Monday, 17 June 2013

Weekend and Millennium Wrap

VPL action for the weekend began with a 1-1 draw between Bentleigh Greens and Port Melbourne. Graham Hockless gave Port the lead from the spot, Greens equalised through Luke Pilkington and then held on for a point after having Luke Sherborn sent-off with a quarter of an hour remaining. Both sides remain contenders in 2013.

The same night saw Dandenong Thunder go down 0-1 to the flying Northcote City. In a game the FFV Facebook updater seemed to have fallen asleep at, it was Milos Lujic who produced the winner on 65 minutes. Northcote are still unbeaten, and Thunder should still be in the mix come the business end of the season.

Two goals from Osagie Ederaro saw Green Gully defeat Southern Stars 2-1 at Kingston Heath. Stars only have Richmond below them on the table, and Gully look unconvincing as they try and bridge the gap to the pacesetters above them.

Hume City moved up into third place with a hard fought 1-0 win over Pascoe Vale at Broadmeadows Valley Park. Hume can mix their form, but if goalscorer Nick Hegarty can retain it are set to be in contention for a while yet. Paco continue to battle away and remain closer to the Finals contenders than they are to what would normally be the relegation places.

Richmond missed a few easy chances, which mixed with conceding soft goals is a recipe for disaster and went down for the eight count, 2-4 to Oakleigh Cannons. Oakleigh have plenty of new signings lined up, but money can't buy you love and may not get them back in the Finals mix for 2013.

Finally the old NSL Derby saw honours even, with South Melbourne and Melbourne Knights playing out a draw at Lakeside Stadium. Much mirth has been made of big mouth Ljubo Milicevic scoring an own goal which made the final score 2-2. 

Onto the wrap from the last millennium. 1929-1931 was a tumultuous time for the Brunswick club. I'm not able to come up with a final table for the lower leagues in 1929, with a few results still missing, but Brunswick were promoted to the First Division as runner's-up in Division Two behind Caledonians. 

Beginning their time in the top flight with consecutive wins before a loss to Melbourne Thistle. Three more wins followed before the upheaval of Saturday June 14. The expulsion of Croatia from the State League in 1972 is well documented, but Brunswick being thrown out of Division One in 1930 is less well known.

The year prior the Victoria Soccer Football Association had taken a lease of the Motordrome for the winter sporting season. The venue was used to host a weekly match of round at a time when soccer clubs were having trouble getting access to enclosed grounds. In fact the practice of taking around a collection plate whilst playing in open park was still taking place in the 1950's.

On that fateful day in June the proverbial hit the fan when Brunswick refused to play their "home" game against Footscray Thistle at the Motordrome. They were not happy about having another game moved there by the VSFA. Their May 10 clash with Melbourne Thistle had already been allocated as a Motordrome game by the Association. With a succession of away games and a weekend off for the annual England v Scotland fixture, they faced going three months without playing an actual home game at Royal Park. They argued that such a break made it hard to gain an enclosed ground from their council given it would be used so infrequently. A letter was sent to the VSFA and the game was announced as not going ahead the day before with the Division Two clash between Caulfield and Williamstown moved to Swan Street instead. The VSFA Council then suspended Brunswick for the remainder of the season, their results expunged from the records.

Footscray Thistle went on to retain their State Championship, with Caledonians runner's-up. Appeals were dismissed, with the great Harry Dockerty resigning from the Council in disappointment. Unlike Croatia, Brunswick's exile would be brief. South Melbourne were relegated after finishing last, losing all 12 games. Travel from Crib Point every second was becoming an issue for 1928's unbeaten Champions Naval Depot, and they withdrew from the League. Therefore upon the end of their suspension Brunswick remained in the First Division for 1931.

1931 would be their year, winning the Championship by six points from Caledonians, winning 12 and drawing 2 of their 14 games. In J.Lyons they had the league's top goalscorer with 14 goals. In an epic Dockerty Cup Final, which required two replays, they finally lost out 0-1 to Wonthaggi Magpies after two goal-less encounters. Their decline was imminent and just as dramatic, finishing only fifth in 1932 before being relegated when coming last in 1933 when conceding 103 goals in the course of an 18 game season, picking up a solitary point.   

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