RECOGNISE ANY? The combined Lismore Grafton side included players such as A Lees, L Orchard, B Neaves, C Kostic, R Parkhouse, G
RECOGNISE ANY? The combined Lismore Grafton side included players such as A Lees, L Orchard, B Neaves, C Kostic, R Parkhouse, G

Time of wonder for soccer

By STEVE SPINKS

IT was a time of the Red Menace, only a few short years after the Korean War in which soldiers from China and Australia fired on each other.

But 50 years ago this Saturday, Lismore embraced the Chinese football team when they played a combined Lismore/Grafton at Oakes Oval.

It was Lismore football's first international match.

With all Australian football fans focusing on the Asian Cup, despite the Socceroos untimely departure, former Lismore resident Elwyn Moss thought it was time to remind the area of its Asian football past.

"I'm still interested in the soccer," said Moss, who now lives in Inverell.

"I knew the anniversary was coming up and I'm interested to know where the rest of the team (Lismore) is now."

China proved too good for the locals winning 6-0 in front of a local football crowd record at the time of 1500 which produced a gate of 300 pounds.

Moss, who was 17 at the time and living in Grafton, remembers the match fondly.

"We didn't really train," he said.

"I remember they (the Chinese) were very fast and it was showering with rain.

"The Chinese really were the utmost professional.

"They treated us with full respect even though we were very amateur in comparison.

"We weren't really in their class and it was just a privilege to be a part of it."

The Chinese team had just come off a 2-all draw with the Australian team during a Test match in Brisbane.

The program, supplied by Moss, makes for interesting reading even if it echoes local football 50 years on.

Lismore District Association president CT Richards wrote: 'We have had growing pains, lack of administrators, too few referees and varied interpretations of the offside rule'.

It just shows, regimes may come and go but the argument over the offside rule will remain forever.

DO you have any memories of this match? If so, contact The Northern Star sports desk on 6620 0500 or email sport@northernstar.com.au.



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