Perhaps it's because a fair few of them live around Sunshine, or perhaps it's because they've got real high hopes for the upcoming season, but there were plenty of Knights fans at Chaplin Reserve. The MCF even had their 'MCF' and 'Against Modern Football' (whatever that means; a more accurate description would perhaps be 'against post-modern football') banners out. On the flip side the South contingent was very small. A couple of board members, some support staff, an out of action for this game (courtesy of a keeper collision in the Heidelberg friendly) Hamlet Armenian, the odd fan and one grand slam tennis line caller who turned up at half time. Of course attendance by South fans is rarely anything approaching awesome at these things, but this was pretty poor. Maybe they were at the tennis, or still on the forum banging on about Leo. Goodness knows the forum's rarely that lively when there's an actual soccer match to talk about, which is a little bit of a cause for concern.
Anyway, the game itself lacked any real fluency, on a level but rock hard ground. For South, Poutakidis, Diaco and Fernando played the first half, Natsioulas did not play. New South recruit MacDonald scored about 10 or so minutes in from a corner. Knights leveled after the break with Deano in goal. Perhaps a little against the run of play South scored twice late to take the game, with Caldwell providing a good low pass for the third for De Nittis to put away. A number of players from both sides received knocks. Fernando hurt his left knee, but should be fine. New keeper Neil Young collided with Ramazan, the former getting a cut inside his mouth as a result. Danny Miller somehow got a broken rib which made it difficult for him to breathe.
I'm concerned that De Nittis is still being persisted with in a midfield role, instead of his usual place up front. Goran Zoric is a real gem, but will his small stature work for or against us? A pleasing aspect was the hard tackling put in by some players, a very good omen. Not the most brilliant work from either side, but there were enough signs that both will be up there probably fighting for a top four spot. Most noticeable on things to work on for both sides was the back half. South's new look defense is still taking time to gel, but should have enough games in between now and Round 1 to sort most of them out, as well as working on linking up with the midfield. For the Knights, their defense seems a little slow, and a little vulnerable on the counter attack, so quicker sides, like South, may well be some of their more difficult opponents this year.
So now on to Saturday (tomorrow) where a decent squad will take on Port Melbourne at the Hellenic Cup, so that should be worth going to see. On the way home while sitting on a bench at Sunshine station, some nut driving by in a car I presume threw an egg which missed me by about a metre, hitting the rock on which the stolen plaque which contained the names of the victims of the Sunshine train disaster used to be. And also in between Spotswood and Newport stations there is a crateman on one of the buildings (west side). If it's still there by tomorrow might try and get a photo.