Monday, May 4, 2020

The day Tasmania almost toppled New South Wales

Photo:  My match report of the game in The Mercury

One of the finest games played by a Tasmanian State team occurred on Sunday, 5 June 1994, at South Hobart.

It was Tasmania versus New South Wales and the home team gave the visitors an almighty fright.

After being 1-1 at half-time, Tasmania led New South Wales 4-1 after 62 minutes and one of the biggest upsets in interstate football was on the cards.

In the 63rd minute, New South Wales coach Rale Rasic, the former Socceroos supremo, made a substitution that turned the game.

Rasic replaced Brad Maloney with Vlado Zoric and he hit a hat-trick as New South Wales ran out 5-4 winners.

I still talk to Rasic about that game and he, in turn, reminisces with Zoric, the player who turned almost certain defeat into victory with less than half an hour to play.

That Tasmanian side, coached by Devonport's Alec MacDonald, had performed well in 1993 in games against Japanese J-League club Nagoya Grampus Eight, Victoria and Heidelberg.

Nagoya Grampus Eight, complete with England star Gary Lineker, had won 3-0 at North Hobart, while Victoria had scraped home 2-1 at South Hobart.

Heidelberg, for whom Tasmanian David Clarkson was playing, won 3-0 at KGV Park.

The Tasmanian and New South Wales line-ups were:

Tasmania:  Bob Smith  -  Frank Genovesi, Wayne Boyd, John 'Snow' Compagne, Adrian Mann  -  Anthony Guilbert, Craig Nichols, Ian Parker, Brett Murtagh  -  Craig Pitt, Colin Shepherd  (Subs:  Peter Schwarz, Michael Lapolla, Matthew Wilson, Andrew Joseph)

NSW:  Mike Gibson  -  Robert Stanton  -  Matthew Bingley, Nick Orlic  -  Dave Barrett, Brad Maloney, John Gibson, Gabriel Mendez, Gary Van Egmond  -  Marshall Soper, Rod Brown  (Subs:  Frank Mikuletic, Peter Tsekenis, George Souros, Vlado Zoric, Ufuk Talay, Michael Reda)

Tasmania showed they meant business from the start and with a mere 10 minutes gone had come close twice as Guilbert fired into the side-netting and  Nichols chipped just wide.

Midway through the first half, Pitt released Shepherd, who was denied when sweeper-keeper Mike Gibson cleared the ball.

On the half-hour, a high ball into the box by Compagne found Guilbert, who was foiled by Gibson, who conceded a corner.

New South Wales took the lead in the 32nd minute when Brown rolled the ball into an empty net after a long run down the right and cut-back by Barrett.

Two minutes later, Tasmania were level when Nichols set up Murtagh, whose deflected shot off Orlic beat keeper Gibson.

NSW hit back as Brown's effort was deflected over the bar by Boyd and Genovesi saved on the line from Van Egmond after a corner.

A long ball out of defence in the 39th minute by Mann put Shepherd through, but he was thwarted by keeper Gibson.

The half ended with Brown going close for NSW after a one-two with Barrett.

Shepherd fired tamely at the keeper just after the resumption, but Tasmania took the lead in 50th minute through a Compagne penalty, awarded when Bingley handled.

Guilbert made it 3-1 for the home side in the 58th minute after Nichols's tantalising cross into the box, while in the 62nd minute, a deflected shot by Murtagh, from Shepherd's pass, gave Tasmania an unbelievable 4-1 lead with less than half an hour to play.

That's when Zoric came on for the visitors.  Brown netted his second with a magnificent 35-metre shot a minute later to make it 4-2, while Zoric scored his first from a Mendez cross in the in the 68th minute to take the score to 4-3.

In the 75th minute, Zoric's deflected shot made it 4-4.

Nichols was desperately unlucky when he scraped the post with a shot in the 82nd minute, but NSW hit back a minute later when Zoric ran onto a through ball to score and give NSW a 5-4 win.

It's unlikely we'll ever see a score-line such as that again in a Tasmanian representative game.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic article Walter, shows how great the players in the state used to be as it was such a higher standard than it is today, that NSW team has so many fantastic players who played at a higher level

Paul Enkelaar said...

Wow, times have certainly changed. You don't hear about through balls to Sheppy anymore - they most definitely have to be to feet! And what is Pitty doing playing up front!?

Oxford said...

I remember the game well Sheppy turned up wearing corduroy pants and jacket with elbow patches and proceeded to play a blinder, so much so that Matthew Bingley got into him about going over to Sydney United with him.
And Pitty up front? From memory during state trials McDonald was telling Dags that he would be playing fullback to which Richard (as one of the leading marksmen year in year out) quite rightly couldn't fathom and may have done a walk out?

Anonymous said...

Shepherd was a genuine star of Tasmanian soccer.

If we were governed better we would have a Tasmanian soccer hall of fame. Shepherd would sit easily with the states greatest players.

Reminiscing over your recent articles makes me feel the present standard of the local game and administration is well behind what could be achieved.