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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Daniel Georgievski

Photo:  Melbourne Victory's Daniel Georgievski (right) shields the ball from Sydney FC's Sebastian Ryall [PlessPix]

(A-League Pre-season Friendly, North Hobart Oval, Sunday, 28 September 2014)

Melbourne Victory 1 (Fahid Ben Khalfallah 90)

Sydney FC 1 (Marc Janko 21)

HT: 0-1   Att: 6,920   Ref: S Evans

Melbourne Victory: Coe - Geria, Delpierre, Leijer, Georgievski - Milligan, Valeri, Finkler - Thompson, Berisha, Pain (Subs: Broxham, Barbarouses, Nabbout, Ben Khalfallah, Thomas, Makarounas)

Sydney FC: Necevski - Ryall, Calver, Jurman, Gersbach - Burgess, Antonis, Dimitrijevic, Carle - Smeltz, Janko (Subs: Triantis, Janjetovic, Timotheou, Antoniou, Muata-Marlow)

A Leijer and Carle

Photo:  Melbourne Victory's Adrian Leijer slides in to clear from Sydney FC's Nick Carle [PlessPix]

A last-minute equaliser gave Melbourne Victory a 1-1 draw with Sydney FC in this pre-season A-League friendly at North Hobart Oval on Sunday.

Both defences reigned supreme for most of the match, with Sydney’s Matthew Jurman and Aaron Calver, and Victory’s Adrian Leijer and Matthieu Delpierre, displaying cool heads, skill and perfect positioning. It was ironic, therefore, that errors by Leijer and Jurman ultimately led to the goals.

Both teams tried to keep possession at all costs and persisted in passing the ball square from one side to the other at the back as they probed for openings, which rarely came. The midfield battle was tight, but there was little penetration into the attacking third. This stultifying scenario would have done little to win new fans to the game.

M Janko right

Photo:  Marc Janko (right) is thwarted by Victory's Matthieu Delpierre [PlessPix]

Austrian captain Marc Janko gave Sydney FC the lead in the 21st minute, firing home from close range after a splendid build-up by Sydney through midfield and a final low cross from the left by Alex Gersbach, who had been put away by Nick Carle. Adrian Leijer made a hash of dealing with the cross and Janko finished clinically.

Victory made several changes at half-time and during the second half to give all players, except the reserve keeper, who had played in the curtain-raiser, a run.

They should have equalised in the 63rd minute when the pacy Kosta Barbarousas broke free down the right and crossed low to Berisha, but the striker had his close-range shot brilliantly blocked by Ivan Necevski.

In the last minute, Victory did manage an equaliser when Matthew Jurman slipped and allowed substitute Fahid Ben Khalfallah to break through and round the keeper before slotting home.

Victory coach Kevin Muscat was honest in his post-match appraisal, admitting that it had been a disappointing spectacle for the fans, while Sydney coach Graham Arnold emphasised the fact that his side were without eight regular starters after they pulled up sore from their FFA Cup game on an artificial pitch the previous week.

B Berisha booked

Photo:  Victory's Besart Berisha is shown the yellow card after fouling Sydney's terry Antonis [PlessPix]

Melbourne Victory coach, Kevin Muscat, said:

“I was just a little bit disappointed. Performances were relatively flat considering what we were expecting. I take full responsibility and the onus for playing good football and coming across here it’s a shame we didn’t put on a better spectacle for the fans that turned out. It was a wonderful turnout and it’s unfortunate we didn’t put on a better performance.

“I take full responsibility for trying to put on a spectacle and I don’t think that was the case today, from both teams. It’s not my responsibility for what they’re trying to do.

“We tried to play an exciting brand of football, but we didn’t do that today. We fell very well short. In terms of the way we pressed, yes, it was disappointing, without doubt, especially in the first half. Structurally, without the ball, it was nowhere near good enough. I felt we were a yard off the pace for whatever reason. Not picking up good positions where we could threaten, and then we gifted them a goal.

“After that, second half, we made a lot of changes and credit to the boys who came on. We put them under a lot of pressure second half. I thought we had two or three really good chances.

“It became an arm wrestle and, unfortunately, the game fell into a lull where it wasn’t great football. It certainly wasn’t what I want from my football team. It was hard to break down the two banks of four, but it was down to us to find solutions. All disappointing, but it was another learning experience for us.”

B Berisha and Carle

Photo:  Sydney FC's Nick Carle (right) takes on Melbourne Victory's Besart Berisha [PlessPix]

Sydney FC coach, Graham Arnold, said:

“I thought it was a fantastic effort from our boys. We left eight of our starting players back in Sydney. Today showed me we’ve got a lot of good depth and for 80 minutes we weren’t in too much trouble at all. The wind made it a little bit more difficult but, overall, especially when they put out their best team in the first half, I thought we played exceptionally.

“What I want is competition for places and that’s building because some of the young boys are coming through very well. Youngsters coming through like that create depth.

“Overall, it’s a friendly game, it’s pre-season, our last hit-out. We’ve had a very good pre-season, no injuries. As I said, we’ve got eight fit players at home ready to join us again on Monday.

“I don’t look at the result. I look at performance and the progression from when I first arrived at the club to now and the progression has been substantial.”

A Leijer and Smeltz header

Photo:  Victory's Adrian Leijer and Sydney's Shame Smeltz vie for a header against a backdrop of fans in the main stand at North Hobart Oval [PlessPix]

Statistics

Shots

Melbourne Victory 10

Sydney FC 6

Shots on target

Melbourne Victory 8

Sydney FC 3

Corners

Melbourne Victory 2

Sydney FC 8

Fouls

Melbourne Victory 19

Sydney FC 15

Off-sides

Melbourne Victory 1

Sydney FC 4

Yellow Cards

Melbourne Victory 4 (Georgievski 24, Berisha 44, Geria 81, Leijer 92)

Sydney FC 2 (Ryall 24, Carle 51)

J Geria tackle on Carle

Photo:  Victory's Jason Geria tackles Sydney's Nick Carle [PlessPix]

Comments   

0 #17 Mike McKenna 2014-10-02 10:15
Quoting Anonymous:
Mike, I reckon any future A-League pre-season friendly should be a one-game affair at KGV Park. That way, the venue may be packed. And, Sydney FC played Sydney United in the FFA Cup on an artificial pitch so the excuse always trotted out that A-League sides won't play on an artificial pitch is misleading. What do you think?


Tend to agree. If you can't use the home of football for prize matches then it really isn't the home of football.

Though in saying that if I was a coach only weeks before the competition was starting I would want to play on artifical turf.

It's no secret that it takes longer to recover on artifical if you aren't used to it
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+1 #16 Anonymous 2014-10-02 06:21
Mike, I reckon any future A-League pre-season friendly should be a one-game affair at KGV Park. That way, the venue may be packed. And, Sydney FC played Sydney United in the FFA Cup on an artificial pitch so the excuse always trotted out that A-League sides won't play on an artificial pitch is misleading. What do you think?
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+6 #15 Mike McKenna 2014-10-02 06:12
The idiots amongst the football community seem to multiply when they get behind a keyboard.

So everytime you go see a movie do you ask for your money back? Or have a bad meal?

What did you expect? these guys came down here for a hit out.

In all honesty the figures are inflated due to the Tassie fixture before it. I guarantee if that fixture wasnt before the A-League one the figures would have been even less.

We simply dont have the following or the appeal to support an A-League team in Tassie. I would prefer to watch a guys in our league play against A-League sides then watch to interstate teams anyway.

Some of the most enjoyable games in football since I have been in Tassie have been watching my mates against Central Coast & Tuggeranong.

Bellerive will never be used as an official venue due to the cricket pitch. John Boulous even tried that when he was here.
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0 #14 specpatatoe 2014-10-02 05:03
If FFT had been organised they could of presented winners of respective comps,best players and golden boots, acknowledging their achievements as part of the A league enter game half time entertainmentQuoting Walt:
#11, no, I'm afraid I don't. Cheers!
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+2 #13 Spec 2014-10-02 02:57
Quoting Walt:
#11, no, I'm afraid I don't. Cheers!

Not related to this article I know but how does one find out about FFT presentation I have seen nothing on FFT web site. Shows you how little regard is held for the competition season finished weeks ago. This blog is the first I ahve heard of it,
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+4 #12 Walt 2014-10-02 00:15
#11, no, I'm afraid I don't. Cheers!
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+2 #11 Anna Hathis 2014-10-02 00:06
Walter the FFT presentation night is on Friday night. Do you know who the nominated players are from the SPL and WSPL clubs?
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+4 #10 Anonymous 2014-10-01 22:20
Quoting Oxford:
#7
You expect too much for $20.
I would hate to be in a 'round' with you.


What the merry hell are you talking about?

I can pay $8 and watch V-League games that are far more exciting.

I can pay no money at all, and watch SPL games that are still more exciting.

I can pay $25 at Blundstone arena, and watch the Hobart Hurricanes kick off with 15,000 other Tasmanians, with pyrotechnics, full production values and an exciting and very entertaining three hours of action.

Or, I could pay $20 for what happened Sunday.

You tell me how that's value?
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+1 #9 Oxford 2014-10-01 05:29
#7
You expect too much for $20.
I would hate to be in a 'round' with you.
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+5 #8 Anon 2014-10-01 05:02
Any news on coaching appointments & player movements?
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