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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Karol Wojtyla studied for the priesthood in Krakow, and he went on to become Pope John Paul II. Perhaps that is why miracles sometimes occur in that Polish city.


A miracle occurred there this morning [Australian time] when Australia survived a battering to beat Poland 2-1 in a friendly international.


It was new coach Holger Osieck’s first win in what was only his second match in charge. He now has a win and a draw (0-0 away to Switzerland) to his credit in two outings. That’s not a bad way for any international coach to start his reign.


Poland had 56 per cent of possession and numerous clear-cut chances without being able to score. They even squandered a penalty. And, they played against 10 men for the last 19 minutes after Australian substitute Brett Emerton was sent off when he collected a second yellow card within seconds of his first. The first was for a foul, and the second for dissent, and all involved the one incident.


Poland are 56th in the FIFA rankings and Australia 20th, so perhaps the result should not have come as a surprise to the casual observer of the world game.


Australia were on the back foot for the opening 12 minutes and then scored in the 13th minute with their first meaningful attack. And, what a nicely worked goal it was.


Lucas Neill played the ball out from defence to Carl Valeri, who released full-back Luke Wilkshire down the right. He played the ball into the right-hand side of the box, where Brett Holman beat the Polish keeper with a low drive inside the far left-hand post, the ball taking a slight deflection off a defender as it left his boot.


Poland were level in the 18th minute through Robert Lewandowski, the 22-year-old Borussia Dortmund striker. He got onto the end of a cross from the left by Sebastian Boenisch and managed a first-time touch of the ball with his toe while under pressure from Neill, forcing it beyond Australian goalkeeper Adam Federici and inside the far post for his 7th goal in 25 appearances for Poland.


Federici, who is 30 and plays for English club Reading, was preferred by Osieck ahead of Mark Schwarzer, who was on the bench.


Poland also used their second-string keeper, the 23-year-old Przemyslaw Tyton, in preference to the usual custodian, 30-year-old Artur Boruc, the former Celtic keeper who now plays in Serie A with Fiorentina.


In the 24th minute, Australia regained the lead after Polish captain Michal Zewlakow fouled Richard Garcia inside the box following a splendid build-up and an incisive pass by Brett Holman. Luke Wilkshire despatched the spot-kick straight down the middle while Tyton dived to his right. Zewlakow was booked for his indiscretion.


Holman was substituted immediately, however, as he had sustained a calf injury in the build-up that led to the penalty. It was a huge loss for the visitors as Holman had been looking extremely sharp and had scored the opener and provided the assist for the penalty.


His replacement was Brett Emerton, who was to last for only 41 minutes before being sent off.


Poland were given the opportunity to equalise when Croatian referee Ivan Bebek awarded them a penalty in the 33rd minute after a reckless tackle by John McKain on another Borussia Dortmund player, Jakub Blaszczykowski.


Federici, who was earning only his third cap in this match, dived to his left and beat out Lewandowski’s spot-kick to maintain Australia’s lead.


Zewlakow had a good shot at goal in the 38th minute as Poland continued to dominate possession but, despite taking a slight deflection, Federici managed to get down to it and save.


With Australia down to 10 men in the 71st minute, Poland went all-out for an equaliser and ultimately a winner.


They introduced substitute Ebi Smolarek, who speaks very little Polish because he was brought up in Holland, and he was presented with three glorious chances, all of which he squandered with poor headers.


In the 72nd minute, he missed an easy header from a perfect cross from the left by fullback Sebastian Boenisch, who was born in Germany and received his Polish citizenship only during a break in training a few days before this match. He had previously appeared for Germany at under-21 level.


In the 73rd minute, Lewandowski directed a header straight at Federici when it might have been easier to score.


Two minutes later, Boenisch again found space down the left and sent over an inviting cross, only for Smolarek to again miss with his head.


It was all Poland at this stage. With four minutes remaining, Smolarek missed another header and one began to sense that Australia would hang on.


This they did, despite the four minutes of stoppage time extending almost for an extra minute.


The result is all that matters in one sense, however, and people will read the scoreline as: Poland 1-2 Australia.


Osieck will know he has a lot of work to do in preparation for the Asian Championships in January, while his Polish counterpart has an even bigger task ahead as Poland are joint hosts with the Ukraine of the 2010 European Championships. And, the country is still smarting from their failure to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, when they finished fifth in their 6-team qualifying group. They were in front of only San Marino.




Contrary to a report in the local tabloid on Monday, Brett Pullen is yet to be officially confirmed as coach of Beachside.


Beachside are certainly keen to have him, and everyone is assuming he will take the job, but negotiations are still continuing.


I had an email from Brett Pullen today in which he says that an official announcement has not been made and reports of his appointment are premature.


Pullen has yet to sit down with the Beachside committee, but has had an indication from president John Brierley that his appointment would be favoured.


Pullen is currently preparing a written submission outlining his coaching philosophy and his three-year plan for Beachside should he accept the coaching position.


The three-year plan is about the development of the club from juniors through to seniors.


Pullen said he hoped to make an official announcement by next Monday, which is when he will sit down with John Brierley and discuss matters.


What is certain and official is that Nathan Robinson, who coached Beachside to the title and promotion to the southern Premier League this season, will not be coaching the club next season.


Robinson took South Hobart to the Premier League title in 2002 and also coached University in the top flight before taking over at Beachside.















Division One [Sandown Park, Sunday, 5 September 2010]


_________________


Beachside 3 (B Klasen 5, 66 pen, C Shepherd 89)

Nelson Eastern Suburbs 3 (A Mills 30, A Gaskell 63, T Gordon 69)


HT: 1-1 Att: 40 Ref: C Ware


Beachside: Soszynski - Davis, Robinson, Harvey (Lapolla 68), Atkin - Lowe, Pennicott (Henderson 60), Pullen, Dunne - Klasen, Shepherd (Substitute not used: Reason)


Nelson Eastern Suburbs: Burdon - Stalker, Stockdale, Rush, Ireland - A Mills, Lenck (Endall 60), Gordon (Caulfield 82), Hanley - Gaskell, R Mills (Substitutes not used: French, Fennell)


____________________


The conditions at Sandown Park were atrocious and both goalkeepers, in particular, got into trouble.


Beachside took the lead in the 5th minute direct from a corner by Bernhard Klasen. Nelson keeper Ollie Burdon was injured in trying to stop the ball, but he was able to continue after having his shoulder examined by Beachside’s Pat Dunne, who is a doctor.


Adam Mills equalised on the half-hour after a quick break through the middle by Nelson. Goalkeeper Michael Soszynski was left alone to face Andrew Gaskell. Nathan Robinson managed to get back to lend support to Soszynski, but Gaskell squared the ball for Mills to slot home amid unheeded calls for off-side.


Jaymon Pennicott almost restored Beachside’s lead in the 51st minute, but his header from a Klasen corner came back off the left-hand post.


Disaster struck for Beachside in the 63rd minute when Soszynski received a back-pass from Robinson and tried to play it across the box to the left. The ball stuck in the mud, of course, and a gleeful Gaskell stroked it into an empty net to give Nelson a 2-1 lead.


Beachside levelled in the 66th minute through a penalty converted by Klasen.


Tom Gordon put Nelson ahead once more in the 69th minute with a fiercely-struck free-kick from just outside the box that gave Soszynski no chance.


With victory in sight, Nelson were brought back to earth in the final minute when Brett Pullen put Colin Shepherd away on the left and he scored with a low drive into the far corner of the net to make it 3-3.


_____________________


Beachside coach, Nathan Robinson, said:


“Credit to Nelson. They were the better team on the day. There’s no doubt about that. They played to the conditions far better and they were mobile all over the field.


“We’ve had a dry winter and dry grounds suit our older players and today we saw what it would have been like in a wet winter and it wasn’t very pretty.


“We were fortunate to get a point and we’ve done that a couple of times, got points late in the game.


“There was a good spirit in the team and I couldn’t have asked any more of the players. We were fortunate and full credit to Nelson.”


Nelson Eastern Suburbs coach, Michael Roach, said:


“I thought the conditions were very difficult. It was a difficult game, particularly the way the ball kept holding up was a little bit of a lottery in front of goal often.


“It was 90 minutes of hard work for our players and also for the Beachside players.


“It was probably a fair result in the end, although I thought we had another dubious penalty against us.













State-wide Top-Four Series Semi-Final (KGV Park, Saturday, 4 September 2010)


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South Hobart 1 (A Brennan 87)

Devonport City 0


HT: 0-0 Att: 120 Ref: I Jozeljic


South Hobart: Kruijver - Pennicott, D Brown, Ludford, Scott - Hickey (G Downes 64), Roach, Beecroft, Lo - Brennan (Upton 89), Kanakaris (Wook Bum Heo 56) [Substitute not used: D Cooper]


Devonport City: J Smith - Scott Wilson, Gratton, Simon Wilson, Ashdown - Cochrane, Chilcott, K Douglas (C Douglas 76), K Downes - Douce (Lizotte 51), Howard (D McGinn 84)


________________________


It was one-way traffic for much of the game and South Hobart clearly had the most chances.


But, Devonport City fought courageously and might have snatched a win with a bit of luck. For example, they should have had a penalty when Sam Kruijver brought down Nathanael Cochrane 9 minutes after the break, while they were unlucky not to score later during a goalmouth scrimmage.


And, in the 63rd minute, Keegan Downes played a nice curling ball into the box for Kurt Howard, but the striker was unable to control it and the ball was cleared.


Having said that, South Hobart squandered chance after chance. If they had taken just a few, the game could have been over by half-time.


Devonport keeper Josh Smith was kept busy and a combination of good saves by him, clearances by defenders, and sheer incompetence in front of goal by South Hobart ensured that the game was up for grabs until the closing minutes.


Kostas Kanakaris and Andy Brennan were two of the main offenders. Brennan, in particular, missed one chance from point-blank range.


But, the youngster came to South Hobart’s rescue yet again, as he has done before this season. In the 87th minute, and with extra-time looming, he slotted home substitute Greg Downes’s low cross from the right.


South had brought on a fresh pair of legs when they introduced Downes midway through the second half and his running and passing ultimately provided the breakthrough.


Wook Bum Heo should have taken advantage of another Downes cross in the final minute, but he shot straight at the keeper from close range. That was the story of the game as far as South Hobart were concerned, but their triumph meant they have now gone 32 games without defeat.


Northern Rangers will be mulling that over during the week and they will be given the opportunity to end the run when they meet South Hobart next Saturday at 4pm at KGV Park in the State-wide Top-Four series final.


_________________________


South Hobart coach, Ken Morton, said:


“It was a tough game, but only because we didn’t put our chances away.


“If you have 28 chances and you only score one, then there’s something wrong with our forward play. Some of our decision making in the front third wasn’t the best.


“We’ve had 58 attempts at goal in the past two weeks and we’ve won both games, so for me that’s a good performance.”


Devonport City coach, Tom McGinn, said:


“I think, overall, the better team won the game.


“South Hobart certainly had a lot more chances than us, but we’re a young side and we held in there.


“With two or three minutes to go and to lose a goal, well, that’s life. I thought they deserved it.


“We didn’t have a target man today, and we’re not used to it. For the last ten years we’ve had McKenna up there and he’s a good target man.


“I’m happy enough.”