Perhaps you can start by saying, "Geez, I've got a bad feeling about this game", but that's pretty much every game these days. Hell, maybe even the whole last six years.
You can ponder the merits of the lineup. None of the Dandy Thunder players available due to being cup tied. No Alan Kearney, suspended. No Dimi Tsiaras, I assume for the same reason. Shaun Kelly still out injured. Norton out of position at centreback. A crippled Rixon getting another start, sans walking frame. At least Gavalas was cleared to play in this game, and Fernando got a rare senior start.
There should be no excuses about having played a game just two days beforehand. Preston had done the same. Our squad is larger. You'd have thought that playing an opponent two levels below you, who have some admittedly OK players, but who are still only sixth in their half of their division, we should have still sauntered this in, relatively speaking. Instead, we made seriously hard work of it, and perhaps only the soccer gods destroying the visiting side with a series of bad luck saw us eventually get over the line.
Full credit to Preston. They gave it pretty much everything they had. They didn't completely park the bus. They took most of their chances, and perhaps only the aforementioned bad luck stood in their way. There were diehard South fans shaking hands with Preston supporters after the game; not out of arrogance, but out of contrition for winning an admittedly entertaining game that we perhaps didn't deserve to do so.
A dog chasing its tail wouldn't go around in as many circles as we did last night. As one wit noted, that dog would probably have got bored of doing so long before we would. Falling behind early to a fantastic and seemingly inevitable goal - there were several Preston players lined up waiting to shoot from better position if need be - shouldn't have been disastrous, as we still should have had the time and the firepower to make it up in the end. Instead we wasted a couple of good chances by shooting wide, refused to shoot at other times and even reverted to short corners.
When Rixon was onside we didn't play the ball through to him. When he was offside, we did. At the other end, our defensive line was all over the shop, allowing Preston to play through balls beating our offside trap, as well as looking rickety and nervous on the ball. While we had most of the ball, at times our passing was beyond dreadful. Preston goalkeeper Nicholas Kostadinovski did well when he was called upon, intercepting loose balls when faced with one on one situations.
The red card dished out to Preston in the first half was ludicrous. It was a second yellow, for what appeared to be playing the ball too quickly from a free kick after having been warned not to do so by the referee. Still, we went into the sheds at half-time wondering when we were going to wake up and finally put away the visitors.
It took longer than expected, and required some more help from the soccer gods. First there was more pain, as Sanni Dauda nabbed his second of the game with a header at the near post from a corner, taking advantage of some atrocious defending.
Then the pendulum swung back our way. About an hour in, Kostadinovski, apparently suffering from an extreme bout of cramp, was unable to continue. He was replaced by a 16 year old. Within a minute, a Fernando de Moraes cross to the back post was headed in by Rhys Meredith, and we were back in the game.
Still we had to butcher several chances after that - most notably Nicky Soolsma hitting the post from a sliding attempt, and Tyson Holmes blasting the ball into Clarendon Street from a simple chance - before we got the equaliser. And even there we needed a touch of luck to level the scores against an exhausted Lions outfit, after Preston conceded an own goal. A Fernando free kick from out wide on the left eluded everyone to give South the lead, and soon after he scored his second to put the game completely out of Preston's reach.
Probably any other player celebrating in the fashion that Fernando did after scoring his goals against a fourth tier side would have been entirely anathema to me, but he gets let off the hook for the sake of long service and obvious love for this club.
Game Smfc vs Preston Lions tonight!If you don't love the club you can't play this game!Massive derby!It was our first win under Chris Taylor, and our first win since we beat Northcote in the cup back June 10th. We haven't won a league match since May, when we convincingly beat Oakleigh.
— Fernando de Moraes (@nandojogado) July 23, 2013
It's nice though to still be in the hunt for at least some silverware this season. Our next opponent - in the semi finals if you can believe it - will be Green Gully, at a neutral venue, with other semi-final being between the Thunder and George Cross. We'll have to play about a billion times better than we did last night to have a realistic chance of making the final, but at least we have shot at it.
They Only Come Out At Night/Working Overtime
|Waiting For Godot, VPL style. Photo: Michael Dimoudis.|
I guess today tonight and ACA will have to stick to Stories about Boat People and Laundry Powder.
— Paul Touliatos (@pavlaki1969) July 23, 2013
There was also this comment by the famous (infamous?) Benjamin on the 442 forum:
Ch 9 had a camera van outside Lakeside last night, ABC tried to get in (without tickets) to "promote state league football" and were told by security to "come back on Sunday". Everyone wants to stir trouble.
There wasn't any, by the way.
"Promote state league football". Now I've heard everything.
Renco Van Eeken Fruit Watch
Apparently nothing happened on that front last night.<
See comments section for an update.
Member Information Evening
It's at Beachcomber, August 6th. The sacrifices I make for this club. Anyway, they'll be discussing A-League (snort), National Premier League (make it happen!), social club (what's that?), the junior pavilion and football (what about soccer?).
Spencer Street Station Shenanigans
Met Sebit Muon and another youth player on the way home last night. Told Sebit that Steve From Broady is a huge fan of his, and discussed the game briefly, as they had been at a training session. Cool story bro and all that.
Back to league duties, with a home match against the Thunder.
I suffered from a dizzy spell after the second goal. Following this club is not good for my health.