Saturday, 13 March 2010

Half full or half empty? Northcote 3 South Melbourne 3

Ok, so we got the first goal, a long range effort from Fernando - scoring it meant he'd scored the last four South season proper goals. But Northcote stuck to their game plan. We were playing high up the field, so Northcote stacked the midfield, waited for us to make mistakes - which we did - and then hit us with counter attacks marked by swift, direct movement of the ball, and clever exploitation of the gaping holes we were leaving behind defenders - which were exacerbated by us not pulling off the offside trap with any sort of competency whatsoever. Though Northcote's third goal was deemed offside by a number of witnesses, I wouldn't have begrudged them that one anyway - they deserved that lead. We struggled to penetrate through the middle, getting pinned on the wings, and were unable to make use of De Nittis in any meaningful way.

The 2nd half is harder for me to comment on, because I switched from the grandstand to behind the goals. How we looked in defense especially I'm not sure - Northcote made it up that far enough times for them to add another. But to their credit, our lads picked up their game. Some changes in personnel helped also. Sash Vranesevic showed some class - balls headed his way seemed glued to his feet, he put in some nice crosses, and generally made the right choices - playing alongside Joey Yousseff could be a plan of sorts - though, you know, playing two up front could also be a plan, regardless of who's up there. Daniel Vasilevski was all class with his finishes. And Fernando is finally, hopefully, getting back to the Fernando we know and love - though he was quite spent by the end of the game, with another pre-season interrupted by Futsalroos duty.

I'd like to think that we're close to something good. But I don't know for sure. We clear out some chinks in the armour, and new ones get introduced - and some of the same ones, like conceding another goal from a set piece, remain. We seem to have a plan b, maybe even c - but we don't necessarily know when to put it into effect. The lineup is unstable - injuries have played an effect, sure, but I'm not sure even Coveny knows what his ideal lineup and setup are yet - despite so many pre-season games. I think they'll settle on something soon.

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