side made an explosive break to claim a penalty corner on the siren.
With the prospect of a third draw, the Saints’ determination won out against exhaustion to deflect the strike and claim the 1-0 victory.
In the women’s action, the Saints won the Vicki Bennett Memorial Trophy back from Devonport in a thrilling 2-1 encounter.
The visitors began with a strong offence and driving forward into attack, they were rewarded with a goal after a strong section of play from Maddison Poke was finished off nicely by Kahla Enniss. A second goal was soon secured by Darcey Smith after another strong build-up, although the Saints lost momentum in the remaining 10 minutes of the second quarter and were forced to defend stoutly.
The second half again told a different story as Smithton regrouped to display some exquisite passages of play.
Devonport found their place on the board when a fierce ball was lobbed over Smithton keeper Sasha Davies’ head.
The Saints were unlucky not to further increase the margin when a strike from Maddison Poke was disallowed, however held on for the victory.
The Smithton Saints will take on Launceston City this Saturday (April 29) in Launceston as the club re-enters the competition following a short hiatus.