IT IS difficult to beat the elation of a winning feeling. There have been many in the past 60 years since Western Australia embraced semi-professional football in 1960. Here are some of the more recent examples…
PIC ONE: Goalkeeper Vince Matassa, fresh from several outstanding efforts for the Young Socceroos as they reached the semi-finals of the under-20 World Cup in March, 1993, was in awesome form for his club North Perth Croatia in a PSF First Division triumph over Stirling Macedonia at Perry Lakes Stadium in April, 1993. West Australian photographer Mogens Johansen brilliantly captured one of Matassa’s stunning saves. The teenage keeper’s remarkable shot-stopping kept Croatia in the game and his team-mates responded by coming from 2-1 down to score twice in the last few minutes and win 3-2. Vince, who started his career with Perth Italia, went on to play for the Perth Kangaroos, Morwell Falcons, Perth Glory and English side Woking before returning to the Glory and ending his playing days with Stirling Lions.
PIC TWO: Inglewood Kiev won the D’Orsogna Cup in 1977 with a stunning 5-1 final victory over Spearwood Dalmatinac, their first and only triumph (and only appearance) in the D’Orsogna decider. They blitzed Dalies with a hat-trick from Robert Earl and two goals from Nick MacCallum. Kiev also finished runners-up in the State League that season, having been pipped for the title by one point by Floreat Athena. It turned out to be Kiev’s best season. They also won the Top Four Cup and their ace midfielder Gordon Todd won the Rothmans Gold Medal, while another key player, John Davidson, also figured prominently in the Rothmans count.
PIC THREE: More celebrations for Inglewood – this time after a name change (now called Inglewood Falcons) they won the Premier League title in 1996 in the most dramatic of circumstances. Needing to beat league leaders Bayswater Panthers (who only required a draw to claim the crown) in the season’s last fixture at the Kiev Sports Ground, Inglewood’s chances looked over when Rene de Koning put Panthers ahead in the 81st minute. But the Falcons grabbed two goals in stoppage time to win 2-1 and take their first (and so far only) league title. Scott Daley got the equaliser in the third minute of injury time, while veteran Ian Ballantyne nodded home the winner in the sixth minute. Referee Andy Gorton was criticised for playing so much stoppage time – but not by the Falcons!