PAUL MORELLO | VIC | CONTACT
Organisers at Essendon Bat and Ball were stunned after last night’s Division 4 Indoor Soccer match between FC Ukoff and Raging Ra-Bonerz.
In their previous outing four weeks earlier, a “late challenge” from Ukoff’s captain, Con Pappas, left Ra-Bonerz striker Tim Evans with a compound fracture in his leg, so the rematch threatened to be spiteful.
The officiating referee, Mooney Valley teenager, Oli Florence could sense something was a little different about this fixture from very early on.
“No one had threatened me by half time, it was the weirdest thing…”
With scores locked on 12 – 12 in the dying minutes, the game hit a flash point when Florence adjudicated that Ra-Bonerz midfielder Dimi Katsopoulis was felled illegally in the area – awarding the knee-pad wearing midfielder a penalty.
In a huge shock, Katsopoulis explained “it was all ball” to the ref, and his teammates, causing the original decision to be overturned, instantly tempering both sides growing fury.
Centre manager, Craig Brown said he’d “never seen the likes of it” and lauded the two teams for “a rare encounter that didn’t spill in the car park”.
However, not everyone was as happy with the “fair play bullshit” displayed. 53-year-old Croatian small goods manufacturer Josip Babic’ labelled Katsopoulis’ act of sportsmanship as “disgraceful” and “not in the spirit of the game” while he warmed up for Div 2 goal keeping duties.
The yellow card Evans received for simulation in the initial game was later rescinded by Bat and Ball Management when he hobbled out of the stadium on the exposed stump of his tibia.