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.

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