Most people could find better things to do on a cold, windy, rainy Sunday... or so they tell me. Me, I decided to head down to Lakeside to check out the SM Women's game against Ashburton, and I was not disappointed. Well, mostly.
South had the advantage of a strong wind in the first half and had plenty of opportunities, most of which went wide across goal narrowly missing, and one that was turned out by the Ashburton keeper. The visitors made South pay for their missed opportunities by opening the scoring after the South keeper hesitated in coming out for a loose ball in the box. South hit back not long after though, so 1-1 at the break. I went off to get a souvlaki, the bloke watching the game with me made some comment about chewing gum, or chewiness, but the thing wasn't that bad today... still not a fan of sinew, but what can you do?
The wind died down a fair bit in the 2nd half, robbing Ashburton of its full power. They still managed to dominate possession, even if they didn't create too many clear cut chances. South struggled to clear their defensive lines much less launch an attack, and it seemed inevitable that South would concede. And so they did. And then another. And at 3-1 the game looked as good as lost.
Enter Laura Spiranovic. I still didn't think they could pull it back, but they got it back to 3-2, and the clock ticked away painfully. The referee decided this was the time to become an absolute twit by enforcing the foul throw rule - fair enough, foul throws should be penalised - but also making sure that players from both sides took their free kicks and throws from exactly the spot he thought they should take them from. And so combining these two elements, we had a fairly farcical passage of play lasting Chronos knows how long of infraction upon infringement until eventually one fan became so frustrated that he decided to tell the referee what for from the back of the Papasavas/Marmaras Stand (apparently the grandstand's name).
Anyway, time ticking away, Ashburton running down the clock, playing for time, South commit what I think will be their last attack of the game, and I'm about to give the game up. Except we make one last roll of the dice and bundle the ball in somehow... the whistle blows soon after the restart and South has an improbable but deserved point, the kind of point they haven't managed to earn off Ashy for a very long time (for the trainspotters out there, the last time we beat Ashburton was in 2005).