1997 National Soccer League results
1996/1997 Season Round 24 Results
written by Thomas Esamie

Played (5/4/1997) Suncorp Stadium
Referee : E Brazzale, Crowd : 3974
Brisbane Strikers
Clint Bolton, Alan Hunter, Craig Williams, Danny Wright, Troy Cranney, Nick Meredith (Matt Bell 85), Kasey Wehrman, Sean Cranney, Frank Farina, Wayne Knipe (Jeremy Harris 73), Rod Brown
Goals : Farina 41, 85, Hunter 58
3 - 1 Canberra Cosmos
Danny Milosevic, Paul Wade (Joe Campagna 90), Norman Kelly, Lachlan Armstrong, Lindsay Wilson, Peter Buljan, James Baxter, Vincent Grella, John Koch, Peter Mazis, George Sorras
Goal : Baxter 87
Trajanovski wears red boots, Bingley has white ones and now I see this Williams kid with green ones. Doesn't anyone wear black anymore? A rare Grella stray pass was pumped upfield by Troy Cranney and Farina ran at the defence and put in a shot on the turn which slipped under the keepers body. A foul on Knipe by Mazis saw the free kick at the edge of the box rolled off to Hunter whose deflected shot snuck in inside the post for a 2-0 Brisbane lead. Funnily enough the deflection and the defender in front of Farina for the first goal were both Paul Wade. Well I thought it was funny. Farina then put in a major golazo with a dipping drive launched from a healthy 25m which was a joy to behold. Canberra got the consolation after Buljans blocked shot fell to Baxter loitering in the box unmarked and he volleyed the ball for a goal.

Played (4/4/1997) Breakers Stadium
Referee : M Breeze, Crowd : 4465
Newcastle Breakers
Brad Swancott, Peter Ritchie, Matt Austin, Shane Pryce, Todd McManus, Glen Sprod, Robert Ironside, Craig Sharpley (Scott Thomas 72), Troy Halpin, Clayton Zane, David Lowe
Goals : Ironside 36, Pryce 69, Lowe 71, Austin 75, Halpin 84
5 - 2 Marconi-Fairfield
Leslie Pogliacomi, Luke Casserly, Andrew Harper, Eric Hristodoulou (Craig Foster 46), Brad Maloney, Aaron Holst, Dominic Longo (sent off 77), Mark Robertson, Francis Awaritefe, Paul Souris, Vlado Zoric
Goals : Maloney 46, Harper 72
Andrew Harper gave away a free kick which went from Halpins foot to Ironsides head to Marconi net. Too easy. Maloney, with help from Foster and Awaritefe, finished the move with a lunging slide at the near post to restore parity but Halpin again took a free kick and with the same accuracy picked out Pryce's head and 2-1. Halpin then provided a third, this time for Lowe by cutting the ball back from the byline before Marconi managed a reply and threaten a contest, Harper scoring a header from a variation on a Marconi corner. This only made Newcastle mad and Halpin sent a corner of his own to the near post where the ball ricoched to Matt Austin who was on hand to provice a ricochet of his own, poor Les Pogliacomi was having a terrible time explaining the concept of marking to the defenders. Longo then got sent off again for elbowing Zane in the face after the latter had overstepped the laws of the game in chasing a ball, but it would not have been fair for Halpin to not make the scoresheet so he duly finished the scoring from a tap in at the far post thanks to a ball across goal from Lowe.
Match report by Chris Dunkerley

Played (6/4/1997) Brandon Park
Referee : W Dade, Crowd : 3158
Wollongong City
Brett Hughes, Alvin Ceccoli, Gary van Egmond, Martin Bourke, Matthew Horsley, Sonny Sevin (Stephen Laybutt 72), Sasho Dimoski, Michael Reda (Richard Lloyd 55), Neil Harlock (Colin Luff 72), Scott Chipperfield, Jason Connolly
Goal : Connolly 35pk
1 - 3 Perth Glory
Robert Zabica, Craig Naven, Gavin Wilkinson, Vinko Buljubasic, Gareth Naven, Scott Miller, Paul McVittie (sent off 35), Slobodan Despotovski, Vasili Kalogeracos (Alan MacKenzie 80), Dale Wingell (Paul Strudwick 55), Anthony Carbone
Goals : Despotovski 9, 70pk, Wilkinson 66
Despotovski's opening goal was a bit mystifying. A long ball here, a header there and suddenly Bobby's latched onto the ball in front of goal and scored. I suspect most of Wollongongs players felt as I did. The Wolves penalty was also a bit odd. Certainly McVittie handled a goalbound shot and the penalty was called for, but there was a defender on the line who was in position to block the shot legally so the red card to McVittie was somewhat harsh. The Glory down to 10 got a free kick and Despotovski's shot was parried by Hughes but Wilkinson was first to the rebound and soon after Despotovski himself was parried by Hughes which resulted in another penalty and another goal.

Played (6/4/1997) Lakeside Satdium
Referee : G Connolly, Crowd : 5169
South Melbourne
Michael Petkovic, Nick Orlic, Con Blatsis, Jason Polak (Bill Damianos 64), Steve Panopoulos (Alex Kuzmanovic 64), Vaughan Coveny, Paul Trimboli, Steve Iosifidis, David Clarkson, Ivan Kelic (Michael Curcija 78), Fausto DeAmicis
Goal : Coveny 66
1 - 0 West Adelaide
Michael Harkness, Hamilton Thorpe, Robert Hooker, Richie Alagich, Alex Castro (John Cutillo 78), Ross Aloisi, Pablo Cardozo, Branko Milosevic, Con Kokkinoplitis, Andrew Borghetto, Paul Pezos
South Melbourne kept Brisbane looking over their shoulders with this win. The first half was probably tilted slightly more to the visitors with the notable exception of half-hearted appeals for a penalty to South Melbourne for handball by Robbie Hooker. The goal eventually came from work by DeAmicis and Damianos and a bit of a scramble involving Kelic, Hooker and the eventual goalscorer Coveny. The wet conditions weren't conducive to pretty football but West Adelaide looked like equalising but never actually did. Pity that.

Played (6/4/1997) Knights Park
Referee : E Lennie, Crowd : 4949
Melbourne Knights
Joe Didulica, Dragi Nastevski, Zoran Markovski, Andrew Marth, Marjan Tasevski, Lubomir Lapsansky, Ice Kutlesovski, Tom Pondeljak, Ante Kovacevic, Ransford Banini (Damain Vojtek 70), Adrian Cervinski
Goal : Cervinski 76pk
1 - 1 UTS Olympic
Anthony Franken, David Barrett, Scott Baillie, Ivan Zelic (David Mitchell 78), Peter Tsekenis, Norman Tome, Brett Emerton, Kris Trajanovski, Raphael Bove, Elias Augerinos (Steve Refenes 89), Derek Poimer
Goal : Emerton 47
UTS looked better and scored first when Emerton tapped in after Poimer's run drew the defenders and keeper to him and the ball across goal left the easy shot for the youngster. UTS hit the goalframe at least twice on the night and the lack of accuracy on a tackle on Cervinski in the box proved a mistake worth 2 points. Melbourne had been getting the run of play though so the equaliser was not undeserved, still I can't help but feel that Melbourne sides look so much better when listed at the foot of the table.

Played (6/4/1997) Edensor Park
Referee : G Leverton, Crowd : 5501
Sydney United
Zeljko Kalac, Mark Babic, Robert Enes, Velimir Kupresak, Robert Trajkovski, Robert Markovac (Damir Cvetko 65), Paul Bilokapic, Kresimir Marusic, Jacob Burns, David Zdrilic (John Didulica 88), Ante Milicic
Goal : Milicic 71
1 - 0 Gippsland Falcons
Jim Kourtis, Manny Gotis, Tony Sekulic, Doug Marcina, Clayton Bell, Nick Palamaras (Billy Mitroulas 74), Willie Hastie, Marcus Stergiopoulos (Manoa Masi 74), Mark Foy, Joe Tricarico, Esala Masi
I'm sure Sydney United were expecting an easy win and thus secure top position in the league. They didn't get an easy game at all but managed the win nonetheless. The most potent attack in the league was looking remarkably impotent and Kalac had one of his more Grobbelaar-esque days to make the GA column look a bit dodgy. Even the goal which won the day was more lucky than Sydney would care to admit. Esala Masi was disposessed by Babic and Trajkovski, the latter providing a cross to the far post where Zdrilic set to swing his leg horizontally like a baseball bat. To continue the analogy he managed only to bunt the ball back across the goal. Luckily there at the post was Ante Milicic who chested the ball across the line.

Played (6/4/1997) Hindmarsh Stadium
Referee : M Shield, Crowd : 5232
Adelaide City
Jason Petkovic, Bradley Armour, Mark Yates, Milan Ivanovic, Alex Tobin, Bradley Hassell (Nick Sabljak 50), Dino Mennillo (Michael Pirone 65), John Gibson, Michael Brooks, Kosta Salapasidis, Sergei Vaskin (Joe Barbaro 71)
Goal : Ivanovic 27
1 - 0 Collingwood Warriors
Frank Juric, Enrico Cerracchio, Paul Della Rocca, Alan Davidson, Carlo Talladira, Frank Catalano, Andrew Vlahos, Con Boutsianis, Ernie Tapai, Goran Lozanovski, Mark Silic (Peter Di Iorio 75)
Yes, folks. It ain't a misprint Milan 'Vlad the Impaler' Ivanovic actually scored a goal. It came from a free kick and I suspect that Milan wasn't even meant to take the kick but decided to on a spur of the moment. Seems he was justified and Frank Juric watched as the shot hit the net head high and to Juric's right. There was plenty of opportunity for both sides to add to the total goals on the night but either profligacy or respect for the old man meant Milan's was the only goal of the night.