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.

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