Thursday, September 30, 2010

Colin Shepherd's "Believe it or not"

Photos (Top to Bottom): Former Beachside coach, Nathan Robinson; Nathan Robinson and friend [Photos courtesy of Colin Shepherd]

I recently received an email from Beachside insider Colin Shepherd. I'm sure it's meant to be taken with a grain of salt. But, along the lines of the famous "Ripley's believe it or not', I've decided to publish it as "Shepherd's believe it or not". What do you think of this as an explanation for Nathan Robinson's decision to quit as Beachside coach?

"Strong rumours are circulating that Nathan Robinson may be Tasmania’s next Police Commissioner. 500th Game Veteran Colin Shepherd reports Robinson’s application for the top job is well known at Beachside United and explains why he recently relinquished the senior coaching position to Brett Pullen, having guided Beachside into the Southern Premier League after only 2 years in charge.

"The 40-year-old Robinson is a father of three (and expecting a fourth in early 2011) and has been a police officer for over twenty years. He has spent time in the Special Operations Group, Criminal Investigation Branch and currently works within the Police Department’s public prosecution unit. He is a graduate of the Hutchins School and is an active member of the Tasmanian community serving on several Boards and Committees involving social justice and anti-discrimination.

"Robinson was recently awarded a bravery award by the Acting Commissioner for his role in protecting a young couple from a vicious gang attack while he was off duty. 'We see Robbo as a bit like a Tasmania’s Steven Segal,' says Shepherd, 'The whole club wishes him success in his lifelong ambition to lead the country’s finest police force.' "

"While not wanting to make any predictions about Robinson’s chances when pressed, 'All I can say is I’d be very, very nervous if I was Darren Hine', stated Shepherd."

Tassie Under-14s make it two wins and two losses in four outings

Tasmania’s Boys’ Under-14s trounced Northern Territory 5-0 at the Nationals in Coffs Harbour, NSW, today.

Tasmania led 2-0 at the interval before piling on three more goals in the second half.

Jesse Curran netted twice and Alex Bellini, Hugh Undy and Cameron Rogers grabbed a goal apiece.

“Northern Territory have done very well, but we played some good football,” said Tasmania’s coach, Dale Itchins.

“They’ve competed this year and they’ve obviously had some improvement and we thought it would be a danger game for us.

“We’re down to 14 players. Our second keeper and our right-fullback are scratched for the rest of the tournament. That restricts you a little bit.

“The first 15 minutes we played some good football. We started off slowly but then we created three or four really good chances. We probably should have scored three or four, but our finishing was ordinary. We weren’t clinical at all.

“We mis-hit, mis-timed and didn’t connect and I thought, the longer we go, the longer they’re in the game and the more danger.

“And then we scored two great goals to make it 2-0 at half-time. The second half, it just opened up. Having said that, they probably should have scored.

“We then scored three very nice goals and the build-ups were great.”

Tasmania plays Country NSW tomorrow, a side that has won all four of its games.

Tasmania’s Under-15s lost 3-0 to Queensland Metro today.

“The boys performed very well, considering two of the goals we gave away,” said assistant coach, Anthony Alexander.

“The boys probably played one of their best games of the tournament.

“It was a very even game, really, but Queensland just finished their chances more than anything. They played to percentages and maximised them.”

Tasmania play Victoria Country tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sydney FC 1-1 North Queensland Fury: Bottom-of-the-table clash ends in stalemate

Sydney FC have now gone 8 games without a win in the A-League after drawing 1-1 with North Queensland Fury in a torrential downpour at the Sydney Football Stadium tonight.

The home side dominated the first half and led 1-0 at the break, but the Fury refused to sink in the second period, grabbing an equaliser and threatening Sydney on the break. Two second-half substitutions by Fury coach, Frantisek Straka, were inspired.

Eugene Sseppuya and Jack Hingert came on and had an important influence on the match.

Sydney still created some good chances, however, and could have added to their tally.

There was huge debate about a chip from captain Terry McFlynn in the 82nd minute which hit the underside of the Fury bar and bounced down and off the base of the far left-hand post before the ball spun back into play. It looked originally as if the ball had crossed the line, but TV replays seemed to back the assistant referee’s decision not to award the goal. He was level with the goal-line and did not signal a goal because the whole of the ball had not crossed the line.

Sydney’s Mark Bridge, playing his 100th A-League match, almost put his side ahead in the 34th minute but the ball hit the outside of Mark Pasfield’s left-hand post.

Three minutes later, Shannon Cole scored one of the best goals of the season to give Sydney the lead. A poor clearance by Fury’s Eric Akoto went to Bridge, who lobbed the ball wide to the right. Cole controlled the ball on his chest, avoided the attentions of David Williams, and volleyed a superb goal with the outside of his right foot from the edge of the box.

In the 72nd minute, Pasfield had to dive to his right to keep out a header by Alex Brosque following Cole’s right-wing cross.

Four minutes later, it was 1-1. Sseppuya gained possession on the left and played a diagonal ball back towards the D, where Williams’s shot surprised an embarrassed Reddy and flashed into the roof of the net.

The first corner of the game did not come until the 81st minute. Sydney cleared it and attacked, leading to McFlynn’s controversial chip against the woodwork.

With 2 minutes remaining, McFlynn missed a good chance to give Sydney the win. Stephan Keller released Brosque down the left, but his cross was headed tamely over the bar by the Sydney skipper.

The result leaves Sydney FC in last place, 3 points adrift of second-last North Queensland Fury.

The attendance of 6,978 was a record low for Sydney FC at home.

Tasmanians put up good performances but cannot grab a win

Tasmania’s Boys' Under-14s lost 1-0 this afternoon to Capital Football in their third outing at the national talent identification series being played in Coffs Harbour, NSW, this week.

A penalty 10 minutes from the end did the damage.

Tasmania hit the woodwork, but the ball bounced down and back into play without crossing the line.

“It was a good game and very competitive,” said the coach of the Tasmanian Under-14s, Dale Itchins.

“It could have been a draw as we had chances and hit the woodwork.

“It was a good performance and we were happy with that.

“We were stronger in today’s second game than we were in the first, really.

“We excelled. It was a good performance but we just couldn’t put one away to get a decent result.

“But, we were happy with the performance.”

This morning, in their second game of the series, Tasmania lost 5-1 to Queensland Country.

Angus Souter was Tasmania’s marksman.

The Tasmanian Under-15s lost 4-0 to NSW Country this afternoon.

"We conceded two early goals and a third seconds before half-time," said Tasmania's coach, Gary Slicer.

"The first two were very soft goals coming from chronic defensive mistakes.

"The second half was a lot better for us and we played a much better game with a much better structure.

"We also had a couple of injuries and had to make substitutions and restructure the team.

"We only conceded one goal in the second half and had quite a number of chances.

"All in all, it was quite a promising performance in the second half."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mixed results at Nationals in Coffs Harbour

Tasmania’s boys’ under-14 team won its opening match at the national championships in Coffs Harbour today, beating Victoria Country 1-0 through a free-kick by Paul Stevens.

“We were very competitive,” said Tasmania’s coach, Dale Itchins.

“All the country teams are very polished, as are the metropolitan teams.

“We were very good and we made minimal substitutions.

“You’re only allowed three substitutes in 50 minutes. A fourth player misses out and you can substitute your keeper if you want to.

“We made three subs, but over a very staggered time. It’s not interchange so you’re not on and off wasting time.

“In the first 20 minutes, we probably could have been two or three in front as we had some great opportunities.

“We probably lost a bit in the last 7 or 8 minutes. We dropped a bit deeper in that time and we invited them to run at us a little bit, but then we wanted to get our wide guys back out wide rather than in.

“The 4-3-3 system demands that your two wide guys stay wide - start wide and come in, but don’t start inside and go out, and that got a bit shallow.

“The heat was a factor for us, and it was 0-0 at half-time. We didn’t make any changes at half-time, but made a couple later and the changes refreshed us a little bit.

“We got a free-kick probably about 22 yards out and it was a great strike, a great finish.

“They hit the crossbar, so it could have been 2-2 or 3-3 if everyone had taken their opportunities, but we were pleased to get a result.

“We’re not here for the result really at all. But, that’s what people judge you on, unfortunately.

“It’s tough tomorrow. We have two games tomorrow, with an 8.30am kick-off and a 1.15pm against Queensland Country and Capital Football. So, it’ll be two tough games tomorrow.

“They’re all good polished sides. Queensland got beaten 2-0 by Capital Football today.

“But, we’ve got to make changes tomorrow, mainly because you’ve got to play every player a minimum time of 125 minutes out of 250, so you’ve got to rotate people to get time up.

“We’ll change keepers and we might make three or four other changes tomorrow but that disrupts things, but you’ve got to do it. You can’t pick the same eleven.

“But, you’ve got to do it. They’ll come down in the third or fourth game and they’ll challenge you and they’ll deduct points if you don’t get their time up. That disrupts the flow because you can’t pick the same eleven.

“It doesn’t affect us a great deal because we haven’t got a best eleven. We’ve got a good 14 or 15 before we start to get affected.”

The Tasmanian Under-15s lost 1-0 to Queensland Country and 2-1 to Northern Territory.

“It’s been a hard day at the office today,” said Tasmania’s Under-15 team coach, Gary Slicer.

“The boys started off the tournament against Queensland Country this morning in extremely hot conditions and they went really well. They were extremely unlucky and, unfortunately, went down 1-0.

“They backed up this afternoon with a 4.30 kick-off against Northern Territory and we went ahead 1-0 at half-time, but in the second half they got two quick goals and that was the end of that.

“It was a tough game for them. Chris McDonald scored for us in the first half, when we had all the possession and were all over them.

“In the second half we lost a bit of shape and concentration in what were very difficult conditions. It’s been 14 degrees in Hobart for the last few weeks and it was 27 degrees here today.”

The Under-15s play New South Wales Country tomorrow.