Friday, December 31, 2010

Central Coast Mariners 1-2 Melbourne Victory: Mariners lose at home for first time in 4 games

Photos: Mariners coach Graham Arnold was disappointed at the manner of the loss; Adrian Leijer scored an own-goal; Victory coach Ernie Merrick will have a great New Year; Mariners Alex Wilkinson and Patricio Perez were downcast [PlessPix]

Central Coast Mariners 1-2 Melbourne Victory


Melbourne Victory scored twice in three minutes in the last five minutes to beat a 10-man Central Coast Mariners side 2-1 away at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford this evening.

The Mariners had taken the lead in the 48th minute through an own-goal by Adrian Leijer, but goals by Diogo Ferreira in the 85th minute and Grant Brebner in the 87th gave the visitors an important win.

The Mariners had been reduced to 10 men in the 53rd minute when Adam Kwasnik was shown a second yellow card for dissent.

Victory were under pressure in the first half and only two fine saves by goalkeeper Michael Petkovic kept the match goalless.

Three minutes after the break, fullback Joshua Rose attacked down the left and beat substitute Ferreira before knocking a curling ball in towards the near post where Leijer, under pressure from Kwasnik, turned the ball into his own net.

Kevin Muscat was lucky not to concede a penalty when he missed the ball in a lunging tackle and brought down an opponent, while it was his tackle on Kwasnik that led to the latter complaining and being dismissed.

Five minutes from the end, Victory drew level following Ricardinho’s cross from the right. Matt Ryan blocked Evan Berger’s initial shot from close range and the ball rebounded to Brebner, who laid it back into the path of Ferreira and he smashed it into the roof of the net.

In the 87th minute, Tom Pondeljak’s over-hit cross from the right was kept in play near the corner flag by Carlos Hernandez, who played the ball inside to Ferreira. He shot from 20 metres and Ryan fumbled the ball and allowed it to slip between his legs. He just got his hands on the ball as Brebner rushed in and forced it into the net for thw winner.

Ryan had the fingers of both hands on the ball, but one could argue he did not have a firm grip or control of the ball when Brebner kicked it. That’s how referee Ben Williams saw it, and he allowed the goal.

The win lifted Melbourne Victory to fourth place on the A-League ladder, a point adrift of third-placed Mariners.


Central Coast Mariners: Ryan - Sainsbury (Doig 73), Wilkinson, Zwaanswijk, Rose - Bozanic, Hutchinson (Amini 89), Perez (McBreen 63), McGlinchey - Kwasnik, Rose (Sub not used: Henderson)

Booked: Kwasnik

Sent off: Kwasnik

Goals: Leijer 48 og

Melbourne Victory: Petkovic - Leijer, Muscat, Vargas - Pondeljak, Celeski (Ricardinho 70), Angulo (Berger 77), Kruse - Hernandez, Dugandzic (Ferreira 46) (Sub not used: Mattei)

Booked: Petkovic

Goals: Ferriera 85, Brebner 87

Att: 12,409

Ref: B Williams

George Town United's past, and a few snippets from the present

Photo: George Town United circa 1984 [From the Ralph Dymond collection]

A recent flick through my photographic files uncovered the above photo of the George Town United side of 1984.

George Town United won the Northern top-flight title that season, their first since 1970.

The photo was taken at George Town before the State premiership match against southern champions Juventus Pioneeer, which was contested over two legs.

Juventus won 2-0 to win the State title 4-0 on aggregate.

This was a fine era for George Town United, who had won the Cadbury Trophy a couple of seasons earlier.

New Zealander Peter Davidson is second from the left in the back row, while Liam Monagle is second from the right in the back row and Peter Sawdon is to his left.

Gary Pennicott, father of South Hobart’s Jim Pennicott, is second from the left in the front row, while leading scorer Andy Scheibl is fourth from the left in the front row.

That was quite a team and its demise within a few years was a huge set-back for Tasmanian football.


South Hobart utility player David Cooper is joining Kingborough Lions United, where his brother, Phil, is a coach.

Green Gully’s Tasmanian striker Mathew Sanders is home for Christmas and has trained with his former club Glenorchy Knights.

Sanders is looking extremely fit and is keeping up his fitness work while back home.

Apparently, his Melbourne club fines players $100 for every kilogram they are over weight.

Darren Frost has been re-elected president of New Town Eagles after the club's AGM.


Some famous names from the past have passed away in Europe this week.

Ralph Coates, one of Tottenham Hotspur’s greats of the late 1960s and early 1970s died aged 64.

Coates also played for Burnley and Leyton Orient and won four England caps.

He is best known for his winning goal in Tottenham’s 1973 League Cup Final victory over Norwich City, and he was also a member of the Spurs team that won the Uefa Cup the year before.

Two former Liverpool players also passed away this week.

Avi Cohen, the Israeli whose goal earned Bob Paisley’s Liverpool the 1980 league championship, died from head injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident on 20 December. He was 54 years old.

Cohen also played for Glasgow Rangers.

His son, Tamir, plays in midfield for Bolton Wanderers.

Bill Jones, another former Liverpool player, passed away aged 89.

A moment of respect for both former players was held before Liverpool’s game on Wednesday night at Anfield against Wolverhampton Wanderers, a game that Liverpool lost 1-0.


English Premier League results from Wednesday night:

Liverpool 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wigan Athletic 2-2 Arsenal

Chelsea 1-0 Bolton Wanderers

International friendly

South Korea 1-0 Syria

Thursday, December 30, 2010

An interview with Olympia Warriors' coach Chris Hey

Photos (Top to Bottom): Chris Hey, the Olympia warriors coach; Nektar Vavoulas, seen here on the left, in action against New Town Eagles' Alex Gordon, won't be available for the game against South Melbourne Hellas; Olympia's Adam Hedge (with the ball) is heading overseas until March; Goalkeeper Dmitri Nester saving a penalty...he has been training; Kosta Grillas has a long-term injury; The club room at Olympia's new ground and one penalty area; Looking down the length of the artificial pitch; A view of the flank next to the club room; Looking at one wing of the ground; One touch-line area; A corner quadrant and one flank of the ground; The touchline next to the club room [PlessPix]

Olympia Warriors are currently training three days a week - Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays - in preparation for the 2011 season and the forthcoming visit of South Melbourne Hellas.

“Pre-season training is reasonable,” said Olympia coach, Chris Hey.

“It’s a bit up and down in terms of attendances, at times, I suppose.

“We’re certainly ahead of where we were at this time last year.

Hey said many players in Hobart were looking around at this time of the year and training with a number of clubs and Olympia had had a few new faces.

“There’s a lot of players in Hobart looking around,” said Hey.

“I’ve generally focused on the senior squad and the younger guys who are our future.

“Our reserves and under-19s haven’t really started yet.

“We’ve had up to 25 or 28 players at training at one time, and we’ve had about 36 players all up for training, and that includes players from other clubs.

“At this time of the year, people are just looking around.

“If they come along, we’re happy for them to come along without any commitment or without signing anything.”

Olympia’s new artificial surface is not yet complete and so training has been conducted at Warrane Primary School.

“We were hoping our new ground would be ready for training in the New Year, but I don’t think it’ll be ready until about 20 January,” said Hey.

“I’ve never experienced playing on such an artificial surface.

“I’ve been told by players who have played on such surfaces that it is pretty hard on the legs, so I think, throughout the course of the year, we’ve got to be careful in regard to how much training we do on that pitch in comparison to on grass pitches.

“We’ll train on grass as well and the club is looking at developing the area on the other side of the pitch.

“I don’t want the players training on that surface every single training session given that every second week we’ll be playing on grass.

“It’s uncertain what the outcome over the long term will be, but we’ll be monitoring things closely.

“We’re going to have to do that because it’s something new to the State.

“We’re lucky that we’ve got a good physiotherapist with our club and it’s just something we’re going to have to monitor.”

Hey said he had learned things after the experience of last season.

“Last year was all about changing the culture at the club,” he said.

“Looking at training so far this year, and we’ve started a lot earlier, I think we’ve gone a long way to changing that culture.

“Overall, that leads to better fitness, better attitudes of players and, hopefully, better motivation as a group to move forward.

“Towards the end of last year, the players actually did believe that we could compete with others.

“I certainly get the feeling from the player group training at this particular time that we certainly can compete and that this is going to be a good year.

“I think the biggest issue with us may be depth, given injuries and such things.

“It’s hard to predict at this time of the year what you’re going to end up with for the first game of the season.”

Hey confirmed that goalkeeper Dmitri Nester, who had been expected to retire, was training, as was goalkeeper Justin Farrugia.

But, Adam Hedge and captain Hugh Richardson are heading overseas. Hedge would return in March, but Richardson will be away for 18 months.

Kosta Grillas and Fletcher Tracy have long-term injuries, while Nektar Vavoulas will be on the Gold Coast at the time of the game against South Melbourne Hellas in mid-January.

Hey is a little apprehensive about the South Melbourne game.

“There’s no such thing as a practice game,” he said.

“I’m a little uncertain at this stage as to how strong we’re going to be for the game as we do have a couple of long-term injuries with Kosta Grillas and Fletcher Tracy while Nektar Vavoulas will be on the Gold Coast.

“I’m a little concerned as to what the strength of our squad will be, but I think it’s important for us in January to focus on getting as many games in January as we possibly can, and it’ll be another game.

“We would like to give them a good show and try and encourage good soccer and I will be putting out as strong a team as I possibly can, given the resources I have at the time.

“I don’t believe we should be going into the game, given the efforts South Melbourne are making, without giving them a good show.”

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Adelaide United 2-0 Sydney FC: Blues are down and out

Adelaide United 2-0 Sydney FC


Second-placed Adelaide United beat bottom-side Sydney FC 2-0 at the Adelaide Oval tonight to move to within 8 points of A-League leaders Brisbane Roar.

Adelaide meet Roar at Hindmarsh Stadium on 2 January in a top-of-the-table clash.

Reigning champions Sydney remain last, a point adrift of North Queensland Fury and are now almost certainly out of contention for a place in the finals, being 9 points out of the top-six.

The win broke Adelaide’s losing streak of three games on the trot, while Sydney have now lost five games in a row and have not scored in 474 minutes.

Sergio Van Dijk became the league’s leading marksman with 11 goals when he opened Adelaide’s account in the 35th minute. Marcos Flores crossed from the right and Stefan Keller could only help the ball on with his raised, outstretched leg to Van Dijk on the left of the box. The Dutchman controlled the ball with his chest before volleying across keeper Liam Reddy and inside the far post.

Keller was unlucky for Sydney in the 42nd minute after a corner, his shot on the turn clipping the top of Mark Birighitti’s crossbar.

It was 2-0 in the 58th minute. Paul Reid released Cassio down the left and his attempted cross looped off Hayden Foxe and over Reddy and into the net.

Flores, Reid and Joe Keenan had other chances for Adelaide, while Sydney’s only goal attempts came from Keller, Shannon Cole and Byun Sung-Kwan, the latter’s shot being fumbled by Birighitti, who recovered just in time to snatch the ball at the second attempt.

Birighitti was in goal in place of the injured Eugene Galekovic.

Nicky Carle made a rare start for Sydney but was largely ineffective. He displayed some of his usual party-pieces comprised of back-heelers and flicks, but in a game that Sydney had to win, these were luxury trimmings that did nothing to enhance the team’s chances of winning. They got the ball to team-mates, but that’s all.

Carle did produce a beautiful pass in the first half with a delicate chip, but Dimitri Petratos was dispossessed by the onrushing Birighitti before he could do any damage.

Sydney will have to show a huge reversal of form if they are to do well in the forthcoming Asian Champions League.

The crowd of 16,429 was satisfactory, but way down on Adelaide's two previous appearances at Adelaide oval, which drew 26,000 and 23,000 spectators.

The cricket pitch in the middle presented no problems, and if this venue was approved for an A-League match, there should be no problems with Bellerive Oval in the future, even with a cricket pitch.


Adelaide United: Birighitti - Watson, Boogaard, Fyfe, Cassio - Hughes (Barbiero 90+2), Flores, Reid - Keenan, Van Dijk (Cornthwaite 88), Ramsay (Pantelis 77) (Sub not used: Galekovic)

Booked: Ramsay

Goals: Van Dijk 35, Foxe 58 og

Sydney FC: Reddy - Cole, Keller, Foxe (Ryall 83), Sung-Hwan - Moriyasu, McFlynn, Carle (Cazarine 60), Jamieson (Musialik 69) - Petratos, Bridge (Sub not used: Necevski)

Att: 16,429

Ref: G Parsons