Football is Back: Golden Plains SC v Melbourne Uni SC







by Roy Hay


Earlier this week I was writing about the end of civilisation, but I was premature. It has returned. Specifically, football is back. Soccer that is.


On a beautiful autumn day in Bannockburn, Golden Plains Soccer Club took on the might of Melbourne University in Division Four West of Football Victoria’s State League. The local team began as a group of youngsters coached and supported by Anthony Vanjek, former player with Bell Park. Eventually he persuaded Golden Plains Shire that there was latent demand for the round ball code in the area and now the club has a floodlit complex as part of a multi-sports development on the northern boundary of Bannockburn.


Bannockburn has exploded in recent years. Previously it was a sleepy little village which we often drove through on our way from Geelong to the Grampians. We felt that we were nearly half-way there, though in truth it was only 30 minutes into the three-hour journey. Now it is a flourishing township accessible to Melbourne in an hour and as I tell people when I leave home going north the first set of traffic lights is in Sydney. When the COVID lock-down began last year, I took to long walks around the locality. On one occasion I had to pull out my phone and consult the map to find my way home though I was still in one of the housing developments that now surround the township.


These days we live just off High Street in the town in our old folks’ home that we built nearly a decade ago—within walking distance of the supermarket, the doctor’s surgery, the library, the garage and the pub. What more does an old bloke need?


I don’t have press pass any more and the referees were probably not born when I stopped playing and writing. The players are even younger. The old stagers in the crowd are glad to see me and we reminisce about the days when I used to fill a page in a broadsheet newspaper, the Geelong Advertiser, covering everything from the Under-9s to the National Soccer League and the Socceroos. I got that gig in 1985 when I wrote to the editor complaining about the coverage of the events at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels when a European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus resulted in a riot in which 39 people died when a wall collapsed. The Adi and the Geelong News were full of imprecations about soccer and violence. The banner headline in the latter shouted ‘Could it happen here?’ Above a story that turned out to be about a woman with an umbrella who had invaded the pitch when an opposition player clashed with her son!


But there was no regular coverage of the local game, particularly the Sunday amateur league and the juniors. When you shout fire, the first thing you get is a fireman’s hat. The editor of the Advertiser said why don’t you do it then. When Paul Millar who covered the senior game moved on to metropolitan journalism I replaced him, infringing my amateur status in the process.


But back to the football.



Seventeen bodies in the Golden Plains penalty area in the match against Melbourne University.


Golden Plains had several members of the Geelong Karen community in its line-up, so they were giving away about half a metre in height to their opponents. But what they lacked in dimensions they more than made up in skill, commitment and effort. A strong breeze helped keep the home side in the game in the first half as they rebounded from several dangerous University attacks. Olivier Muh had the ball in the net for the Uni, but it was chalked off for offside. Home keeper Emmanuel Vita was kept very busy, saving shots and sprinting off his line when necessary to foil attackers on the point of shooting.


Half-time saw the teams locked at nil-all and it might have been expected that the University would overrun Golden Plains after the break. But a combination of organised defence and some wayward shooting by the visitors meant the game was still scoreless until the 88th minute, when a free kick was not cleared and there was an almighty scramble in the Golden Plains’ goal area. Amid the mayhem, Muh got the final touch and prodded the ball home. On the balance of play this was probably a fair result but it was hard on the home team who had punched above their weight throughout.



Read more from Roy Hay (including information about his recent books) HERE


To return to the  home page click HERE


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One-off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE



Leave a Comment