Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gold Coast United in disarray

North Queensland Fury moved off the foot of the A-League ladder with a 2-0 away win over third-placed Gold Coast United at a deserted Skilled Stadium tonight.

Gold Coast United owner Clive Palmer decided to save money by limiting attendance to 5,000 and closed three of the four stands at the ground.

The move backfired badly with just 2,616 showing up.

That is the second worst attendance in A-League history, the record low being 1,932 for a New Zealand Knights match.

At one stage, a group of a couple of dozen Gold Coast supporters invaded one of the empty stands and protested against Palmer’s policy.

One supporter held a placard calling on Palmer to ask the supporters how to increase attendances.

After a goalless opening half, the Fury took the lead in the 64th minute through captain Robbie Fowler.

David Williams nutmegged a defender wide on the left and cut the ball back inside for Fowler to place a perfect left-foot shot low to the keeper’s right and into the net.

Fowler made it 2-0 from a penalty in the 76th minute after a hand-ball by Steve Pantelidis.

“We knew it would be a tough game,” said Fowler. “I thought tonight we were magnificent.

“The lads at the back were fantastic. It’s as good as I’ve seen them play, to be fair, and I think we fully deserved the three points.

“Shane Smeltz has been on fire this season, but we kept him quiet tonight, which was important for us to do.

“We said at the start of the season we just want to be competitive. I think we’ve proved a few people wrong because we have been competitive.

“Tonight, we showed how good we can be.”

The win put Fury in seventh place, just a point out of the top-six, while Gold Coast remain third.

“It’s not working at the moment, on the field and off the field,” said Gold Coast captain, Jason Culina.

“There’s just not a good mix, and it’s not going well.

“It’s fair to say that things do get talked about in the change-rooms and you can’t avoid that.

“At the end of the day, I thought we played some decent stuff in the first half.

“In the second half, I don’t know what happened. It’s just very disappointing.”

Culina said it was time for the coach to settle on his best eleven and concentrate on that instead of changing the line-up constantly.

“You need to do exactly that and give players a chance,” Culina said. “We’re trying to figure things out.

“It’s not going well, but, you know, we’ll keep working at it.”

Mariners move into fourth place on the A-League ladder

Central Coast Mariners drew 0-0 with Adelaide United before a poor crowd of 5,437 in Canberra tonight.

The draw lifted the Mariners up a place to fourth, leapfrogging Perth Glory on goal-difference.

Adelaide United remain sixth.

It was a low-standard game with only a couple of half-chances falling to each side.

Mariners were reduced to ten men 8 minutes from the end when Crowell was sent off after collecting a second yellow card.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The mouse that roared

Eighth-placed Brisbane Roar drew 1-1 with ninth-placed Newcastle Jets in a tame A-league match at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane this evening.

You could have fired a shotgun in the stadium and not hit anyone as just 7,509 showed up at what is an excellent venue.

Brisbane even lowered ticket prices in an attempt to attract more spectators.

The visitors took the lead in the 32nd minute when Haliti outjumped Franjic and headed home a Bridges right-wing cross.

Three minutes later, a cross by Oar was handled by D’Apuzzo and Brisbane’s Van Dijk equalised from the penalty, beating keeper Kennedy with a low shot to his right.

Oar was always dangerous on the left wing and sent over some tantalising crosses.

Van Dijk could have headed the winner a minute from the break from one such cross, but Kennedy tipped the ball over the bar for a corner.

Brisbane had 61 per cent of the possession but could not make it count.

Craig Moore was Brisbane’s man-of-the-match.

He said there was nothing wrong with his side’s commitment, but the team lacked guile.

Of old photos and times of yore

I went to a photo exhibition at the Moonah Community Centre in Hopkins Street this afternoon.

Adrian Pickin, the former Hobart United president, had told me that there were some old soccer photos included in the exhibition and I wanted a peek.

The exhibition, which is open every week day from 12.30pm to 5pm, is entitled “Appleland” and is well worth a look.

It features photographs salvaged from the Hobart tip and just goes to show that someone’s rubbish can be another person's treasure.

There were eight soccer photos, seven of which were taken at South Hobart in the 1950s and 1960s, I think.

The remaining photo is of the University team arriving at Melbourne’s Essendon Airport on Sunday, 21 May, 1967.

They are shown on the steps of their aircraft and I assume they were on their way to the annual Intervarsity tournament involving university teams from all over Australia.

I think I could recognise Fred Joughin, who later became, and still is, life president of the club.

Now to the photos taken at South Hobart.

There is an action photo showing a goalkeeper at the southern end of the ground and a couple of players. It is from the 1950s, but I don’t know the teams or players.

It is taken from the side of the ground where the netball courts once were and which are now tennis courts.

There is another of two teams being presented to a VIP in the centre of the South Hobart ground, with an old wooden grandstand (not the wooden grandstand that still exists today) in the background.

This grandstand is to the southern end of the current large grandstand and is on what is now just an uneven grassed area where teams often do a preliminary warm-up before going on to the pitch.

Again, I don’t recognise any players or officials, nor do I know the occasion.

The remaining photos are all similar to each other and are taken from the large grandstand.

They are photos of two teams in the centre of the ground being introduced to VIPs before what was obviously a State final of some sort as the teams are Hobart Juventus and Launceston Juventus.

Hobart Juventus are wearing white shirts and black shorts, while the visitors are in their traditional striped shirts.

Youngsters can be seen in the background engaged in a kick-about near the goal at the canteen end of the ground.

I can identify some people in these photos.

Mr George Garlington, a former leading referee and, at the time of the photo, a Hobart Juventus official, is introducing Mr Vic Tuting MBE to the Hobart Juventus team.

Some of the Juventus players are Phil Owen, Tommy Watson, Johnny Genovesi, Dominic Rizzolo and goalkeeper Karl Jaeger.

Hans Heiremann is the referee, while the only Launceston Juventus player I recognise is Hans Streit.

Perhaps there is a reader out there who can date the photos and identify the players.

If you do go and have a look at the exhibition and know the details of the soccer photos, I’d welcome a call or an email.