1997 National Soccer League results
1996/1997 Season Round 22 Results
written by Thomas Esamie

Played (21/3/1997) Breakers Stadium
Referee : G Connolly, Crowd : 3907
Newcastle Breakers
Brad Swancott, Shane Pryce, Glen Sprod, Peter Ritchie, Robbie Ironside, David Lowe, Troy Halpin, Todd McManus, Andy Roberts, Clayton Zane (Harry James 77), Craig Sharpley
Goal : Zane 41
1 - 2 Melbourne Knights
Joe Didulica, Dragi Nastevski, Zoran Markovski, Andrew Marth, Nick Tasevski, Lubomir Lapsansky (Mijo Trupkovic 78), Ice Kutlesovski, Tom Pondeljak, Ante Kovacevic, Ransford Banini, Adrian Cervinski
Goals : Pondeljak 2, Marth 5
You've got to laugh. Jason Bennett, while warming up for the match, was knocked out cold by a stray softball from a game in progress and therefore did play the game. Also out was the Breakers normal keeper through flu and Swancott took over. So Newcastle suffering at both ends of the pitch. Pondeljak's opening goal came when McManus and Pryce both expected one another to tidy up a loose ball and eventually Cervinski snuck in first and Tom Pondaljak ran on to strike the ball first time and score. Pondeljak then collected the ball from some woeful attempts and clearance and passed to Marth who scored in a similar fashion to the earlier goal and worsen the Breakers misery. Thankfully the scoring spree did not continue against the Breakers and the latter even managed to respond late in the first half when Zane headed in after a drifting cross across goal evaded everyone including a now stranded Didulica to give Newcastle some hope. Halpin might have scored an equaliser in the second half, as might Zane but on balance the Knights were just good enough for the 3 points.
Match report by Chris Dunkerley

Played (22/3/1997) Suncorp Stadium
Referee : B Hugo, Crowd : 3741
Brisbane Strikers
Clint Bolton, Glen Gwynne, Gary Philips, Frank Farina, Rod Brown (Andrew Brayshaw 77), Danny Wright, Troy Cranney, Mark Battistin (Chay Hews 29), Wayne Knipe, Craig Williams, Nick Meredith (Sean Cranney 66)
Goals : T Cranney 32, Brown 33, Knipe 43
3 - 2 West Adelaide
Michael Harkness, Richie Alagich, Alex Castro, Ross Aloisi, Pablo Cardozo, Branko Milosevic (Corey Artone 4), Con Kokkinoplitis, Frank Tibaldi, Andrew Borghetto (Hamilton Thorp 46), Jim Tsekinis, Paul Pezos
Goals : Thorp 47, 80
A Philips cross was headed across goal by the defender Borghetto (god knows what the hell he thought he was doing) and Cranney had no qualms about making him pay with a goalbound volley. Troy Cranney and Wayne Knipe then combined to put an empty goal in front of Rod Brown with the ball at his feet merely seconds later. Later that half Brisbane took a corner which West Adelaide comically failed to clear. Do you know that clown routine about picking up the hat? He bends down to pick it up but kicks it away as he does so, well that was how West Adelaide seemed to treat clearing the danger, "Yeah I could kick it halfway to the ocean but why don't I just miss the ball instead?". Well after some of that Chay Hews finally tried to end with a shot at goal, which was deflected into the path of Knipe who more or less walked it in. Knipe last week sported yellow hair, this time it was blue to complete the Brisbane colour scheme and he threw himself into the front row of the audience to celebrate. His jubilation earnt a yellow card from the ref and a serve from FF, pity really. After halftime West Adelaide had regrouped and Brisbane did well to hold the win despite two goals from Thorp, a header from a Cardozo cross and a near post tap in from a Tsekinis cutback.

Played (23/3/1997) Brandon Park
Referee : C Diomis, Crowd : 6044
Wollongong City
Brett Hughes, Alvin Ceccoli, Stephen Laybutt (sent off 55), Martin Bourke, Matthew Horsley, Sonny Sevin, Sasho Dimoski (Michael Reda 72), Anthony Surjan, Nick Joseski (Neil Harlock 58), Scott Chipperfield, Jason Connolly (Michael Kariamis 80)
Goals : Chipperfield 77, Sevin 89
2 - 3 UTS Olympic
Tony Franken, David Barrett, Adam Ciantar, Scott Baillie, Peter Tsekenis, Norman Tome, Walter Ardone, Brett Emerton, Derek Poimer, Kris Trajanovski, Elias Augerinos (Steve Refenes 87)
Goals : Tome 5, 88, Ciantar 68
Considering there had been a cross promotion with the local Rugby League club for this game the crowd was a little disappointing but with the first part of the game marred by torrential rain...I mean it was really pissing down you can excuse people for staying home. Tome's shot from a speculative long ball was only briefly interrupted on its way to goal by Hughes. The rain went away but sadly for the home side Laybutt followed it after yellow cards for tackles on Ardone and Poimer. Poimer then beat the offside trap, had his shot blocked by a beautiful sliding tackle but recovered the ball and passed it to Ciantar who was presented with an open goal. Chipperfield's shot to the near post beat Franken to pull the score back to 2-1 but a late exchange of goals failed to alter the outcome.

Played (23/3/1997) Edensor Park
Referee : M Shield, Crowd : 4026
Sydney United
Zeljko Kalac, Mark Babic, Robert Enes, Velimir Kupresak, Robert Trajkovski, Paul Bilokapic (Jason Culina 70), Kresimir Marusic (Richard Plesa 80), Ante Moric (Robert Markovac 70), Aytek Genc, David Zdrilic, Ante Milicic
Goals : Zdrilic 3, 49, 67, 89, Moric 38, Kupresak 46, Genc 73
7 - 2 Canberra Cosmos
Tony Giannasca, George Sorras, James Baxter, Ante Juric, Norman Kelly, Paul Wade, Vincent Grella, Lachlan Armstrong, Peter Mazis, John Markovski, Tony Lemezina (Lindsay Wilson 64)
Goals : Markovski 39, Mazis 40
Sydney United started like a house on fire and obviously the defence became complacent and was given a wakeup call by Messrs Markovski and Mazis which would have made for an entertaining halftime chat from Sydney coach Branko Culina. Canberra were then steamrolled in the second half and the less said about that the better.

Played (23/3/1997) Hindmarsh Stadium
Referee : S Micallef, Crowd : 5253
Adelaide City
Jason Petkovic, Bradley Armour, Mark Yates, Milan Ivanovic, Alex Tobin, John Gibson, Michael Brooks (Joe Barbaro 84), Mark Brazzale (Michael Pirone 73), Kosta Salapasidis, Nick Sabljak, Sergei Vaskin (Travis Dodd 62)
Goal : Brooks 65
1 - 1 Perth Glory
Robert Zabica, Craig Naven (sent off 77), Gavin Wilkinson, Vinko Buljubasic, Gareth Naven, Scott Miller, Paul McVittie, Slobodan Despotovski (Alan MacKenzie 59), Vasili Kalogeracos, Dale Wingell, Anthony Carbone
Goal : Despotovski 55
Robert Zabica returned to face many of his former teammates in a long career at Adelaide City but after Despotovski neatly turned and shot to the far corner for Perth's away lead he could not prevent Brooks from scoring after the latter was through on goal. Then again it was the only blemish the fomer Socceroo keeper had and even 'blemish' is not the right word since his defence had pretty much left him a sitting duck, his efforts in gaining the draw were as instrumental as the Despotovski goal.

Played (23/3/1997) Lakeside Stadium
Referee : E Lennie, Crowd : 7261
South Melbourne
Michael Petkovic, Nick Orlic, Con Blatsis, Steve Panopoulos (Jason Polak 70), Vaughan Coveny (Warren Spink 82), Paul Trimboli, Steve Iosifidis, Bill Damianos, David Clarkson, Michael Curcija (Ivan Kelic 59), Fausto DeAmicis
Goals : Panopoulos 55pk, Trimboli 69, 86
3 - 1 Marconi-Fairfield
Leslie Pogliacomi, Robert Stanton, Luke Casserly, Andrew Harper, Eric Hristodoulou (Nick Bosevski 85), Brad Maloney, Aaron Holst, Dominic Longo (sent off 58), Mark Robertson, Sean Babic (Francis Awaritefe 60), Vlado Zoric
Goals : Casserly 36
A run by Babic had the Souths defense a little too busy for their liking which allowed Casserly to run onto a layoff by Babic and drill the ball into the goal. Something of a shock considering the run of play. South Melbourne had shots enough to score goals to win 3 games but the 1-1 came about through a decidedly dubious, actually there was no doubt Eddie Lennie was wrong, penalty when Stanton handled the ball a good half metre outside the box but a penalty was given regardless. Lennie then further infuriated the visiotrs for sending off Longo. Iosifidis had tried to get around Longo and the two collided in what may reasonably have been called an obstruction foul on Longo. Iosifidis certainly fell into a heap and Trimboli finally scored from a corner (though I suspect the ball hit his head rather than the more traditional exchange of forces, it would seem Trimmers was too busy fouling the GK to watch the ball) and again from another corner but with other intervening heads this time to settle the result.
Match report by Alan Clark

Played (22/3/1997) Falcons Park
Referee : E Brazzale, Crowd : 3063
Gippsland Falcons
Jim Kourtis, Doug Marcina (Joe Tricarico 46), Claudio Canosa, Tony Sekulic, Manny Gotis, Willie Hastie, Mark Foy (John Hutchinson 80), Hugo Giminez, Esala Masi, Clayton Bell, Eddie Krncevic (Archie Thompson 64)
Goal : Thompson 72
1 - 0 Collingwood Warriors
Frank Juric, Joe Vrkic, Paul Della Rocca, Alan Davidson, Alan Scott (Frank Catalano 78), Carlo Talladira (Enrico Cerracchio 74), Andrew Vlahos, Con Boutsianis (Peter Di Iorio 74), Kimon Taliadoros, Ernie Tapai, Goran Lozanovski
Prior to the this match Collingwood were confirmed non-starters for next season, no real surprise, but also Gippsland and Canberra had their futures in the NSL put in doubt. Collingwood were awarded a penalty for a Foy tackle on Vlahos in the corner of the the 18-yard-box. Lozanovski ran over the ball, claiming not to have taken the kick after being hit by a projectile. He was booked regardless and the second time Jim Kourtis guessed right to deny the goal. A corner at the other end led to some goalmouth fun, the ball eventually tapped in by substitute Archie Thompson.