Photo: Beachside, the 2010 Division One champions' starting XI against the FFT Under-15s [PlessPix]
Beachside 9-1 FFT Under-15s
Initially, Beachside needed just a point from this game to snare the Division One title and earn promotion to next year’s Premier League.
In fact, they didn’t really need a point because by the time they kicked off after 6pm, second-placed Metro had drawn 3-3 with Southern FC earlier in the afternoon and, therefore, were out of the running.
There could only be one winner in this contest and that was Beachside. It would be tempting to say that the combined ages of the FFT Under-15s wouldn’t add up to the age of some of their individual opponents, but that would be exaggerating a little. I joke.
Seriously, though, the Under-15s could never match the experience of Beachside. And, Beachside displayed the sort of technique, skills and team-work that made many of their players such a delight to watch in their heydays with other big clubs.
There was Colin Shepherd, of course, who had played for Tasmania against New South Wales in that memorable match at South Hobart when the locals led 4-1 with 20 minutes to go, only to lose 5-4.
And there was Brett Pullen, who played in the old NSL with Adelaide Hellas before returning to Tasmania and Caledonians to set the local league on fire.
Player-coach Nathan Robinson, who played in midfield, has coached South Hobart to a Premier League title, while goalkeeper Michael Soszynski has won a local league title and also played professionally in England.
Bernhard Klasen once terrified Premier League goalkeepers with his shooting before a dicky knee ruled him out of top-flight action.
The list goes on, but suffice to say that the young brigade had no chance. It was to Beachside’s credit that their players showed a professional concern for the youngsters and, if ever one of them went down, there were always helping hands nearby to offer assistance. It was sporting behaviour at its best.
They certainly gave the Under-15s a lesson in how to play an entertaining game. There were cheeky back-heels and other audacious tricks, as well as slick team-work and precise passing.
Pullen headed Beachside in front from Jason Harvey’s right-wing cross in the 10th minute, while 4 minutes later, Robinson headed against a post from Klasen’s corner.
In the 18th minute, Tom Ottavi saved well from a Ben Davis header after another Klasen corner.
Beachside scored their second in the 23rd minute after some good approach work by Shepherd was capped by a goal from Pat Dunne’s low drive.
Shepherd set up Klasen for the third on the half-hour, the former South Hobart striker finishing in style.
A Davis pass enabled Klasen to make it 4-0 two minutes later with a powerful shot from 20 metres that might have carried Ottavi into the net had he got a touch on the ball.
Pullen closed the first-half scoring with his second goal of the match, volleying home from the right, the ball going in off the left-hand post, after Harvey’s left-wing cross.
Pullen almost snared a hat-trick early in the second period after he rounded the keeper, only to see his shot come back off the post.
The Under-15s were battling bravely and, in the 49th minute, Liam Johnston forced Soszynski to tip his shot over the bar for a corner.
Two minutes later, the youngsters went one better when Chris McDonald scored with a long-range low drive through a crowded penalty area.
Beachside were stung by the impudence of the junior side and struck back immediately with a goal by Klasen to restore their five-goal buffer.
Klasen struck again in the 74th minute when Shepherd’s square pass across the box was dummied by Luke Atkin, which put the defenders on the wrong foot.
A well-worked goal in the 82nd minute, involving a build-up by Robinson and Shepherd and a cool finish by Andrew Reason, took the score to 8-1.
An outrageously impudent goal a minute from the end completed the scoring, Klasen flicking the ball up in the air and teeing it up for Davis to volley home.
The kids weren’t finished yet, however, and in stoppage time at the end of the match, Harry Woolley ghosted past Shepherd and Pullen in midfield and made for goal. It was only a brilliant save by Soszynski, who, seeing the danger, raced off his line and blocked at the youngster’s feet on the edge of the box to avert a goal.
Beachside produced a marvellous display to confirm their league title with one round remaining, but they should be warned that life in the Premier League will not be so easy. The showboating they engaged in will be difficult to re-produce in the top flight.
Beachside player-coach, Nathan Robinson, said:
“They’ve improved and I think it’s a good exercise for them. I can see the benefits for them as they’re going away and I wish them the best of luck.
“They have improved and the rigours of playing men every week will hold them in good stead for those five games in four days that they have, so well done to them.
“The season as a whole, well there were several key factors. Michael Soszynski, a premiership-winning goalkeeper in goal, and the least goals conceded in the division was the big difference there.
“Brett Pullen, Bernhard Klasen and Colin Shepherd up front. Sixty goals between them this year.
"I think at both ends of the field, and in midfield, we’ve got a very strong team and we’ve beaten our rivals, Metro, home and away, and Hobart United away and University away, so I think we’ve ticked every box to go up next season and challenge the guys in the SPL.”
FFT Under-15s coach, Gary Spicer, said:
“To be quite honest with you, that was the best football that we’ve seen from these boys today.
“I mean, this is Beachside, champions of Division One, and these boys came out today and I tell you what, the score does not reflect the way the game went.
“They had to work for every one of those goals.
“I’m very, very proud of the boys and very impressed with them.”
Beachside: Soszynski - Atkin, Lowe, Henderson (Driver 55) - Harvey (Reason 55), Robinson, Pullen, Dunne, Davis - Klasen, Shepherd
Goals: Pullen 10, 45, Dunne 23, Klasen 30, 32, 53, 74, Reason 82, Davis 89
FFT Under-15s: Ottavi - Johnston (Street 60), Woolley, Page, Geeves (G McDonald 55) - Gaggin, Piesse, C McDonald, Collins - Ochoya, D’Amico [Substitute not used: Paradisis]
Goals: C McDonald 51
Ref: C Ware