Monday, 31 December 2007

Day whatever: Compatible

For whatever reason the goddess Fortuna has now seen fit to make editing with Opera compatible, which is great. Also sorta fixed an admin/editing issue, so if you see at the bottom two 'Pauls', they're both me. Logo probably coming soon, manifesto probably sooner. Thanks to amongst those who few I have shown this blog to who have given encouragement.

While you were sleeping, part 2.


* During the pre-season, South defeats Oakleigh in the Hellenic Cup final on penalties, triggering the most half-arsed pitch invasion in history.

* Also during the pre-season, a young Dutch defender named Jasper Valentijn makes his mark, and is never seen again except in the annals of myspace.

* A highly professional membership drive (by VPL standards) is enacted, but despite the effort, the membership numbers remain essentially the same.

* A press-release is er, released, signifying South's intention of making a bid for the A-League. Lots of people get very excited, and hell, even optimistic.

* South gets off to a reasonable start, but poor squad management (everyone knew those players were going to leave for the A-League) coupled with a goalkeeping crisis, leads to some very inconsistent results, from which the side never truly recovers.

* Owing to a foofoorah between certain people at the Australian Open tennis and Water Polo championships, South decides to play its home match with the Melbourne Knights behind closed doors. The FFV says no. The Police have it both ways. The FFA looks the other way. South lose, as the game is never played, and the three points are awarded to the Knights, using some sort of FFV logic.

* A breakaway faction from the Clarendon Corner supporters group, calling itself Gate 1, forms.

* Despite playing pretty crappy football throughout the tournament, Australia almost in spite of itself, almost reaches the semi-finals of the 2007 Asian Cup.

* Halfway through the season South hosts the Melbourne Victory in a pre-season warm up match for the latter, and gets spanked 5-1, with Nathan Caldwell scoring for South. But the game will be remembered more for the large crowd (7,000), the large amount of flares ripped by the visiting fans, with one hitting fringe South player Andrew Bourakis in the head, and the argle-bargle which essentially lead to the dissolution of Gate 1, and which also earnt them the nickname, 'gate one game'. The optimism of the press-release dies a lonely death.

* South struggles to score for the rest of the season, except for a brilliant 5-2 thrashing of Oakleigh.

* South's finals chances come to a dispiriting end at Ralph Reserve against Western Suburbs, losing 3-0. A 2-0 win against Kingston in the last round follows, but no one really gives a toss.

* A bit of a clean out starts taking place.

* Some people, for reasons perhaps known only to themselves, start peddling the notion that 'big things' are in store for the club.

* In a rather strange coincidence, the club's coterie group is renamed Southern Cross, the same name as an alleged bid of the second Melbourne A-League license.

* South starts off preparation for season 2008 proper by winning two meaningless games against Altona Magic and Coburg United with a bunch of nobodies who still got to live one of my dreams by playing for South.

Friday, 28 December 2007

While you were sleeping, part 1

This is for those former readers of Park Life (and anyone who has just woken up from the last two years) to get them up to speed, more or less. Yes it's incomplete. Feel free to add stuff in the comments section, or maybe I'll accept your offer of joining me on this literary crusade.


* South fields a full strength side against the Oakleigh Cannons in the Hellenic Cup final, with hopes of winning not just the game, but also the $10,000 in prize money. They fail.

* A couple of days later, South takes out the FFV's pre-season cup with a very young squad against Fawkner Whittlesea, and wins only $5,000.

* After the big crowds against Heidelberg in all three games the previous season, and on a perfect day for football, an underwhelming crowd of about only 5,000 turn up in round 1 to watch South steal victory with two goals at the death.

* Australia plays Greece in a friendly, and a big crowd turns up and watches Australia win a pretty half arsed game.

* A few days later football's growing popularity is reiterated when the Matildas play Mexico. Despite the obstacles of soccer and world cup fever, a beautiful day and free entry, Bob Jane Stadium was bursting at the seams with the massive crowd of 150 patrons, including the massive contingent of 3 Green and Gold Army personnel.

* After losing a few players to the A-League during the season (Coveny, Salley) and probably some others to injury or 'bad' behaviour, South 'recruits' three players (Dino Djulbic, Andreas Oliveira and Antonion Naglieri) from the Frankston Pines. These players become a crucial part of the side immediately, though Naglieri will only be missed when he's gone.

* The World Cup comes around, Australia do quite well, and football becomes even less eviler.

* An injury to star striker Kevin Nelson sees him leave the club in acrimonious circumstances. The fact that he had the first touch of an elephant, mostly couldn't be arsed jumping, running or defending, and mostly only finding himself in correct positions by accident, has little to do with his departure.

* South finishes the regular season in third place, on the back particularly of strong form in derby games (5 wins and 1 draw against the Bergers, Knights and Preston).

* South earns a grand final place after consecutive wins against Green Gully and Altona Magic. In the grand final itself, also against the Magic, 5,100 or so people turn up on a cold and very windy day to see Gianni De Nittis head home Fernando De Moraes' cross from close range, to lead South to a 1-0 victory and its 8th state title. Most South fans are at least momentarily happy.

* World footballing legend and South's 1991 NSL championship coach Ferenc Puskas passes away. Thankfully, very little of his time in Australia is mentioned in the media, thus avoiding publicity for South Melbourne and any mention of football pre-2005 without reference to an ethnic riot.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Day 1: Incompatible

Have realised, much to my dismay, that this blogging software does not get along with the wonderful Opera browser, and thus I am being compelled to use Firefox. Either that or have text chopped off or have odd line breaks.

Zeus induces Chronos to vomit up his children

While searching for Lester Abalos and smfcboard simultaneously on google cache (the internet equivalent of an archaeological dig, only much less magical), I came across some bloke's old SMFC blog which, as he somewhat fatalistically predicted, only lasted a couple of weeks. His parting shot was if anyone wanted the url, he'd hand it over. That was in January 2006, so it's perhaps no surprise that my plea in late December 2007 to take over that blog has gone unheeded. So undermining my own tendencies of not trying very hard unless someone makes me, I decided to start my blog, which I know is a really cutting edge move.

I suppose this blog will contain the occassional match report, general thoughts on the club and game, sensible soccer 96/97 updates and mostly correct spelling and/or grammar. It will also eventually likely have some kind of logo, but at this moment I'm off to play Kartrider.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Round 22, 2007 - Altona East 6 Pascoe Vale 2

Quite busy chatting with people during this game so the recall isn't flash. Pretty laid back affair, Paco in particular never seemed too interested, except for when they scored their first goal.

1st half
1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 3-1

Goal in the 2nd minute, cross to the back post from the right which Tolli eventually put away. Goal in the 14th, Juri running down the left, into the box and slotting it. Paco pulled one back and started looking a little more interested, but their keeper then committed seppuku of sorts coming out to the edge of his box, didn't make the clearance required, and the ball was sent back over his head into the empty net.

2nd half,
4-1, 5-1, 6-1, 6-2

Could have been more, but why complain when you get six? Paco's 2nd I believe was off a free kick that hit the crossbar and had the rebound followed up, the rest of the goals are a little sketchy, Gaffa scored one from a 2 on 1 with the keeper, could have raffled it. A great way to celebrate Paul Donnelly's testimonial, and probable retirement.

Reserves, 3-1 to East, good way to finish the season, young squad that got better as the season went on, mid-table finish, not too bad.

Considering how poor we were last season, at the beginning of the year I would have been happy avoiding relegation. As it turned out, we only did just avoid relegation, but with a team that probably should have finished somewhere in the top three. Losing Tex early on was a setback, took awhile to recover and start scoring again, but it's also good to see Tex doing very well for his new club. Failure to put teams away early, and subsequently copping goals often from lapses of concentration cost us, but overall I'm fairly content, because we played some very attractive football throughout most of the season, and it was such an even league, almost anyone could beat anyone else on their day, and so it proved on quite a few occasions. The three away derby wins in the 2nd half of the season were the highlights for me, in particular the 7-1 against Willy, our best game of the year offensively and defensively. Losing three 3-2 games probably the biggest disappointment, you'd think one would fall your way but alas. Likely to be some turnover playing list wise, some players near the end of their careers, others may be disgruntled with lack of opportunities and may seek their fortunes elsewhere, we'll see.

In conclusion, I've enjoyed doing these basic write ups this season, and enjoyed the banter as well, see you all next year when we do it all again, and others of course will be seen earlier at the Hellenic Cup if it goes ahead next year, always a chance that one of the pools could be played at Paisley Park.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Round 21, 2007 – Altona East 2 Maribyrnong Greens 3

Kill me. Kill me now. Please. I beg you. I can't take much more of this. Thank goodness the season is almost over. This is the evil biased view of the game, but I'm sure whoever usually does the Greens games here could provide a more balanced view for NosaJ and friends.

First half saw East going towards the golf course end. Both sides started very patiently. This worked more to East's advantage as they were allowed plenty of time on the ball. East squandered three chances in the first ten minutes, one hit the post, a cross whipped in from the left was smothered by the keeper when it reached it's destination and Tolli sprayed one wide after doing well to get inside his marker. The inevitable came about on 17 minutes when East's keeper cleared the ball straight to the opposition (when he could have passed it laterally) who took it up and slotted a nice goal, 0-1. Two minutes later, the Greens doubled their lead, a nice move finished from the left, 0-2. Greens got a very dubious offside given against them, not sure if anything would have come from it, but it looked to me like there were two defenders in front of the recipient. Towards the end of the half, East picked up their game again, and hit the crossbar twice, i think maybe sprayed another over, but pulled one back right on the stroke of half time, a long range free kick from the right was met by Freddy Pedrotti at the back post and headed across goal, 1-2 at the break.

Second half, Greens were the first to spurn a good chance when a shot was put across the face. East levelled in controversial circumstances on 58 minutes when a contested ball was out forward and the move ended up in a goal. The linesman raised his flag, then put his flag down, then chatted with the ref for a while who awarded the goal. Both sides tried to get the winner, the Greens smashing a scorching free kick against the crossbar from range, but neither side seemed to have that final cutting edge. And so it proved to be the case for the rest of the match, including the visitor's 90th minute winner. An unnecessary free kick was given away on the left hand side, the ball was whipped in low, bounced maybe once or twice, eluding everyone, especially the keeper who I reckon wasn't even ready, and that was it, 3-2 to the Greens, who rode their luck in the first half but gave as good as they got in the 2nd, while East's failure to put away teams early once again haunts them as they lose their third 3-2 game for this year.

Also forgot to mention. How can a player who uses both hands to stop the ball in mid air only be given a yellow? And I've seen unsporting behaviour, but supporters deliberately booting the ball over to the other side of Paisley Park to waste time? That's pretty low.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Round 20, 2007 – Altona East 1 Thomastown 2

The first half was very high tempo. The teams were playing like it was the first game of the season, and the skill level matched that. Balls were almost randomly being pinged every which way, each side trying to outdo the other at trying to get the ball forward as quickly as possible. East missed two great chances early on, twice balls cut across the face of goal that only needed a half-decent finish but didn't get them. After a long while of no real chances for either side, Thommo went ahead on 34 minutes, a very well placed free kick leaving everyone rooted to their spot. East squandered another chance late in the half, a shot going just wide, 0-1 at the break.

East scored almost directly from the restart, a Juri shot from range which everyone seemed to think was going over dipped and smashed into the crossbar. Thommo doubled their lead on about 57 minutes from a bizarre goal. A free kick from the seemingly harmless half way line floated forward and a poorly marked forward flicked his header back and over the East keeper who was off his line, and into the back of the net. Two minutes later Thommo had what was, in my opinion at least, their first genuine chance when a ball cut across was saved at point blank range by the East keeper. Thommo could now afford to play on the counter and control the tempo of the game. Their coach was banished from the bench after ignoring numerous warnings to stop arguing with the ref. A half cross/shot almost added to Thommo's lead, the ball seemingly set to bounce into the keeper's arms only to take a very high bounce and hit the crossbar. East got themselves back in the game on 72 minutes, when a free kick out wide on the left was sent to the back post and an unmarked player easily slotted it home from very close range. East tried valiantly to get the equaliser, their best chance being a searing run form Juri, the ball falling to Gaffa who fucked up what should have been a certain equaliser sending it over the bar. And that's pretty much all she wrote, 2-1 to the visitors.

This game was played on Altona Magic's side of Paisley Park. I was impressed with some elements of Thommo's play, and less so with others. They work reasonably hard, and are a pretty quick side, the kind of team East has struggled against most this season in general play. Their number 5 has one of the longest throws i've seen in quite a while, worth its weight in gold. Their number 18, the black kid, is very fast, but not altogether there when it comes to decision making. Their left hand side of defense is not nearly as good as the right hand side. How many coaches do they have? One guy on the spectator side of the fence was almost as influential as the rest of the coaching staff, and was told to move away from the bench by the linesman; he then decamped to the defensive half to continue giving out instructions.

Thommo won the ressies 2-1, overcoming a goal conceded very early on, and scoring the winner thirty seconds from full time, which if I'm correct in this assumption wrapped up the reserves title for the season.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Round 19, 2007 – Yarraville 0 Altona East 2

Pretty average game. The surface at Yarraville is absolutely shocking, and the quick burst of rain just after the ressies game (1-0 to East) didn't help matters. East started slightly better, but generally their through balls were too long and Yarraville's keeper wasn't scared to come off his line to collect. Best chance for East was more an accident than anything. The keeper punched the ball away but not very far, was headed over him back towards goal, and with the defender on the line waiting for it, bounced high enough to hit the top of the crossbar. Yarraville asserted themselves better as the half wore on and had one shot cleared off the line, but neither side was particularly inspiring.

Early in the 2nd half East had one cleared off the line which really should have been put away, Gaffa sent one skyward from about 6 yards out after excellent work by Juri on the byline, and with Yarraville looking pretty average, it looked like it was going to be a scoreless affair. But on 75 minutes East took the lead, Juri finding himself with plenty of time outside the area, hitting a wonderful dipping shot which the keeper had no chance of saving, 1-0. Three minutes later, Gaffa found himself with a huge amount of space and only the keeper to beat, and after making it harder for himself having to dodge a couple of defenders as well, he put it away, 2-0. Yarraville tried a little more after that, but couldn't get even a consolation goal.

East were hampered by the awful state of the pitch, but generally lacked intensity as well. Yarraville fought hard, but didn't have the cattle on the park to do the job. Perry Mur was reffing, and he got into a bit of a verbal stoush with some Yarraville fans, chastising them for their lack of originality.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

South Melbourne 0 Fawkner Blues 0 (soccer-forum artefact)

Not a bad game, but not a great one either, both sides had chances to take it. Fawkner actually came out and tried to score goals which was refreshing, and didn't look too bad at doing it. Playing mostly on the counter, if they played like that for the rest of the season they might very well survive. South still should've taken the points, hit the woodwork twice, cleared off the line etc. If Fawkner survive this season they'll have Tilovski to thank, and if they don't, surely there'll be a number of clubs lining up for his services.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Round 17, 2007 – Altona East 1 Keilor Park 1

Owing to not knowing about a change in fixturing times bringing this game forward about 50 minutes, i only caught the last 50 minutes of this game. Keilor were up at the break, and East equalised about 10 minutes into the 2nd half. Both sides had good but generally limited chances to get the winning goal, but other than that i don't feel i could write a summary based on seeing little more than half the match.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Round 16, 2007 – Altona City 1 Altona East 6

Lot of aggro in this match right from the start. In the first meeting between the sides this year, City were tough but fair, but today seriously lacked discipline and picked the wrong ref for it too.

It was an even opening few minutes, East shading possession and territory, struggling a little perhaps with the large dimensions of the ground, but probably more so with the very bumpy surface. They took the lead on 15 minutes when a cross from the right was headed towards goal, saved brilliantly onto the back post, stayed in, eventually coming back from the right again for the headed goal, 0-1. City fluffed a chance shortly thereafter, but got the equaliser on 20 minutes when a nicely hit corner to the back post wasn't cleared properly, and the ball was put away quicksmart, 1-1. On 40 minutes, Tolli finding himself with little support tried a low shot which beat the outstretched keeper and went in off the left hand post, 1-2. City ended the half with 10 men when one of their players were sent off on about 45 minutes.

East scored immediately from the restart, a mazey run from Tolli ending up with a chipped goal, 1-3. City found themselves another man down soon after, but conversely with East trying to protect their buffer, City got more of the ball and more territory, with East looking a little nervy at times, but nothing came of it. East went 4-1 up on 68 minutes, a cross to the back post from the left tucked away, game over. The game degenerated from then, with East getting a player sent off after making it 1-5 in the 78th, and City eventually somehow finishing with 7 players on the park. Icing on the cake was a 90th minute goal, but by then the game was a farce and East were cruising for the last 10-15 minutes or so, the game having been done and dusted with no need to bump up an already healthy goal difference. East were pretty efficient in front of goal today, but weren't hugely impressive (the 7-1 against Willy was much a better performance all over the park in comparison). City were exhausted by the end, a game they'd probably want to forget about pretty quickly. East have a massive test next week against Keilor at home.

South Melbourne 5 Oakleigh 2 (soccer-forum artefact)

I thought it was a really good game to watch, but i don't expect any less when you have two good sides who are looking to score goals, unlike certain other outfits who think crossing the halfway line is an achievement. Finally we played a game where we played well for the majority of the match, rather than 20-30 stellar minutes. Waterson was BOG, left everyone in his wake on so many occasions it wasn't funny, but Ricky's free kick was the outstanding moment of the match.

Friday, 27 July 2007

2007 Hellenic Cup Final - South 1 Oakleigh 1 (South wins 4-2 on pens - soccer forum artefact)

Touching a ref is just something that you should never ever do, no matter what the comp, one of those things that goes beyond the game itself, so should make no difference what kind of comp he was playing in.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Round 15, 2007 – Altona East 2 Moreland City 3

Not one of the best games I've seen, despite the amount of goals (the 0-0 against Werribee a couple of weeks back was of a far better standard in my opinion, despite he conditions). East could have wrapped this up in the first 15 minutes. Four genuine chances gone begging with some good keeping and a little luck. On about 20 minutes East's keeper piss farted around with it instead of just clearing it long, which led to a Moreland corner/throw in/whatever, the ensuing cross had a header flicked across goal and headed in for the opener. Five minutes later they had a shot from outside the box go wide. East got back on top after that, and eventually got a penalty, which was slotted away nicely by Gaffar (who had won the penalty) on about 40 minutes, 1-1, at the break.

Moreland were a better side in the 2nd half, both sides fairly even. Moreland got what to me looked like a soft penalty, which they put away for the lead once more. A bit of controversy for East's equaliser, as the cross came over the top with the keeper missing it, it hit East player's elbow, but the referee (and linesman) was on the wrong side to see it. Slotted away, 2-2. Moreland's winner about 15 from time, was a very disappointing way to lose the game. For some reason, about 3 East players peeled away from the area into which the Moreland player in possession was due to run into, he slotted a decent through ball, which our keeper probably really should have run out and at least deflected if not collected, but he did neither and was beaten on the angle, and that was the game. Moreland had one more chance on the counter but didn't take it, and East couldn't muster up too much by the end.

Some thoughts.
A studs up tackle is a studs up tackle in the 5th and 85th minute. So why won't refs give cards early on when they have the opportunity to impose the rules of the game, and discourage players from putting in bad/silly tackles? This has been really infuriating me this season in particular because i reckon it's getting worse.

Moreland tread the line between hard and reckless when it comes to tackling. One of the least impressive teams I've seen so far, but they're more than competitive, as opposed to Lalor, and they put up a better fight than Yarraville did.

Speaking of Yarraville, ex-coach Fred was there, seems much happier, and unless he's being using Just For Men, the colour (or at least, a deeper shade of grey) has come back into his hair.

How important is positioning for a keeper? Being in the right place gives you a much better chance of making a save, even from point blank range. Some keepers should take note.

One Moreland old fart seemed to check his sense of humour at the gate. After a sliced attempted clearance in defence went up into the air and was caught by the keeper, some wit yelled out 'backpass', and this guy thought he meant it.

Reserves, score was 2-0 to Moreland, both goals in the 2nd half, East put some ok moves together, but defensive fuck ups and Moreland's much more experienced team were pretty much always going to win this one, i caught the 2nd half. Was funny and perplexing to see Twist and Shout used as a club song, but it's all good.

Big game this week, Altona derby. Six points from 3rd to 10th, and we need to start racking up the points. This week is as good as any place to start.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Round 14, 2007 - Williamstown 1 Altona East 7

I said that there'd be one unlucky team this season that would cop a belting when East's chances went in, and the prediction thankfully came true today.

First Half
I think about 14 minutes in East ran the ball up the field, and slotted it nicely past the keeper. 0-1

Willy hit back within a few minutes, a stuff up in defence allowing Willy a relatively easy goal, 1-1.

East player evades two sliding tackles as he streamed forward, eventually easily beating the keeper, 1-2.

Late in the first half, great pressure by East on Willy defensive right hand side, stolen, ball taken up, cut across the face of goal, defender puts it in his own net, 1-3.

Second Half
Free kick whipped over the top for a header, 1-4.

The next two goals i can't remember the sequence.

Cross from the left, ball flicked with the head over the keeper, 1-5.

One i can't recall, 1-6

At the death, low close shot unable to be held by the keeper, scrambled over the line, 1-7.

East did almost everything right for the entire day, except after scoring the first, where they for some reason stayed back and let Willy have time on the ball. Their pressure was fantastic, their pace overwhelmed Williamstown far too often. Willy were kept to few chances, and East had others they could have scored from, but nevertheless, a wonderful performance today, and their hunger to go on with it the icing on the cake.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Round 13, 2007 – Altona East 0 Werribee City 0

This game should be known as the game of the missing goals. Difficult conditions today, rain throughout the whole game, muddy and sticky in some places, bouncy in others, crowd mostly huddled under the limited cover. East going to the golf course end in the first half.

Very even first period, with the Bees having the better chances. East's keeper saved a one on one in about the 2nd minute, both sides had crosses and shots go across the face or wide at the near post. Near disaster for Werribee about half an hour in, after fluffing a golden chance, the ball went up the other end and the attempted clearance by the Werribee keeper hit Marco Tolli i think and rebounded just wide of the goal. Bees also missed a shot from 6 yards out, shot over the bar.

Second half East the better team, but the Bees never out of it. The visitors discipline started slipping, as more rash tackles started coming in. East had a few goal mouth scrambles they couldn't put away, while Werribee were denied late with another brilliant stop by the East keeper, from a passage of play that should've perhaps been called offside. Game should've finished about 4-4 but finished scoreless. Such is life i suppose.

In normal conditions the game would have more than acceptable. In the conditions provided, the game was excellent. Both sides were quick, tried to keep the ball on the ground, almost universally played very fair (very few stupid tackles) and looked to attack.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Round 9, 2007 – taking a detour – Williamstown 5 Yarraville 0

First time venturing out to JT Gray reserve. A bit spartan but welcoming nonetheless, though the ground wasn't in great nick, and the ball was bound to bobble around. Willy heading to the social club end in the first half.

Four minutes in, cross to the back post squandered by Willy. About 11 minutes in, Willy player on the right strolls between two defenders, beats a third, shoots and scores, 1-0. Yarraville have a good header from a cross saved on about 15 minutes, and a shot from moderate range saved in the 17th, but Willy grab their 2nd on about 23 minutes. Ball/cross/corner can't remember from the left, goalmouth scramble, shot, goal, 2-0. Yarraville tried and occasionally put something good together, but 2-0 it was at the break.

2nd half, at about 53 minutes, long ball dealt with poorly by the Yarraville defence, 3-0. Not long after, a corner from the right headed in at the near post, 4-0. At about the 75th (?), free kick over the keeper's head, 5-0. Willy wasted numerous golden/unmissable chances and could have well doubled their tally by the end, but sent most of them over the bar. Yarraville for their part got worse as the game went, but still had some ok chances, a couple of shots/crosses across the face which could fallen well for them but didn't.

Willy are slowish, but reasonably skilful and very efficient. Yarraville are energetic, sort of, but generally barely competent. The Yarraville coach is a nutcase, resembling a 1970s VFL coach, from back in the days when yelling and belittling players was considered the height of technical thinking. Many on the sidelines wondering why Nick Tsaltas is still getting a game. Surely the boys who recruited him would have seen him play last year?

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Round 8, 2007 – Altona East 0 Yarraville 0

Entertaining game, shame it was goalless, but I'm starting to expect East not to score goals so not as disappointed as i perhaps should be. First half was quite willing, and a good even contest. Both sides looked to attack, Yarraville looked to tee up shots from the edge of the box, and that yielded perhaps their best genuine chance of the first half, a shot gone wide. They also scored a goal called back for offside, and a had a couple of dipping freekicks go just over the crossbar. East tended to piss fart around with it outside the area, but also set up some good chances, and perhaps deserved better from some of the corners they got, one which flashed across the face of goal.

Second half, East got on top, controlling the midfield, and limiting Yarraville mostly to counter attacks. East's pace on occasions was fantastic, plenty of good runs, and some good chances too, but no goal. Best chance was a spilled/saved shot by the Yarraville keeper which really should've been blasted home but was alas only half-chipped back into his arms.

Decent crowd which was good to see, tore my pants coming back over the fence after having a kick on the ground at half time, my fellow Hellas following mate was pleased at recognising Ryan Dinse playing for Doxa. Overall, while there were certainly scrappy elements of the game, the standard was quite pleasing, and some of the individual skill shown by the PAOK players in particular was very good. Should have got the win though, story of our season perhaps.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Round 7, 2007 – Altona East 0 Lalor United 1

This is the kind of game that if you're on the losing side makes you want to give up football and take up knitting, except for the fact that you probably won't see another one like it for a long time. Altona East absolutely dominated this game from almost beginning to end, but have nothing to show for it except yellow cards, a broken nose, a very angry coach and a lot of effort wasted. Sunny conditions, half moon visible in the eastern sky, golfers and the miniature train audible in the background, moderate slightly chilly wind towards the refinery end, and East went towards that direction in the first half.

East started off well, and within minutes already had numerous chances, despite being down a man for a little while, while a player got attended for a bloody/broken nose. The best of the early chances was a free header from a corner sent over the crossbar. Lalor tried to get into the game, and when they got the ball they weren't totally useless with it, but they got so little of it that it was a moot point. East thought they had scored on twenty minutes when a cross from the left went across the face to the right, back across again and in, only to be called back for offside. East continued to press while the Lalor keeper tried to marshal his beleaguered defence as best he could. East peppered the left, right and over part of the goals, and occasionally got one on target, Lalor's best was having a shot blocked, half-time, 0-0.

Second half, if possible, East dominated even more. Shots were getting on target, being blocked, crosses flew across the face of the goal, plenty of free kicks in various positions, but no dice. One East player even knocked himself out on one of the uprights, quickly came to, asked what happened, the Ref replying, “You ran into the post mate”. The game went on, surely East would score? Er, no. On about 70 minutes or so, Lalor took the ball up and scored. I can't even remember the passage of play, except that it started from a throw in from the left hand side of defence. East desperately tried to pull the goal back, and Lalor had more room and opportunity to grab another, but neither side could add another, and with the ground covered in a cold shadow it finished 0-1 to Lalor.

Credit must got to the Lalor keeper. Had a very good game, especially in the 2nd half when he was obliged to make a few good saves and cross intercepts. But perhaps most enjoyable was his upbeat demeanour, his instruction and encouragement to his defenders was something a lot of keepers could learn from I reckon. The officials were actually pretty good today i thought, though the epidemic nature of FFV refs steadfastly refusing to almost ever give a handball call continues. The reserves game finished 1-0 to Altona East. I caught the last 25 minutes of this very scrappy affair, the goal being pretty much the sole ray of sunshine, a lovely lob over the keeper from an acute angle.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

South Melbourne 6 Springvale White Eagles 0 (soccer-forum artefact)

Three goals in each half. Only time Springvale really did anything was from the 30-45 minute mark where we took the foot off the pedal, but by then it was already too late. SWE aren't very good, however today was one of those days for us where we scored some ripping goals as well, when against Fawkner for example we missed two from a metre out. Go figure. The back half is a little suss, but the front half when it clicks is good to watch. Havuibng Baser back makes a noticeable difference, we're keeping our shape better and there is much more fluency is our forward movements

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Round 5, 2007 – Altona East 2 Altona City 3

A bit late, but what the hey... Entertaining, but nevertheless very average game standard wise. East were horrible in the first half, City at least put a lot off effort into their defending, and created a few chances as opposed to their hosts who could only manage one underhit shot for the first half. City went ahead about 13 minutes in I think, very slack marking from East, City player had about 5 years to put it away and he did. After about 20 minutes, 2-0, bizarre mix up in the East defence, players including the keeper all out of position, and the ball eventually went in.

East coach chucked a wobbly at half time, but City got the goal on about 55 minutes, a nice counter attacking move with a good finish to boot. Game over one would have thought, but City fell away as the game went on, and East pulled a goal back in controversial circumstances with the incoming cross appearing to be knocked out of the keeper's hands for a headed goal, but i was too far away to make that judgement, maybe he hadn't hadn't caught it cleanly? Later what some said was a foul about metre inside the box was given as a free kick which East hit into the wall. City player got sent off late for a second yellow card. Goal for East with about five to play, and all of a sudden it was on, but City held on for a deserved win. East improved markedly in the 2nd half, but one shouldn't expect miracles once you're 3-0 down, but at least they've broken their goal drought. City are the hardest working side I've seen so far in VPL or State 2, but can they run out games? Finally, refereeing was shocking for both sides more so for City, some perplexing decisions and non-decisions.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Round 3, 2007 – Altona East 0 Williamstown 1

Decent game, with the better team not taking the points but that's football i suppose. First 5 minutes or so Willy better team, until the East coach sorted out the situation on Willy's left hand side which was where they initially seemed quite dangerous. For about 25 minutes thereafter, game became a bit of a midfield battle, both sides willing but unable to penetrate, both some crappy passing at times but also good defending contributing. Only real chance of this period fell to Willy who sent a header wide from about the six yard box after 15 minutes.

A minor push and shove melee eventuated on the half hour mark, and after that East clearly the better team for most of the game. A couple of underhit shots, numerous crosses which no one went for and a skied ball from a good deep cross (when it should have been centred/cut back perhaps) were the only things to show for it, 0-0 half time.

Second half, Willy recovered somewhat, but East still looking more likely, but on about 55 minutes the whole East team seemed to go to sleep, and with quick movement down the right hand wing all the way to the byline, cut back goal, Willy 1-0. East rang the changes, but couldn't get the goal. Missed opportunities included an almost own goal, a powerfully struck free kick which the Willy keeper parried well in front of him with no follow up in sight, and a great sliding effort to knock the ball out for a corner from a shot. Willy perhaps should have had another goal late, though this was on the counter as East were looking for the equaliser.

Willy are an ok team (love the retro looking longsleeve tops), they can hold the ball and pass it, but again as with East's game against Sunbury, the pace that East have will worry a few teams, especially once they start using it defensively to shut down the opposition, as they did for most of the match except for that sequence of play where they conceded the goal.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Protest detail missing - Fawkner 0 South Melbourne 0 (soccer forum artefact)

Game was shit. Fawkner had the best chance of the first half, but the shot from a poor clearance went wide. Second half South improved, but still lacked fluency, and the crossing was very poor, but they got better as the game wore on and as Fawkner were more willing to settle for the point. Diaco got to the byline well a couple of times, but on both occasions South failed to capitalise. Tilovski made a good save from another shot, and Caldwell at the death following a stuff up between the keeper and the defence failed to put away a gimme goal. First time seeing Fawkner this year, not a finals side, will be happy to avoid relegation. As for South, a better team on the park then last year, but the difference between their best and their worst has also opened up a bit, last year much more even i felt. Need Baser back asap.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Round 1, 2007 – Altona East 4 Sunbury United 0

Funny old game to start the season. One relegated team, one promoted. East got off to a blinder with a goal in the first minute, Sunbury giving the ball away cheaply in midfield, and East putting away the chance well. Sunbury started to get into the game a bit, put on about 5 minutes of extended pressure with some scrambly defending from East. Then about 13 minutes in, a quick counter attack from Altona, 2-0. Sunbury had a couple of good chances they should have put away, one shot over the bar from very close range i think. I believe one of their blokes got sent off about half an hour in, can't remember. East had a shot across goal, another disallowed for offside by Tolli, but went into the break 3-0 up with Tex completing his hat-trick while i was getting a souvlaki. Fairly even first half apart from the score-line.

Second half pretty much all East, another goal disallowed for offside again by Tolli, a few one on ones missed (including a bizarre one where Tolli hit it into the keeper, came up ok but only managed to hit the post with an open goal), but late in the game, he got his reward when he rose above the pack from a corner to send his header over the keeper and into the net, even the ref gave him a pat on the back for it. East's pace and fitness troubled Sunbury more and more as the game wore on, to the point where they were almost strolling through the defence, could have been 8 or more if not for better finishing. Not that I'm an expert or whatnot, but Sunbury look like they'll struggle this year. East defensively aren't great, but have some pace to play with up front.