Who Is Walter Pless?

Walter_Pless

A teacher by profession, but is now in his 37th year as a football writer. Has written for "Soccer Action" (Melbourne), "Australian Soccer Weekly" (Sydney) and "World Soccer" (London), as well as for several Tasmanian newspapers. Currently contributing to "Goal!Weekly" in Melbourne and the Australian magazine "Soccer International". Played for Croatia-Glenorchy, Caledonians, Metro, Rapid and University in Tasmania, as well as in the United States of America. Coached University, Metro and Croatia-Glenorchy.

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Photo:  Rangers' Todd Hingston gets a pass away against Devonport [Photo by Brendan Lichtendonk]

Third-placed Northern Rangers blew the Forestry Tasmania Northern Premier League title race wide open after they beat leaders Devonport City 3-2 at home at the NTCA Ground on Saturday.

The win dropped Devonport City to third on 36 points, while Northern Rangers are now second and level on 37 points with new leaders Prospect Knights, who scored a comfortable 4-0 win over Launceston City at Prospect Park.



Something is seriously wrong in the local Division One kingdom.


Northern Suburbs DOSA had the unfortunate distinction of setting a new record for men’s football in Tasmania on Saturday.


The club’s reserves lost 31-0 to Beachside, with Adam Direen netting ten of Beachside’s goals.


The previous record was established in 1993, according to local soccer statistician, Keith Roberts, when in a Division 4 game, New Norfolk beat University Tigers 24-1.


The biggest scores at senior level occurred in the north in 1972 when Launceston Croatia lost 19-0 twice - first to George Town and then to Ulverstone.


The biggest score in the south in the top flight occurred in 1952, when Caledonians beat ANM 17-0, and in 1959, when South Hobart beat Kingston 17-0.


Saturday’s results also featured a 16-0 reserves win for Taroona over Christian United.


These results should be investigated by Football Federation Tasmania because there is obviously something drastically wrong.


The Division One competition feeds the Premier League in terms of promotion for the champion side, but there can be little depth with scores such as these.


* * * * *


Clarence United are, quite rightly, fuming after the late cancellation of their game against Northern Rangers on Saturday in the state-wide top-four finals series.


With the team bus warming up and the players ready to depart for Launceston, the club was informed mid-morning that the game had been postponed because the ground was unplayable.


Clarence were then asked to front up the next day to play the game in Ulverstone, but declined because of the short notice and the unavailability of some players.


It looks as if the game will now be played in Launceston next Saturday, throwing the finals series back by a week.


The Hobart Olympic women’s team, which was due to play Launceston City in Launceston, reached Campbell Town before being informed their game had been postponed.


* * * * *


South Hobart, coached by Jed Donoghue, added the Premier League Reserves title to their silverware this season, despite going down to Glenorchy Knights 3-0 on Sunday at South Hobart in their final league match.


South’s seniors, of course, won the Premier League title and so that is the second year in a row that the club has won both the senior and reserve titles.


* * * * *


I sometimes listen live to “Football Fever”, an excellent radio program about Australian football, which is broadcast on Sydney radio station 2KY on Sunday evenings from 9pm to 11pm.


It is hosted by Paul Williams and Jason Lovelock.


Last Sunday, they interviewed Bonita Mersiades, Football Federation Australia’s Head of Corporate and Public Affairs.


During the interview, Mersiades was asked about a Tasmanian A-League bid.


She said that no bid had yet been received from Tasmania and that if one were to be received in the future it might be considered if there was an expansion of the A-League beyond 12 teams.


* * * * *


Michael Driessen made an appearance for University's senior Premier League side some weeks ago in the postponed match against Clarence United on a Thursday evening at Wentworth Park.


The veteran had not played senior football for some seasons.


Michael told me he almost scored and that reminded me of his days playing for University.


Above is a photograph of Michael, taken by Ralph Dymond, showing him almost scoring for University against Croatia-Glenorchy back in about 1984.


The goalkeeper making the save is none other than John Michniewski, who had come to Tasmania after playing professionally in the US.


A professional from Poland initially, Michniewski came to Tasmania to join New Town Eagles, but after they were relegated, he joined Croatia.






South Hobart 2-0 Riverside Olympic

_________________________________________________


It took South Hobart a long time to wear down Riverside Olympic, but they were always the favourites to come out on top.


South almost took the lead after five minutes when Kostas Kanakaris spotted Riverside keeper Joseph Simmons off his line and attempted an audacious chip.


Simmons dived up and backwards and managed to tip the ball over the bar for a corner.


In the 24th minute, Julius Ross put Ricki Eaves in, but his shot was blocked on the line by Jonathon O’Neill.


On the half-hour, Kanakaris mesmerised the Riverside defence and then fed Eaves, but he fired over the bar.


Riverside’s only chance came seconds later when Scott Hanson cut the ball back, but no one was up to take advantage.


South Hobart then earned a corner and Hugh Ludford flicked the ball in to Eaves whose chip found Kanakaris, but the striker’s header flew over the bar.


The first half ended with Bart Beecroft controlling the ball and teeing up a strike, but the attempt flew wide.


Hanson was then lucky to escape punishment when he committed a bad foul on Liam Scott, but Mr Phillips did not even pull out a yellow card.


The breakthrough came in the 72nd minute when substitute Seth Otte crossed from the left and Eaves controlled the ball brilliantly, spun around and scored with a marvellous volley from the edge of the box.


Six minutes later, it was game over as Eaves fed Kanakaris and he raced through to fire past Simmons and make it 2-0.


Will Guy went close for Riverside in the 79th minute when he smashed a great shot against the South Hobart crossbar, while Mark Moncur did well to save seconds later as Riverside found a new lease of life.


With four minutes remaining, Ludford saved South Hobart when he glanced a header by Hanson wide.


The match ended with Shae Hickey shooting just over the Riverside bar when he should probably have worked the keeper.


______________________________________________________________


· South Hobart coach, Ken Morton, said:


“It was a matter of time, but it gets frustrating. A bit like the Kingborough game.


“If we don’t put away the chances early, it’s backs to the wall a little bit.


“But, obviously, football-wise, we dominated the game.


“Our passing was good until we hit the final third and then we wanted that extra touch or take on the extra man.


“I thought, in the end, a fair result.”


· Riverside Olympic coach, Troy Scott, said:


“I thought we battled well for the full 90.


“Their first goal by Ricki [Eaves] was unstoppable, I’d say. A class strike.


“Sometimes we score them, sometimes they score them.


“Credit to them. They’re a good outfit.


“I thought the game was a bit scrappy. Conditions didn’t really suit either team. They’re both ball-playing teams.


“They’ll probably win it, I’d say.”


____________________________________________________


South Hobart: Moncur - Pennicott, Ludford, Heerey, Scott - D Brown (Di Falco 82) - Ross (Otte 60), Beecroft, Hickey, Eaves - Kanakaris (Substitutes not used: Kruijver, Clarke)


Booked: Scott 91


Goals: Eaves 72, Kanakaris 78


Riverside Olympic: Simmons - O’Neill (Jackson 77), Hanson, McCarragher (Gulbrandson 86), R Hughes - Olner, S Hughes (Penfold 82), Mitchell, Guy - Campbell, Taylor


Booked: Taylor 92


Att: 120


Ref: C Phillips

Tilford Zebras 4-2 Prospect Knights

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KGV Park had surface water for the first time in a while, which made things a little slippery, but it is still the best football surface in the south.


Tilford Zebras had numerous chances in this game, but managed only four goals.


They could easily have doubled their tally.


Prospect Knights also had enough chances to make a game of it, but they failed to convert and this took the pressure off the home side.


Zebras were without central defender Ryan Smith, which meant a recall for Michael Connolly.


Midfielder Kurt Engels was also an absentee, which gave a start to Matt Hall.


Tommy Fotak was also back at the heart of the defence.


Dwayne Walsh missed two good chances in the opening minutes, first when he shot wide, and then when his effort produced a fine save by Innis Gallagher in the Knights goal.


Imagine Zebras’ shock, then, when the visitors took the lead in the 9th minute, following a corner and a handball offence which resulted in a penalty, converted comfortably by Nathan Balym.


Zebras regained their composure immediately, however, and right-fullback Brayden Pace equalised within a minute when he pushed forward and ran diagonally across the field before planting a left-footed shot from just outside the left of the box into the top left-hand corner of the net.


Walsh threw away a gilt-edged chance in the 13th minute when he mis-kicked in front of goal.


Paul Cairns shot tamely at Gallagher on the half-hour as the Zebras continued their toil in search of a goal to give them the lead that their possession probably deserved.


On the stroke of half-time, Walsh got on to the end of a through-ball into the box, but, as Gallagher came off his line, Walsh’s attempted flick came off the keeper and the chance was gone.


Seven minutes into the second half, Knights striker Chris Pickering missed a glorious opening when he fired wide from the left of the box.


It was the sort of missed chance that Knights would regret as the game wore on.


Within five minutes, Zebras were in front as Walsh sped into the area from the left and finished with a low shot that flew in off the left-hand post.


Ricky Self forced an excellent save from Gallagher on the hour, but Knights hit back in the 63rd minute when the ball was crossed from the left to Sean Harris, whose shot at goal took a deflection and rebounded harmlessly wide.


Five minutes later, Welch squared the ball to Cairns, but his shot flew straight at the keeper.


In the 74th minute, Hall made it 3-1 from Walsh’s cross from the right and the Knights’ chances appeared to have evaporated.


But, within four minutes, they were back in the hunt as Pickering’s cross from the byline on the left flew low past keeper Troy Kaden at the near post and carried to Harris, unmarked at the far post. He was untroubled in scoring to make it 3-2.


Jayden Welch missed a sitter in the 82nd minute following Hall’s right-wing cross, but he atoned four minutes later when he set up Walsh for the Zebras’ fourth to make the game safe.


Ben Crosswell, who had a very quiet game, was substituted by Adam Young with five minutes remaining.


The match ended with an incredible double miss by the Zebras.


Young crossed from the left and Walsh missed the ball completely. When it fell for substitute Fabian Lapolla, he mis-kicked from close range and the ball flew wide of the goal.


_____________________________________________________

· Tilford Zebras coach, Nick Lapolla, said:


“It was a typical winter’s game, that one.


“Very sloppy, but I think we had pretty much control of the game.


“We had a lot of chances which, in these conditions, you’ve got to take.


“It only takes one goal and you can go down.


“But, we slogged it out well and we’ll look to the second round now.”


· Prospect Knights coach, Dane Hudson, said:


“We had our opportunities but I think they were probably a little more polished than us.


“They got a lot more completions than we did.


“I thought, overall, it was a pretty even game and any side could have won it, and they did.


“Congratulations to them and all the best for the rest of the finals competition for them.”


___________________________________________________________


Tilford Zebras: Kaden - Pace, Telega, Fotak, Connolly - Hall (F Lapolla 87), Cairns, Self, Welch - Walsh, Crosswell (Young 85) (Substitute not used: Mainella)


Booked: Crosswell 69, Self 87


Goals: Pace 10, Walsh 57, Hall 74, Walsh 86


Prospect Knights: Gallagher - Firth, Young, Nutting (A Balym 77), N Balym - Hudson, Atherton, Baker, Harris, Kelly - Pickering (Substitutes not used: Gartrell, Maher)


Goals: N Balym 9 pen, Harris 78


Att: 100 (KGV Park, Top-Four Finals Series)


Ref: K Barker