Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wellington Phoenix leapfrog Mariners into 7th place

Wellington Phoenix leapfrogged Central Coast Mariners into seventh spot on the A-League ladder with a 2-0 away win at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford this New Year’s Eve.

It was the Mariners’ fifth straight loss in the competition this season.

The crowd of 11,137 was the Mariners' largest of the season but the lowest ever for the traditional New Year's Eve game.

Paul Ifill was guilty of some glaring misses for the visitors, but in the end, the Barbados international proved to be the key player, winning and scoring a penalty and also netting the second goal to take his season’s tally to eight.

Matt Simon was unable to make his chances count for the home side and he was eventually substituted.

Adrian Caceres was a live-wire for Wellington down the flanks and it was his clever back-heel that set up Ifill for the second goal.

Both sides were poor in the final third in terms of passing and shooting and both were too frequently caught off-side.

Wellington went close in the 4th minute when Troy Hearfield had a shot from 20 metres, but goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne produced an excellent save to conceded a fruitless corner.

The Australian under-20 team keeper also saved well from close range against Caceres in the 39th minute.

The Mariners’ first chance came in the 10th minute and it should have been a goal.

Brad Porter crossed from the right and Michael McClinchey met the ball with his head, but the attempt was far too weak and keeper Liam Reddy dealt with it easily.

A minute later, Hearfield sent over a dangerous low cross from the right and Vince Lia missed a great chance when he could only get the faintest of touches and the ball carried harmlessly to the far side of the pitch.

In the 14th minute, Nik Mrdja took the first of three free-kicks he had for the Mariners during the course of the match. It proved to be his most dangerous, but it was deflected for a harmless corner.

Ifill twisted and turned in the 25th minute to get in a strike on goal from just outside the box, but the ball drifted wide of the right-hand post.

Reddy was called into action in the 33rd minute and did very well to block from Mrdja at close range after a long clearance by the Mariners had left the visitors’ central defenders flat-footed.

Two minutes after the resumption, Predrag Bojic fouled Ifill inside the box and the striker slotted home the spot-kick to give Wellington the lead.

Ifill should have scored in the 67th minute, but aimed a poor header high and wide of the target.

He did better 10 minutes from the end when Caceres cut into the box from the right and back-heeled the ball to Ifill, who rifled it home from 15 metres to make it 2-0.

Wellington’s Diego poked the ball wide in the 85th minute when he might have scored, while a minute later, at the other end, McGlinchey’s shot on the turn flew wide.

Porter had a good game defensively for the Mariners, saving almost certain goals on two occasions by heading clear.

The Mariners are in eighth place and five losses in a row must be a huge cause for concern to coach Lawrie McKinna.

Five-a-side and 7-a-side the precursors to local Futsal

Photos (Top to Bottom): Juventus 7-a-side line-up: (Back, L-R) Livio Candon, Bruce Ward, John Broadhouse, Peter Sherman, Carlo Ambrosino; (Front, L-R) Ronnie De Felice, Romeo Fabrizio, Nick Di Giovanni, Bruce Pears; 'Brazil' (Back, L-R) Dominic O'Brien, Colin Pidd, Nick Cook, Brian MacKay, Eddie Stewart (Front, L-R) Peter Crowther, Chris Hargrave, Steve Darby.

The hot weather today reminded me of the 5-a-side and 7-a-side tournaments that used to be held at KGV Park in the early 1970s and during the 1980s.

That was in the days before Futsal.

Can you imagine playing 5-a-side in the heat on the full KGV Park pitch?

That was what happened in the early 1970s during the pre-season.

The organisers must have had rocks in their heads because players were not yet fully fit as most clubs had only just started training for the new campaign and KGV was the largest pitch in the State.

It was often a case of who could last the distance and who could score from range.

Common sense prevailed a decade later when 7-a-side became the norm for an end-of-season tournament and KGV was divided into two pitches, each occupying half of the field.

Players formed their own teams and did not necessarily play for their regular-season clubs.

One of the best sides was called ‘Brazil’, while Juventus also had a talented side, as the above photographs demonstrate.

Much later, the season traditionally ended with a ‘World Cup’ tournament featuring sides such as Australia, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Germany, and England.

These were 11-a-side games and there were some wonderful contests.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A look at the tail end of 1982

Photos (Top to Bottom): Southern Tasmanian squad of the time: Back row (L-R): Eddie Kent, Steve Kannegiesser, Nick Di Martino, John Charlton, Peter Huigsloot, Phil Kannegiesser, Steve Craven, John Broadhouse, John Fletcher, David Crosson, Bob Adams; Front row (L-R): Ibro Cahut, Tim Robins, Ronnie De Felice, Ian Parker, Nick Cook, Perry Forster, Chester Willcock, Chris Hey; Rothmans Gold medal gathering (L-R): Eamonn Kelly, Eugene Mycak, Michael Southworth, Eric Young (ex-Manchester United), Peter Brine (ex-Middlesbrough)

With 2010 fast approaching, I thought a touch of nostalgia for seasons past may be in order.

Here are some line-ups from games in 1982.

Some of these players still attend games today, while others have drifted away or moved interstate and overseas.

Memories of their contribution to the local game through their standard of play live on.

On 28 August 1982, Rapid and Olympia drew 2-2, and here are the line-ups:

Rapid: Steve Craven, John Fletcher, Larry Nunn, David Crosson, Chester Willcock, Harry Stewart, John Charlton, Mick Southworth, Mark Nikolai, Mark Oakes, Dale Blake, (Res: Steve Kannegiesser, Cliff Morgan)

Olympia: Robert Harrison, Peter Vafakos, John Paplos, Peter Linnell, Michael Edwards, Roger Munro, Marco Genaris, Perry Forster, Craig Nichols, Peter Sherman, Ronnie Bolton

Mick Southworth gave Rapid a 1-0 lead at the break, although it was a handball and off-side (things haven’t changed much, have they?), while Perry Forster equalised in the 54th minute after Peter Sherman flicked on a Craig Nichols pass.

Sherman put Olympia ahead in the 74th minute from a dubious penalty, while Southworth netted his second goal of the match five minutes from the end, heading home the loose ball after Robert Harrison could only palm a shot out.

On 5 September 1982, Rapid beat Juventus 3-0 before a crowd of 800.

The squads were:

Juventus: Craig Jones, Harrison, Peter Brine, Alastair Cochrane, Collins, Nick Lapolla, Eric Young, Darren Bacon, Leon Darko, Bruce Ward, Nick Di Martino, Robbie Kent, Frank Genovesi, Steve Maccalini

Rapid: Steve Craven, John Fletcher, John Charlton, David Crosson, Chester Willcock, Steve Kannegiesser, Harry Stewart, Mark Nikolai, Larry Nunn, Michael Southworth, David Smith, Mark Oakes, Dale Blake, Cliff Morgan

This was an eventful match.

Bruce Ward, who cracked a marvellous shot against the post, was sent off in the first half for serious foul play.

David Smith opened the scoring with a neat finish in the 63rd minute after David Crosson’s free-kick, while Dale Blake scored his first goal of the season in the 64th minute to make it 2-0.

John Charlton beat several defenders on his way to scoring Rapid’s third in the 82nd minute, while three minutes later, Smith hit the crossbar from 7 metres when faced with an open goal, having preferred power over accuracy.

Ah, memories!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fury move off foot of A-League ladder with win over reigning champions

North Queensland Fury moved off the foot of the A-League ladder when they beat second-placed Melbourne Victory 1-0 at home before 7,031 fans at Dairy Farmers Stadium in Townsville tonight.

The loss was a blow for the Victory, which could have regained top spot from Sydney FC with a win.

Sydney went top earlier in the evening when they beat Adelaide United 1-0.

The two results dumped Adelaide back to the bottom of the table.

A wonderfully executed goal by Dyron Daal in the 31st minute gave the Fury their win.

Robbie Fowler crossed from the left and Daal chested the ball down, eluding Rodrigo Vargas in the process, and then volleyed a great left-foot shot into the left-hand corner of Mitch Langerak’s net.

The win lifted Fury two places to eighth place on the ladder.

The goal was Daal’s third in a week. He has just signed a new contract with Fury, which will see him play for the club next season.