STATE LEAGUE : KINGSWAY CROWNED AGAIN
The 1980 soccer season once again provided an exciting and close competition in the State League, both at the top and the bottom of the ladder. Positions fluctuated so as to maintain the pressure and allow no club to relax and become complacent. Such is the unpredictability of soccer, club supporters can be plummeted down into the depths of despair one week, and then soar to the heights of joy the next. Despair when we see clubs who have an honoured history in the game, fighting against relegation with all the odds against them. Joy when we see a club come through to win the championship with skill, youth, and a conscientious management, so that it is lauded and admired by all those who are interested in the well being of the game.
Under the guidance of coach John Ward, Kingsway Olympic won the Red Rooster State League Championship for the second time in three years, and won it in the best possible way. After losing a number of star players to other clubs at the end of the 1979 season, undaunted they went on to glory by continuing with their policy of using youth wherever possible. With the regular nucleus of captain Stephen Sceats, goal scorer extraordinaire Lenny Dundo, and stalwarts Duncan Hill, Derek Watt and Willy McNally, it only needed the skilful blending of talented youngsters like the Tombides brothers, Stephen and Paul, together with Steve Callaghan, Paul Terpkos, Ian Sinclair, and Arthur Sharp, as well as the new signing Neil Garvey, to create a side which was a match for anyone.
But Kingsway didn't have it all their own way. Their old rivals Spearwood Dalmatinac were once again snapping at their heels the whole season through, and again, for the second time in three years, we had a smidgeon of difference (.819 of a goal) at the end of a hard fought season. It is strange how the wheel of fortune turns. Floreat Athena were cock-a-hoop after they had beaten Forrestfield United six goals to one in the first match of the season, and for the briefest of moments they were the top of the League. Nobody at that time could envisage it would be Athena, after a dismal season, who would be relegated to the Second Division for the 1981 season.
Newly promoted club West Perth Macedonia, packed with star players secured from other clubs at the end of the Night Series, made an auspicious start to the season by going six games without defeat, although four of those games were drawn. They then lost to Stirling Cracovia by three goals to two on the 24th May, and this seemed to herald a mediocre period during which their full potential was never realised, and they only managed to pick up nine more points for the next twelve games.
Coincidentally Gosnells City had a good period until they met Cracovia and lost two goals to one. At that stage, after eight games, they had ten points, but only managed to pick up another five by the end of the season. Perth Azzurri came third in the League with 23 points, three behind Spearwood Dalmatinac, and it must have been the points they lost unexpectedly to lowly Forrestfield United that kept them out of contention. Forrestfield's surprising one-nil win coincided with the appointment of Ray Ilott as player/coach, and it was a young amateur player, Wayne Sanderson who scored the all important goal. Then in the last match of the season, the two teams fought out a scoreless draw on Azzurrri's home ground. Azzurri must have been upset with progress during the season, as they switched coaches mid-year when John Birighitti handed over the reigns to captain Eric Marocchi.
Inglewood Kiev barely made the Top Four, just scraping home in front of Stirling Cracovia, with a slightly better goal average. Cracovia seem to have been everyone's nemesis during 1980, for they beat Kiev three-one at Perry Lakes, and drew at Inglewood Oval. However, the highest score of the season was chalked up by Kiev when they defeated the luckless Athena by ten goals to one in a match when Johnny Davidson helped himself to four goals! Stirling Cracovia continued their progress which began in the 1979 season. They were helped on their way with sterling performances from experienced players Mateljan, Brooks and Chodakowski, whilst the enthusiastic work rate of youngsters Douglas and De Silva ensured them a fairly successful season. One of their best wins was against Azzurri when they won three goals to one.
East Fremantle Tricolore, who have established a glorious history in Western Australia, had their most disastrous season ever. Together with Forrestfield United they shared the two bottom spots in the table, until with three games to go, Forrestfield clawed their way out of trouble as they beat Gosnells five-three at Thornlie, and went on to beat Inglewood Kiev the following week by one-nil, to finish up the season drawing with Azzurri. It now left Floreat Athena and East Fremantle Tricolore in the danger zone, with one game to go, Athena were on ten points, and Tricolore two points behind, on eight. Both of them had hard matches to complete their fixtures - Athena away to Dalmatinac on the Saturday, and Tricolore away to Macedonia on the Sunday.
It seemed odds on that Tricolore would be back in the second division for the first time since 1955. Came Saturday, and gallant Athena fought hard as they held the mighty Dallies to a single goal, scored by Ian Russell. So Tricolore would now have to beat Macedonia on the Sunday. Impossible? Well, not to the Fremantle fighters. They came out contesting for every ball, and fair haired Tony Pragnall scored a brilliant goal in the 19th minute and the issue was put beyond doubt when Paul McKenna scored from an acute angle. This game proved undeniably that relegation and promotion creates excitement at both ends of the table. King sway Olympic shared the Presentation Function with Spearwood Dalmatinacs at the White House, and it was a proud president Steve Trandos who received the Red Rooster Shield for 1980.
ASSOCIATION CUP : THE MACEDONIAN MASSACRE
Three Country Associations, four amateur clubs, and thirty seven lower division clubs kicked off in the preliminary round of the 20th D'Orsogna Cup on Saturday 29th March. As always, there was considerable conjecture on who would survive this maelstrom of football, and this round produced the odd surprising results. Albany defeated Division Two side Rockingham United, and looked set for another good run like last year. The Sunday amateur club Highgate Chindits eliminated Rosemount Meazza by four goals to three. Not really surprising, but worthy of mention, Morley Windmills hammered Swan Valley by eight goals to nil, and in the highest scoring match of the day, Wally Migas scored four goals and assisted his club North Perth Croatia to score a ten nil win over Kalamunda.
First Round Proper
The surviving twenty two teams were now joined by the State League Clubs who must come in every year with some apprehension, as each season sees some of them falling by the wayside at the hands of a lower division team. 1980 was no exception. Gosnells, still smarting from their exit last year at the hands of fourth division Dianella JUST, were further embarrassed when second division Kelmscott beat them at Frye Park. University caused another shock by winning at Harfield Park against Forrestfield United, where goals by Ilott and Gladding couldn't save the home side from a three-two defeat. North Perth Croatia put paid to any aspirations that Albany entertained, and the only non-Federation side left in the Cup was Highgate Chindits, who knocked out Balcatta Etna. Inglewood Kiev beat Kingsway Olympic, who joined other State Leaguers Gosnells and Athena on the side lines.
Gallant Highgate Chindits from the Amateurs found the jungle of Federation too dense to penetrate further, and were beaten by Kelmscott. But the shock result of the round was third division Balga's deserved win over the Cup holders East Fremantle Tricolore, by two goals to one. Croatia beat Cracovia, and Perth Azzurri struggled very hard to eventually win over Melville Alemannia. The crowd who watched the tussle between Kiev and Macedonia really got their money's worth. Both clubs were at home, as they share Inglewood Oval, and Macedonia turned on a magnificent display to beat Kiev by four goals to one.
Azzurri breathed a sigh of relief when they walked off the field at Kelmscott. They were taken to extra time by the entusiastic second division team, and it was only a hotly disputed penalty given by referee Eddie Evans that finally clinched the victory for the Perth team by three goals to two. Macedonia, who were in all sorts of trouble with the Referees body, went to Kwinana and played as though they had a load on their mind, and in a game refereed competently by executive member Gus Bazen, they struggled to a six-five win, after extra time and penalties. Spearwood Dalmatinac won a high scoring game against Morley Windmills, and Croatia just pipped Balga when Beretovac scored the only goal of the match.
West Perth Macedonia struck their magical spell again, and ran allover Croatia when they won by four goals to nil at Perry Lakes Stadium. Prior to that, Azzurri, on their own ground at Dorrien Gardens, struggled against a Spearwood Dalmatinac side, but managed to reach the final when goals by Alan Pye and Bill Kelly were scored without reply from "the Dallies".
Perth Azzurri and West Perth Macedonia met in friendly rivalry at the Champagne Breakfast on the eve of the great day, when they were guests of the sponsors, D'Orsogna Bros. In that happy and carefree atmosphere, none could envisage the drama that would unfold the next day. Azzurri, obviously favourites, playing on their own ground, and having played competitively without interruption, must have felt confident. Whilst their opponents had faced a season of trauma and trouble, and had not played a serious game of soccer for almost five weeks, since the end of the League season.
But the Macedonia magicians were able to display all their tricks and more besides as they put Azzurri on the rack and split them in half long before the final whistle sounded. Such was the quality of the soccer displayed that very few of the partisan crowd left before the final whistle. Big Saverio Madaschi made some brilliant saves, otherwise the six goals that Macedonia scored could have been increased. Every Macedonia player hit top form at the same time, and strode about the ground magnificently. The one goal scored by Azzurri's Ronnie Campbell was only perfunctory, but credit to Azzurri, for they never gave up or resorted to anything but genuine soccer. No player on the winning team could be faulted, but it was to Chris Proctor that Tom D'Orsogna presented the gold medal for the Fairest and Best player of the match.
Kingsway Olympic won their first major trophy of the year when they beat Gosnells City in the final of the Solahart Night Soccer Sieries at the Velodrome by two goals to nil. The competition, consisting of all ten State League clubs, proved to be unweildy when three games on the Sunday evenings became too much even for the most avid fans.
The most outstanding feature of the 1980 competition was the inclusion of the legendary Bobby Charlton in the Perth Azzurri side. Although his presence could not bring success to the team, his personality boosted the crowd on each of the three nights he played to more than that which attended any of the international matches for 1980. By the time Charlton came into Azzurri, they had played five games and were lying fourth in the league. The eventual winners Kingsway Olympic were at the top in a position they didn't relinquish for the rest of the competition.
In the games in which Charlton played Azzurri lost to Tricolore who were having a disastrous time due to the number of their players transferring. Charlton scored a brilliant goal when Azzurri beat Gosnells City 3-1, and although his skills were evident he seemed to have over-awed his colleagues, who couldn't quite play to his requirements. In his last game here against Kingsway Olympic, Charlton scored a masterly goal when he received the ball near the hall way line and in a marvellous solo effort outpaced the entire Kingsway defence to deftly place the ball past Willie McNally.
As we farewelled Bobby Charlton we immediately dropped back to the previous pattern of indifferent crowds who came along to watch the rest of the games which had predictably lost some of their sparkle. Although Kingsway Olympic had lost a number of their players their form was phenominal. They went through the whole competition without defeat, and only spoiled their 100% record by drawing against Gosnells City mid-way through. On the old points system Kingsway's record would have shown they gained 17 points from a possible 18 and scored 26 goals for with five against.
Gosnells City made a remarkable jump from sixth position into the top four when they beat Athena three goals to nil, and Spearwood's loss to Azzurri eased them out of contention by goal average. So to the semi-finals and the first between Macedonia and Gosnells was a humdinger. Gosnells had much more of the play and it was only an outstanding exhibition of goalkeeping by the young John Alavakis that kept the score to nil-nil at full-time. In the resultant shootout Gosnells was successful by two points to one.
Kingsway went directly into the Grand Final when they defeated Azzurri in the second semi-final. The winners were helped on their way when Chris Proctor, then playing for Azzurri, put one into his own goal, whilst the other goals were scored by Paul Tombides and Stephen Sceats. Tony Falcone and Joe Rossi replied for Azzurri.
The final turned out to be a thriller - end to end with the result in doubt right up to the final whistle. Gosnells were the first to score, thanks to Peter Creamer, when his free kick swerved past the Azzurri goal keeper. Proctor scored minutes later in a similar fashion for Azzurri from a free kick. So the two sides came out at half-time with the score level, and it was Brett Atherton who gave his side the edge with a well taken goal. But Gosnells were not to be denied, and Andrew Godfrey levelled the scores from a penalty kick and the crowd had to wait until the sixtieth minute before the game was put beyond doubt with a magnificent 35 metre shot from Jeff Lewis.
Gosnells City were supported by a very vocal crowd who created atmosphere at the game which was their first major final since joining the Federation in 1970. But they were against redoubtable opposition who were unbeaten in the night series, as well as being runners up in the League. Kingsway further emphasised their tremendous talent and depth when they became deserved Cup winners after beating gallant Gosnells two goals to nil.
Neil Garvey and Keith Blunt got the necessary goals, and it was a proud Stephen Sceats who received the Solahart Cup from the company's managing director, Wayne Reed. Paul Tombides, Kingsway Olympic's striker, received $100 for the Golden Goal of the series, which he scored in the semi-final against Perth Azzurri. He gathered the ball some thirty-five metres out on the left wing, and although harrassed by two defenders, unleashed a shot that rocketted into the top right corner of the goal, giving Saverio Madaschi no chance.
TOP FOUR PLAY-OFFS : OLYMPIC FLAME BURNS BRIGHT
Goal average determined the top four positions of the Red Rooster State Soccer League in 1980. Kingsway Olympic were .819 of a goal in front of Spearwood Dalmatinac. Azzurri were on their own in third place, but Inglewood Kiev relied on the computer to assure them of fourth position over Stirling Cracovia by .444 of a goal.
The 13th September turned out to be unlucky for Kiev, who met Azzurri in a pretty uninspiring match in the first semi-final. The Azzurri strikers looked as though they never would score, and in fact, they didn't. They had to rely on a midfielder and a defender (Campbell and Trinca) to get the goals. Inglewood Kiev's goal was also scored by Azzurri when the ball was deflected off Madaschi by one of his own colleagues.
The second semi-final brought together two teams who must be heartily sick of one another. Over the past three seasons they have continually contested the highest possible soccer competition against each other. Kingsway met Spearwood last year in a most controversial final at Perry Lakes Stadium, but at Dorrien Gardens Kingsway Olympic were at their brilliant best.
They underlined the fact that led by Stephen Sceats, under coach John Ward, they were the best team in Western Australia at that time. Dundo scored two goals, and a further two were added through Neil Garvey and Paul Tombides. But don't think it was all one sided; tremendous efforts by Stephen Snell and David Fidoe were only stopped by the brilliance of Willie McNally in the Kingsway goals.
Dalmatinac had a chance to make amends for the preliminary final when they met Azzurri. But they were without Neil Hardy, who had sustained an injury, and Dave Fidoe was on the bench. Nevertheless the Dallies were certainly the better team in the first half, and Stephen Snell was an inspiration to his side and led them into many attacking moves.
A goal nearly eventuated when only split second reaction by lozzelli, who saved on the line, stopped the ball with Madaschi well beaten by a free kick from Popovich. In the second half, Azzurri's midfield players began to assume control, and Tony Witschge was being kept busy. It was during pressure in the 54th minute that Bret Atherton was brought down in the penalty area; Ronnie Campbell made no mistake from the resulting penalty to score the only goal of the match.
So on to the Grand Final. As with the opening rounds this was to be played at Dorrien Gardens, a decision made by the Federation Executive to increase the atmosphere, and a decision which was soundly critisized in some quarters where it was said it would favour Azzurri. Subsequent events proved the criticism totally unfounded. It's history that Kingsway won the Top Four Cup for the second year running.
Once again it was the diminutive Lenny Dundo who demolished the reputation of players who had gained honours denied to him. He scored his first goal following a back header from Neil Garvey after only nine minutes of play. Conditions that day were atrocious, and the blustery wind made accurate skilful play almost impossible. Both teams were to be complimented on their efforts to keep the game free and flowing. It was the super teamwork of Kingsway which was the eventual deciding factor, and the opportunism of Dundo, who scored again in the lOth minute.
Azzurri, and the large appreciative crowd, thought they were back in the game when a shot from Eric Marocchi ricochetted off Steve Tombides to flash past the stranded Willie McNally. Dundo finally put the issue beyond doubt when he completed his hat trick by leaving Mike Saunt prostrate on the ground while he went on unchallenged to fire into the net.
A proud Stephen Sceats led his victorious team forward for presentation, but as Mr Peter Kailis was about to hand over the trophy, a storm, which had been threatening all day, broke, and the heavens opened up. The crowd and dignataries were deluged as the ground was swept with torrential rain, and an unprecedented presentation was made in the teams dressing rooms.
GOLD MEDAL : ADAM IN PARADISE
Lee Adam, Inglewood Kiev's blond headed midfielder, created a record at Channel Nine Studios when he became the first Western Australian player to win the Rothmans Gold Medal on two occasions. He beat the perennial Geoff Cole by just one vote. Although Lee and Geoff were bracketed together, there was a large gap of twelve votes in the final tally between the winner and third place, who was another consistent player, Stephen Sceats, scoring 39 votes. Ray Ilott (31 votes) who previously won the award in 1974 was also in the top ten, and was in good company with players such as Paul McKenna (38), Alan Pye (36), Stephen Snell (35), Mal Cole (32), Stephen Tombides (29), Paul Doropoulos (30) and Rodney De Silva (27).
The published voting came to a close after the game played on July 27th. It could be seen that Gosnells City player Geoff Cole was just two points in the lead over Lee Adam. They had polled 42 and 40 votes respectively. At that time the nearest one to them was Floreat Athena's young goal keeper, Paul Doropoulos, on 31 votes. So the scene was set for an exciting night, as in front of the Hon Des O'Brien, the Hon J R Williams, and other distinguished guests, the counting of the final votes commenced. An expectant hush fell on the auditorium as Barry Young of the Electoral Office began to check the results.
In the match on the 9th August, against Spearwood Dalmatinac, which Gosnells won four goals to three, Geoff Cole did not receive a vote. On the other hand Adam received four votes when his team had a field day against Athena, by winning ten goals to one, one of which Lee scored. And Paul Doropoulos didn't get a mention that day - I wonder why? The only other significant moves amongst those players in close contention were Stephen Sceats (5 pts) which took him to thirty-one, and Alan Pye (4 pts) moving him on to thirty-two; out of that round, Steve Snell was the only player to record a maximum.
Came the weekend of the 16th August. Geoff Cole caught the eye of the oppositions coach and received three votes to take him on to 45; unfortunately his team lost the important match to Forrestfield United by five goals to three, after being two nil up at half time. Kiev lost to Spearwood, and Lee Adam collected five votes which now edged him into the lead. Paul Doropoulos didn't poll another vote until the last game of the season. Stephen Sceats picked up four more which put him up to 35, but this put him out of the running for with only two more sets of fixtures to be checked, he couldn't possibly make up the difference. Stephen Snell was polling well and consistently, but even another well earned five points couldn't help him catch up to the leaders.
With just two rounds to go, the 23rd August saw Gosnells lose to Kingsway Olympic by a lone goal scored by Lenny Dundo after the home side had more than threequarters of the play. Geoff Cole was given two votes by each the coach and referee, and this took his total to 49. Forrestfield defeated Kiev one nil, and the referee gave Lee Adam three points, taking him on to 52. So Geoff Cole, who had been so close throughout the season, now had an excellent chance to pull it off at last.
Inglewood Kiev was pitted against Kingsway who were once again contenders for the championship. Kiev did well to force a one-one draw, but it didn't help Lee Adam, who failed to record a vote. So it was up to Geoff Cole now. Any score over three would see him a clear winner. So over to Perry Lakes Stadium, where Gosnells were struggling against Stirling Cracovia, and in a match which Gosnells lost by one goal to nil, the last envelope revealed that Geoff Cole scored one vote each from the referee and the coach, to fail by the narrowest of margins.
It was a very proud and elated Lee Adam who received the award for the Fairest and Best State League player from the former Deputy Premier of Western Australia, the Hon Des O'Neil. At the same time as Lee created a personal triumph and record, he did the same for Inglewood Kiev, for of the ten years that the prestigious Rothmans Gold Medal has been awarded, this club has provided the winner on three occasions - Gordon Todd in 1977, Lee Adam in 1978 and 1980.
Back to the www.footballwa.net Past Seasons Index
This page was last updated on the 24th February 2006