Who Is Walter Pless?

Walter_Pless

A teacher by profession, but is now in his 38th 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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Taroona became the new leaders of the Division One competition when they beat Northern Suburbs DOSA 2-1 away at the Showgrounds this afternoon.

The result put them two points ahead of previous leaders Metro, who were held to a 1-1 draw by third-placed Beachside in a fiery encounter at Sandown Park last night.

Fourth-placed Nelson Eastern Suburbs had to be content with a 2-2 draw with sixth-ranked Christian United.

Luke Wallace and Joe Vanderslink netted for Nelson, while Matthew Sly netted both goals for Christian.

Beachside began strongly against Metro and only a fine save by Simon Land prevented the hosts from taking an early lead in a match that saw three players sent off and four others cautioned.

Beachside’s Ben Davis, and Metro’s Ricky Orr and Darrin Chaffey, were sent off, while Beachside’s Andrew Douglas and Metro’s Jason Dawes, Wayne Jackson and Kye McQueen were cautioned.

Orr gave Metro the lead with a penalty in the 14th minute after a foul by Davis, but Davis headed Beachside level in the 35th minute.

Davis was fortunate to still be on the pitch at that stage as his behaviour had probably warranted several yellow cards.

Beachside goalkeeper Alex Bigg produced two good saves in the closing minutes to deny Metro a win.

First, he saved bravely at the feet of Aaron Marney, and then he turned another fierce shot over the bar for a fruitless corner.

With this match being the only one on at that time of the day, it is a mystery why FFT could only allocate one official to handle it.

The official had to call on two club persons as his assistants, which is hardly satisfactory for such an important fixture.

There was at least one other referee in attendance as a spectator.

Things got very heated by the end of the match and the referee was even confronted by spectators and players at the end of the match and had to walk unescorted from the field.

The incident where Orr and Davis were sent off threatened to erupt into an all-out brawl and it was only the timely and level-headed actions of officials and some players from both clubs that prevented the situation from getting completely out of hand.

How FFT can expect one referee to handle such a situation is beyond belief, especially with no other games on at that time.

It is no wonder that the referee appeared ashen-faced as he sat behind a small partition - which acts as the referees’ changing room - in the Beachside dressing room after the game.

I must emphasise that no Beachside players did anything to make the referee uncomfortable in that situation after the game, but such a set-up surely cannot be tolerated as referees should not have to share dressing rooms with either team.

The door was locked at half-time as Beachside had their break and, at first, the referee could not even get in to have a breather.

And, one other point - the referee had already handled the reserves game before he officiated in the senior match.

Another interesting point was that the game ended just short of the 44th minute of the second half. Given the send-offs and the mayhem that followed, as well as several substitutions, this seems odd.