WA'S EXIT FROM ASIA
The Asian gravy train came to a shuddering halt in 1972. There was, however, a mini joy trip to Singapore in December in which players who could afford to pay for themselves were selected. This team was classed as a W.A. eleven, though it had no official recognition as a State side. The tour could well keep W.A.'s presence in Asia secure for the foreseeable future, should the W.A. Federation and the Singapore Association come to an agreement for reciprocal visits.
Excluding this side trip, W.A. welcomed three overseas teams, with the highlight being the match against Wolverhampton Wanderers, one of England's great sides. But first things first, W.A. played host to an old friend in the West German district side Hertha 03 Zehlendorf. Hertha had last been in W.A. in January 1970 when, in a night match, they had played a thrilling 2-2 draw.
But in 1972, a bitter encounter was played in searing heat, which reduced the contest to an exhaustive battle of contrition. W.A. started in brilliant fashion, with John Davidson hammering a 35-yard shot just under the bar with goalkeeper Klaus Gruetzner making no attempt to save as he thought the ball was going over. This was probably the first goal of the year anywhere in the world, because the match was played on New Year's Day.
For the next 25 minutes, shots from captain Hugh Miller, Ray IIiott and John Davies had the Hertha defence groping blindly. W.A. was clearly superior on the day. It was, therefore, a soul-destroying moment when in the 26th minute, Klaus Koppe was brought down in the penalty area. This allowed midfielder Peter Hanisch to equalise from the penalty spot. Each side had further chances, but that was the end of the goals, and the match fizzled out with W.A. holding territorial advantage, but not able to gain a first home victory against a visiting team.
With the season almost finished, New Zealand paid W.A. a surprise visit, W.A. being the only State to oblige the Kiwis with a game on Australian soil. The last time W.A. clashed with New Zealand was in 1967 when they scored a convincing 5-2 win at the Leederville Oval. The only New Zealander still in the side was Brian Turner, the midfielder, who had professional experience in England.
The scoreline will record that W.A. went down to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of New Zealand, but the true story will never be reflected by this fact. W.A. deserved to win this game, and by a big margin, and unless New Zealand show a vast improvement, their World Cup hopes will vanish in the early preliminary stages in Sydney. They were presented with two gift goals by W.A. defender Fred Cartlidge, who may just as well have scored for the Kiwis himself. His pass back was instrumental in giving big Geoff Brand the first goal in the fifth minute.
An equaliser in the best John Davidson fashion in the 18th minute from 25 yards put W.A. back into the game. But another bad back pass a minute later from Cartlidge allowed Dennis Tindall easy access to the W.A. goal. Tindall drew goalkeeper Owen Nuttridge from goal then squared the ball to brilliant winger Ian Ormond to score into an empty net. W.A., the agressor, went searching for chances and hoping for mistakes by the opposition, which was presented to them in the 36th minute with Len Dundo equalising for W.A. after a corner.
Then New Zealand's one well-worked goal of the match came just seconds before half-time as the Kiwi captain Alan Vest took a perfect defence-splitting through pass to score what was to be the winning goal. A brilliant piece of work. The second-half, with Brian Newell replacing Reg Davies in the midfield, belonged entirely to W.A. Newell probed and presented chance after chance. But W.A., with little imagination in attack, just couldn't break through, and what should have been a clear-cut victory, became a sour tasting defeat.
The major test for W.A. came against Wolverhampton Wanderers. But the test was more for the huge crowd, which proved to be the second biggest on their five-match tour of Australia. It tested their patience and their loyalties. Wolves, themselves, had received poor notices round Australia for their approach to the game, and the criticism was justified if their game against W.A. was an indication of their approach. Their one excuse is that they had an energy sapping season in England and Europe, and their big star attraction Derek Dougan had played 73 matches in less than 10 months.
Their 3-0 victory over W.A. was just about the right score for the game. But their three goals were scrappy, un-professional affairs. On the other hand they missed a number of superbly engineered opportunities that balanced out those bad moments. From the start, Wolverhampton took and held the initiative with their accurate patterns of play. They used the full width of the pitch, something our players find hard to do, to provide extra avenues of attack, with winger David Wagstaffe always dangerous. W.A's midfield was easily overcome and gradually the W.A. attack became starved of opportunities.
Wolves had the luxury of playing from the fifth minute with a one goal lead, scored from a penalty by Jim McCalliog. W.A. midfielder Dave Brady had found the ball glancing off his upper arm, and the decision seemed harsh with the W.A. defence well in control of the situation. W.A. had chances with Ray Ilott just missing the far post with a vicious ground shot in the eighth minute from 25 yards. Hugh Miller forced goalkeeper Phil Parkes to fly desperately to tip away a 30 yard thunderbolt.
In the second half, Wolves completely dominated and the W.A. defence provided the highlight for the local supporters with fine covering that absorbed the oppositions constant attacks. In this area, goalkeeper Saverio Madaschi, playing his first major senior State game, provided a stirring exhibition which ranked him among the best in Australia. Even Wolves assistant-manager Sammy Chung was moved to remark that Madaschi was the best he had seen in Australia, including Australia's two representatives who played against the visitors.
In the 65th minute, a shot from Wagstaffe, well covered by Madaschi, was deflected by a W.A. defender into the net with Madaschi unable to do anything about it. Seven minutes later a cross shot found Peter Eastoe, and, though he miskicked and consequently misdirected his shot, it beat substitute goalkeeper Owen Nuttridge. Madaschi was hurt in the 70th minute when making a brilliant save at the feet of Derek Dougan.
While W.A's team to Singapore could by no stretch of the imagination be called a full State side, it was still strong. Nine players had played for W.A. senior teams, while Florian Madaschi had played for the State Under-18 side. Therefore, it is obvious that Singapore, with a more professional approach, under full-time British coach Mike Walker, have really improved. Never before has a Singapore side beaten W.A., but on this occasion they recorded a handsome 4.1 victory.
During the year, the State team made a trip to Bunbury, following the example of the Kalgoorlie tour the year before. As expected the State side had an easy win 8-2, but at half-time spirited opposition had restricted W.A. to only 3-1. Experience and fitness in the end proved too much. Summing up, W.A. should have beaten New Zealand and Hertha 03, deserved to lose 3-0 against Wolverhampton Wanderers. The loss to Singapore is difficult to assess because of the conditions under which the match was played.
Two tours made by W.A. teams after the night series and just before the start of the winter season won the plaudits for initiative. Bayswater United made a tour of the East, playing in Queensland, where they won their matches, and one game in South Australia, which they lost. Azzurri performed well on a nine-match tour of Asia, taking in such countries as Malaysia, Hong-Kong and the Philippines.
TEAM verses Hertha 03: Owen Nuttridge, Jim Sambrook, Alan Cooney, Hugh Miller (Capt.), Eric Edmonds, Reg Davies, Paul Messer, John Davidson, Dave O'Callagham, Ray Ilott, John Davies; substitutes Alex Genovese, Eric Marocchi.
TEAM verses Wolverhampton Wanderers: Saverio Madaschl, Jim Sambrook, Mike McKinlay, Gary Matlejan, Hugh Miller (Capt.), Paul Messer, John O'Connell, Dave Brady, Ray Ilott, John Davldson, John Davles; substitutes Owen Nuttrldge, Mike Saunt.
TEAM verses New Zealand: Owen Nuttridge, Jim Sambrook, Mike McKinlay Fred Cartlidge, Paul Messer (Capt.), Reg Davies, Ian Thomson, John O'Connell, Frank Bibby, John Davidson, Len Dundo; substitute Brian Newell.
TEAM verses Singapore: Brian Mclntosh, Bruno Madaschi, Jim Sambrook, Fred Cartlldge, Henry Marchant, Reg Davies, Hugh Miller, Eric Marocchi, Alex Genovese, Jeff Ruellan, Graham Woodard; substitutes Florian Madaschi, Peter Carley, Dermot Buckley.
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This page was last updated on the 24th February 2006