Retro Corner – When Billy went boom


If you love statistical anomalies (and who doesn’t?!) this week’s Retro Corner will really tickle your fancy.

Billy Celeski is the player we’re focusing upon, a man who did, of course, make 32 Hyundai A-League appearances for Glory during the 2005-06 and 2007-08 seasons.

During that time he scored four goals, a fairly standard return for a central midfielder.

But here’s where it gets interesting (for stat anomaly fans, at least).

Not only would he score just twice more in his subsequent 95 games for Melbourne Victory and Newcastle Jets, but three of his four Glory goals came in a single game.

The game in question? A ground-breaking victory for the men in purple over this weekend’s opponents, Sydney FC, at the SFS back in December 2007.

Glory had taken on the Sky Blues eight times before heading to the Harbour City two-thirds of the way through the A-League’s third season and not once had they tasted victory.

Predictably, perhaps, they had to endure an early storm of pressure from a home side skippered by a certain Tony Popovic and also including the man who will be opposite him in the Kogarah dugout on Saturday, Steve Corica.

But once Celeski capitalised upon a defensive error to surge into the box and crash a shot past Clint Bolton in the 34th minute, a game that had seemed an out-and-out home banker to many was suddenly thrown wide open.

Sixty seconds later, another mix up at the back from Sydney and Celeski was in again, this time capping things off with a less emphatic finish which Bolton almost managed to keep out.

Surely the start of the second half would see a spirited response from the hosts?

Not a bit of it.

Three minutes in, Sydneysider Nick Rizzo did well to keep the ball in play on the right touchline before delivering a teasing cross which fellow-winger Leo Bertos slammed gleefully into the net to make it 3-0.

Sydney FC did finally rouse themselves five minutes later, Corica hooking home an impressive volley to reduce the arrears, but Glory and Celeski were not to be denied.

When Iain Fyfe brought the flying Jimmy Downey down in the box, no-one was going to snatch the ball away from the hat-trick-seeking Melburnian and he duly found the roof of the net, much to the delight of the cluster of travelling fans marooned among the banks of empty seats behind the goal.

A last-minute goal from Michael Bridges did nothing to take the gloss off Glory’s triumph, even if they were brought down to earth with a bump the following weekend when Queensland Roar won 4-1 in the West.

But let’s not spoil Billy’s moment, shall we?

You can view highlights of the game HERE.