Wednesday, 7 May 2008 2:47 PM
By John Kyrou
This week the segment takes us back to the 1989 Dockerty Cup final, a final in which high-flying National Soccer League club South Melbourne faced off against Victorian State League side Altona Gate (now Altona Magic), a fixture that is now more frequent as both sides compete against each other in the Foxtel Cup.
South had experienced mixed results in the different competitions they had competed in in 1989. The Blues finished a disappointing 8th in the league (out of 14 teams) but had done very well in the Cup competitions. In the National League Cup, South reached the semi final before going down 0-2 to Adelaide City. It went further in the Buffalo Gold Cup competition, making then winning the final 3-0 against Melbourne City JUST.
That year, the Australian Soccer Federation decided to make changes to its national competition in order to make the league more marketable. As a result, it changed the national competition to a summer competition as opposed to a winter one. As a result, the National League clubs entered the Dockerty Cup just prior to their 1989/90 season commencing, whilst the State League clubs were in Cup competition towards the end of their 1989 winter season. This also meant that while South were strong favourites to win the final, they were still effectively in pre-season mode, whilst Altona had just completed their winter season.
South were aware that whilst their opponents were a division below them, they were not to be underestimated. Altona had gone through a magnificent Dockerty Cup campaign, knocking out NSL sides Sunshine George Cross 2-1 and Melbourne Croatia 2-1 as well as thumping Morwell 5-0. South entered the competition with the rest of the NSL sides in round three and strolled to the semi finals, with two 5-0 victories over Ringwood City and Knox City respectively. Brunswick Juventus proved a tougher opponent in the semi final, but South got through on penalties 5-4 after the match finished 2-2 after normal time and extra time.
The match began like a typical Cup final, with the players fighting to overcome pre-match nerves. This was reflected in the standard of play. Due to the extremely warm conditions, both teams played a possessive type of game, opting to reserve their energy until after the interval.
Danny Wright nearly broke the deadlock for the South side when his shot hit the post. This did not intimidate Altona at all, who responded immediately with a fierce Goran Georgievski effort that brought the best out of South goalkeeper Bruce MacLaren.
The winning goal came in the 67th minute courtesy of Paul Trimboli. Paul Wade headed down a Peter Tsolakis corner to Trimboli, who, with his back to the goal, turned and hit the ball into the roof of the net from only a metre out. The South fans who made up many of the 5,300 in the crowd had cause to celebrate as the Blues were on the verge of their second Cup win of the 1989 campaign. However the result was not a certainty, with over twenty minutes still to play.
Trimboli may well have earned himself a hat-trick if his finishing had been more precise. However he was not alone, as Tsolakis, Wright and Harry Micheil also squandered glorious chances to seal the win. Altona also squandered chances to get itself back into the contest. Its greatest chance came from a shot by Georgievski that smashed against the woodwork, denying him and his side a certain goal.
Whilst the game had opened up considerably after Trimboli’s goal, the warm temperature had taken its effect on all of the players and despite Altona’s best efforts to get back into the match, the result finished 1-0 in favour of South. Altona’s entertaining brand of football had nearly been good enough to match their National League opponents, however South proved too strong in the end and in the process won its fourth Dockerty Cup.
Dockerty Cup Final, 1989
Sunday, October 29, 1989
Venue: Olympic Park, Melbourne
Referee: Jim Fearn
SOUTH MELBOURNE 1-0 ALTONA GATE
Bruce MacLaren, Ange Postecoglou, Paul Fernandes, Steve Blair, Harry Micheil, Paul Wade, Kimon Taliadoros, Damian Mori, Peter Tsolakis, Paul Trimboli, Danny Wright
Coach: Ferenc Puskas
Stuart Lee, George Gagic, Tom Markovski, Darren Byrne, Robert Stojcevski, Pere Nicoski (Klime Aslimoski 77′), Vlade Tortevski, Arthur Davis (Simon Micevski 70′), Mendo Ristovski, Gary McMullen, Goran Georgievski
Coach: Bill Murray