Who Is 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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A hat-trick by Dimitar Berbatov gave Manchester United a 3-2 win over Liverpool before 75,230 fans at Old Trafford this morning [Australian Eastern Standard Time].

Steven Gerrard netted both Liverpool goals - the first from a penalty, and the second from a free-kick.

Howard Webb, who refereed the World Cup Final this year in controversial fashion, was in charge of this match and controversy again surrounded him.

He refused to give Manchester United a penalty for blatant shirt-pulling by Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, and he also gave Manchester United’s John O’Shea a mere yellow card instead of a red when, as the last defender, he pulled down Fernando Torres, who was on his way to goal.

The antics of Manchester United’s Portuguese winger, Nani, were also worthy of a yellow card. He fell dramatically to the ground and rolled in agony several times after literally being touched with a feather.

Liverpool were completely outplayed in the first half and United keeper Edwin van der Sar had little to do.

Liverpool’s passing was brilliant - but it was all backwards and mainly in their own half and invariably back to their keeper. They looked like a team in decline.

Torres rarely got a touch of the ball, while Gerrard played very deep in midfield.

Torres had an eventful game in the end, however, having a hand in three of the five goals - one of Manchester United’s and two of Liverpool’s.

It was Torres who failed to mark Berbatov at a Ryan Giggs corner in the 42nd minute, allowing the Bulgarian the easiest of headers to put the home side in front.

Nani smashed a shot against a Liverpool post in the 57th minute, while two minutes later, Berbatov scored his second goal of the match and one that will surely be in contention for goal of the season. It was the equal of any goal scored by Pele or Maradona.

Darren Fletcher put Nani away on the right and he cut back inside and sent over a cross with his left-foot. Rooney missed the ball, but it fell to a tightly marked Berbatov, who controlled it on his thigh and flicked it in the air before scoring with a magnificent overhead kick from 15 metres to make it 2-0.

In the 63rd minute, Torres chased a ball down the right of the box and was upended by Jonny Evans. Webb awarded a penalty, which was nonchalantly despatched to van der Sar’s left by Gerrard to put Liverpool back in contention.

In the 70th minute, O’Shea pulled Torres down just inside the D and was fortunate indeed to be given only a yellow card. Gerrard took the free-kick and Fletcher conveniently stepped to his left to open up a gap between himself and team-mate Evans, allowing the ball through and into the net past an unsighted van der Sar. Forming proper defensive walls will be a priority at Manchester United training this week and the plastic dummies will be banished.

Six minutes from the end, Berbatov outjumped Carragher to nod home O’Shea’s deep cross from the right and give Manchester United a 3-2 win, which took them to within a point of leaders Chelsea.

Berbatov’s hat-trick was the first for a Manchester United player in this fixture since 1946, when Stan Pearson performed the feat.

Oh, and what was Berbatov's reward? He was substituted two minutes before the end.

Adelaide United were held to a 1-1 draw away at Suncorp Stadium by Brisbane Roar last night but they still top the A-League standings and are the only unbeaten side in the competition.

Adam Hughes sent a warning to the home side after just 6 minutes when he smashed a shot against the Roar crossbar.

Brisbane hit back and Reinaldo had a shot somewhat luckily turned against the post by Adelaide’s Eugene Galekovic two minutes later, but the keeper didn’t know much about it.

Marcos Flores was again the danger man for Adelaide and he forced a save from Michael Theoklitos with a long-range shot in the 14th minute.

Mathew Leckie is rapidly becoming one of the finest players in the A-League and, with new Socceroos coach Holger Osieck watching from the stands, the youngster did his national selection chances no harm at all by scoring the opener for Adelaide in the 27th minute. He sent a low shot from inside the D through the legs of defender Matt Smith and beat Theoklitos at his left-hand post.

Seven minutes later, Brisbane were level as former Bundesliga player Thomas Roich placed his free-kick from long range beyond an unsighted Galekovic and into the net. Brisbane’s Milan Susak had risen for the header but failed to get a touch, but this may have deceived Galekovic.

Broich had a good chance in the 56th minute following Shane Stefanutto’s left-wing cross, but his technically well-executed volley was straight at Galekovic.

Three minutes later, Sergio van Dijk squandered a good opening from a corner when he headed wide. If that miss was to haunt him, there was worse to come.

Van Dijk, who was eager to do well against his former club, was foiled by Theoklitos in the 71st minute and, when the ball rebounded to Flores, his shot seemed goal-bound until a defender cleared.

Three minutes later, Broich again showed he is a class act when he curled a marvellous attempt just wide of the far right-hand post.

Van Dijk will have sleepless nights after his miss 12 minutes from the end which would have given his side the points. Flores deftly flicked the ball across goal from the left with his weaker right foot to van Dijk, who was unmarked and facing an open goal, but the giant shaven-headed striker somehow managed to scoop the ball over the bar from 2 metres.

To add insult to injury, the visitors had their Brazilian midfielder Cassio sent off with two minutes remaining after he collected a second yellow card.

Melbourne Victory is gradually climbing the A-League ladder after a slow start to the season.

They got their second goalless draw in four days when they drew 0-0 away to North Queensland Fury in Townsville yesterday afternoon.

Carlos Hernandez almost fooled Fury goalkeeper Justin Pasfield in the 2nd minute with a long-range swerving shot, but the keeper woke up in time and was able to catch the ball.

Chris Grossman went close for the Fury in the 12th minute when he just reached Osama Malik’s pass from the right, but he could only pull the ball wide of the target.

Ten minutes after the interval, Fury came close to scoring twice. First, a marvellous strike by Ufuk Talay from the left produced a fine save from Michael Petkovic and, from the resultant corner, taken by Talay, Malik headed centimetres wide.

A Talay corner again spelled trouble for Victory in the 81st minute as David Williams managed to fire in a shot that was headed wide for a corner by Adrian Leijer, with Petkovic scrambling unsuccessfully to cover the initial shot.

Victory squandered a great chance to steal the three points in the final minute when substitute Geoff Kellaway shot wildly from the left, the ball harmlessly clearing the crossbar as the unmarked Tom Pondeljak waited expectantly at the far post.

The Fury are 8th on the ladder.

Grossman and Gareth Edds were cautioned for the Fury, as was Victory’s Brazilian import, Ricardinho, the latter for a bad tackle from behind on Fury captain, Talay.

Women’s State-wide Final (KGV Park, Saturday, 18 September 2010)


Clarence United 2 (M Gillbee 17, M Dixon 21)

Taroona 3 (A Tolman 14, 61, S Cretu 47)

HT: 2-1 Att: 150 Ref: R McAllister

Clarence United: Ven Der Niet; Herbert, Goss, Brighell, Pagano, Undy, Kannegiesser, Ridler, Bolton, M Dixon, Edwards, H Dixon, Gillbee, Roy, Archer, McLeod [Interchange rule applied]

Taroona: Catheral; Ayton, Tarbath, Fyfe, Bremner, Tolman. Parsell, Ormandy-Neale, Cretu, D Raymond, Konings, H Manuela, Prescott, Collet, Wilsdon, Farquhar [Interchange rule applied]


Clarence came out with all guns blazing and a hesitant Taroona defence came close to conceding several times in the first 10 minutes.

But, in the 14th minute, Taroona showed they had weathered the storm by taking the lead with a fine goal. Laura Prescott attacked down the right and cut the ball across the penalty area from the byline, leaving Ashlee Tolman with an easy finish.

This surprise reversal stung Clarence into action and they equalised in the 17th minute after some poor defending by Taroona. Madeline Gillbee’s initial shot was blocked by keeper Savannah Catheral, but instead of clearing, the ball cannoned off a Taroona defender and presented Gillbee with a second chance. She took it, driving the ball into the net with venom.

Clarence realised they had missed too many early chances and they settled down to consolidate their superiority and played some fine attacking football.

This paid off in the 21st minute when the mobile and skilled Marlugu Dixon took advantage of uncertainty in the Taroona rearguard to side-foot home from close range and give Clarence a 2-1 lead.

In the 37th minute, Danielle Kannegiesser rounded two Taroona defenders with ease and got inside the box, but her shot was straight at Catheral.

Taroona fought back and captain Holly Ayton almost grabbed an equaliser when she chased Clarence defender Casey Pagano for a through-ball. Clarence keeper Amelia Van Der Niet managed to block the ball and Pagano cleared it to safety. But, it was a sign of things to come.

Four minutes before half-time, Ayton crossed dangerously from the right and Ven Der Niet could only palm the ball wide to Tolman, whose shot was deflected for a Taroona corner.

Taroona’s second-half revival was evident as early as the 47th minute when they drew level through Sarah Cretu, whose header came off Rachel Ridler’s thigh and flew into the roof of the net.

In the 55th minute, the excellent Prescott won the ball on the right and took it to the byline before setting up Kellie Konings for an easy chance, but the Taroona striker lifted the ball over the bar when facing an open goal.

Tolman should have scored in the 59th minute when Cretu got to a corner and flicked the ball back for her, but she shot wide.

In the 61st minute, Tolman netted her second goal of the game after an incisive attacking foray involving Emma Fyfe and Konings to give Taroona a 3-2 lead.

Taroona were well on top now and Cretu might have done better than shoot straight at the goalkeeper in the 75th minute after the ball ricocheted to her.

Taroona continued their onslaught and Lisa Bremner rattled the Clarence crossbar with a fine effort in the 77th minute. The ball dropped dangerously into the penalty area, but no Taroona attacker could reach it before Clarence cleared.

Cretu was in dangerous and confident form now and, with 8 minutes remaining, sent in a header at goal, but it lacked power.

Clarence still had life, however, and seconds later, Marlugu Dixon showed the Taroona defenders a clean pair of heels down the right, only to shoot straight at Catheral.

Three minutes from the end, Cretu popped up again and drove just high and wide of the target.

In the final minute, it was Taroona on the offensive again and a corner by Bremner caused panic and confusion in the Clarence defence, but the ball bobbled narrowly wide of the far post.


Clarence United coach, Ronnie Bolton, said:

“Overall, it’s a fair result. Taroona deserved it. They finished a lot stronger than we did, which is probably a legacy of last week’s game in extra time, a tough bruising encounter.

“We carried a few injuries into today’s game, but credit to Taroona. I think they fully deserved it.”

Taroona coach, Dirk Gadd, said:

“It was a game of two halves. I think Clarence should have buried us in the first half, to be honest.

“But, a bit of soul searching in the second half, or at half-time, the girls got what they wanted. It was a good result.