Our first equaliser was ruled out for offside, and there seem to be differing theories as to its legitimacy. For our actual equaliser there was little doubt, as Brad Norton added another goal to his impressive tally this season.
And then we fell asleep again, in the most heinous sort of fashion. Shayan Alinejad was free for about five minutes at the back post, and while he may have been offside, and while the finish was classy, he should not have had that kind of room. It's Defending 101.
So we went into half-time 2-1 down, and while I'm not begrudging the Knights their lead – they at least had the ability to finish – I was left feeling as if there were more goals left in the game, and if that we bothered to actually look like we were interested, that we'd be scoring most of them.
As it turned out, there was only one more goal in the game. And it didn't even come from our own labour, as we struggled to finish off a series of chances and were also denied by some desperate Knights defending. No, our second equaliser came from an own goal.
|It could only have happened to Ljubo. Photo: Melbourne Knights.|
While there's people out there who've claimed that you 'couldn't make this shit up', Steve From Broady took a decent stab at it, having predicted in jest before the game that a Ljubo own goal would give South a 2-1 win. Close, but no cigar.
I have already read that some Knights fans think they could have got all three points if they finished a bit better in the first half. That's not an illegitimate position to take, but I reckon more important was our own attitude. Once we decided that we wanted to control this game, I think it became evident that we had more influence over this game's result.
When we come out to play, we are the equal of pretty much any of the leading sides in the league. When we seemingly choose to cruise through portions of the game, we look sloppy and second rate. The one saving grace is that last year, we were losing these games, relying on 15-20 minutes of OK football and three chances.
This year at least we're creating several good chances per game, and are at least putting together 45-60 minutes of solid football. It's not enough, but it shows we've made some progress, and that there's even more room for improvement. In contrast to a few people, I reckon Trent Rixon actually had a half decent game, even if it's frustrating for everyone that he's not yet on the score sheet this season. I'm not convinced that he's the best fit for the kind of pressing football that we want to play, but that's another issue entirely.
An Unplanned Detour
It's been fascinating reading other people's thoughts on this game. As mentioned earlier, Knights fans seem to feel a little hard done by based on their first half efforts, but afterwards feel fortunate to get a point out of the match based on their second half. One South fan saw the Knights putting on a lot of pressure on the first half, whereas I saw a South team that looked tentative and bereft of ideas, and even looking a bit slack, with the Knights taking advantage of that. It's another case of the same game and the same series of events being viewed differently by different individuals.
I only bring this up this week because in the course of looking back at Ljubo's brief stint at South, I came across this match report from 2011, when we got slaughtered 5-0 by Northcote (that we're playing them this week is a lucky co-incidence). One of our readers had a very negative reaction to what I had written, and I'd tried to defuse the situation with my patented 'let's trying reasoning with them' approach, before the Kiss of Death jumped in with a stronger, perhaps more hostile response.
Being a very sensitive soul, such criticism does take its toll on me, no matter how thick-skinned I pretend to be. Thankfully, I reckon most people who read this work are well aware of the context in which I'm writing - as a non-expert, partisan supporter. I'm also glad that most of the feedback we receive is positive, even for parts where the reader may disagree about our content.
|Brenton Hayward and Gus Tsolakis know it's a game of opinions. Photo Cindy Nitsos.|
In my mind, these are not different personas of the same writer, they are clearly two distinct authors. I realise that it's easy for me to say that; after all, I know who the Kiss of Death is. And yet people who know both myself and the Kiss of Death in 'real life', have been among the people who have equated the Kiss of Death's work with my own.
In taking this detour, my aim wasn't to ask any of my writers to pull back, nor to add further caveats and disclaimers on to my work - only to digress briefly to see how diverse the views on our game can be, even within a very small sample of of people.
Back to the game
Finally, while I don't think that it had a major bearing on the end result – our poor finishing and pretty poor first half did most of the damage – but the refereeing was pretty crappy.
This year is the Knights' 60th anniversary. As part of commemorating that event, there was a nice video played before the game and during half timeshowcasing the highlights of our rivalry. As it turns out there, were some not bad moments over the journey. There was also a commemorative plate given by South president Leo Athanasakis to his Knights equivalent Ange Cimera. When packing up the social club last year, I came across several such commemorative items, mostly dating back to the 1990s. I didn't realise that the practice still continued, but I'm pleased to see it's not dead in the water yet.
South Melbourne's under 21s were finally back in action on Sunday after two weeks with no game. South, taking on rivals the Melbourne Knights, were looking to get back into some decent form to push them up the table so they could get back into the title race.
South kicked off the match in sunny conditions. The first half was a very tight affair, with both teams struggling to gain an inch on their opponents with an equal amount of turn overs, balls into the box, shots and clearances. It was a fairly uneventful half but towards the end of the first half there was a piece of action that fired up both teams when a Knights defender put in a disgusting tackle on Anthony Giannopoulos in front of the Knights bench. Both benches were up in arms South screaming for a red and the Knights bench calling for a dive, which was quite embarrassing from the Knights as the tackle clearly should have seen the Knights player dismissed from the game - but he managed to stay on the pitch to the surprise of many at Lakeside and added more questions about the refereeing in the under 21s competition this season.
The first half come to an end with the score 0-0. The crowd was building up nicely as the second half began. South started dominating possession early in the second half and was creating good chances while moving forward. In the 53rd minute South were rewarded for their good start to the half when Cartanos picked the ball up on the edge of the area and blasted the ball across the keeper into the top right corner of the net to give South a 1-0 lead.
South went up another gear after that goal and continued to dominate the match and nine minutes later it was Cartanos creating a goal out of nothing as he smashed another long range shot into the back of the net. At that stage of the game Knights looked finished and South continued to dominate as the game came to a close. In the final minutes Solano picked up his second yellow card of the season for a silly tackle. It finished up 2-0 South Melbourne, the city is blue and white until the next time the two teams play each other.
Here's hoping this win is the start of a long winning streak which can send South to the top of the league, until next week get around it!!!!!!
Steve from Broady's Canteen Report
South's canteen was on centre stage this week after a cup round of disgraces worse than sliced bread e.g. (coffee stands closing at half time, canteens closing at full time of a cup game which is going into extra time). Anyway South's food van picked up its game this week, producing a quality souv with lamb that for once was not, dry a good portion of tzatziki and of course the legendary pita bread. After the game the canteen stayed open for the under 18s game which flabbergasted me after what happened last week. Anyway, I talked my way into a free kransky with the canteen woman. Besides the fact it was free, it was a pretty decent kransky, I rate the South food van this week an 8.5 out of 10. They're so close to that 10/10, can they crack it before season's end? Only the food gods know, until next week keep off the sliced bread.
- Pascoe Vale 10/10
- Hume city 8/10
- Bentleigh Greens 7/10
- Southern Stars 2/10
- Green Gully 1/10
- Dandenong DQ
South food truck
- Week 1, 4.5/10
- Week 2, 7/10
- Week 3, 8.5/10
|I'm still not sure why the Jordanians had a stuffed rabbit. Photo: Gains|
I don't like the Docklands Stadium, but at least most times you can count of having a half decent view of proceedings. Sadly this was not the case for me and my crew on Tuesday, where we found ourselves on the ground level behind the goals, about ten rows back, with the crossbar blocking a good deal of the view.
We did get to see a fair bit of first half action, but the second half frankly was a bit of a blur. I think I saw Cahill's header for his goal, but the rest was a bit of a mess, and we had to take our cues from the parts of the crowd who could actually see the action at that end.
We were two bays over from the Jordanian supporters, who made a bit of noise until they copped the first goal, and were heard less and less as they conceded more goals. As for the Australian home end, they were pretty quiet except for when Archie Thompson came on.
At half time, as per the New Zealand friendly at the MCG a few years ago, they gave out a few retrospective caps to national team players. I think I was the only person to cheer for Michael Curcija getting his. Some people don't get no respect, but I'm no longer surprised by it, and only a little bitter.
The dreaded Mexican Wave got a very good run. I much preferred the old fashioned foot stamping. Still, the team is one favourable result from another World Cup appearance, and we should be grateful for that, considering the sputtering mess that the campaign has been up to this point. Almost time to roll out the bandwagon again.
Rematch vs Northcote, this time at their place, and in the league. It's the start of a pretty tricky series of games - the good thing is, that after this game, they're mostly home games.
To a different Con from the one mentioned at the start, get well soon mate, and we hope to see you at South again as soon possible.