Monday, 9 July 2012

Nice - South Melbourne 2 Oakleigh Cannons 1

What can one say? That was good to watch.

We moved the ball more quickly, we linked up well, as all our little flicks into space started coming off, and we should have buried Oakleigh well before they made a late flurry. Apart from the improved forward play, which has probably been in evidence for a couple of weeks now, the midfield seemed hungrier for action - there was some thrilling tackling in the middle of the field, and to cap it off, for once the loose balls seemed to end up with us.

Our set piece play, especially from corners, has also improved. We're actually now, more often than not, at least making the opposition keeper and his defence worry a bit, instead of immediately playing it short, or worse, sliding it straight out for a goal kick. The team will still make mistakes, but football is a 90 minute game, not a five minute highlights package.

Oakleigh was in mine, and a lot of the other South fans' opinion, very unlucky not to get a penalty in the first half. It seemed pretty clear cut from where I was sitting, but the ref just waved play on. Apart from that, a period in the first half where the Cannons had a string of corners, and one or two shots needing saving, they seemed a little short of ideas, though our defensive work was pretty good, especially that of defensive midfielder (and I hope he stays there, instead of being shuffled back into defence proper) Dimi Tsiaras was huge.

Ricky Diaco's late free kick was always going to go in - in my opinion, he's probably the best free kick taker in the league at the moment, his shooting in general being excellent - it was just a matter of how. The fact that it had to go through the wall was less than pleasing however.

It shouldn't have come down to Peter Gavalas making a fine save right at the end to give us all three points, instead of just one, and that will be something to be worked on.

Arthur Papas
Back in town, and for some reason back on the Oakleigh bench as 'team manager'.

Back Room Booze Bonanza!
Congratulations to the person who won the raffle, consisting of two or three bottles of booze, which I found sitting in the back of the social club's bar, and which had probably been sitting there since we moved out to Northcote.

For the health inspector dudes who read this blog, don't worry, the bottles were sealed (wine and rum improve with age, no?) and I tossed out the Bailey's.

Had to wait almost ten minutes for kick off, because the refs didn't do their due diligence and check the nets well before the game was due to start.

Freekick Frenzy
gif maker 
Photographer Peter Psarros has a nice knack for taking sequenced photos of freekicks - the sequence of Steven Weir's free kick against Northcote in round 22 last year was lovely - and this one of Glen Trifiro's 30 yard effort is pretty good too. I sequenced the separate images using some free site doohickey.

Turn that fucking shit off already, it's fucking bollocks.

Next Week
Green Gully, at home. Eleven rounds ago, after another inspiring win against Oakleigh, this is where our season began to fall apart. Our record against Gully but not at Gully is actually not too bad. We'll probably screw it up.

Still mystifying. Instead of maybe bringing on a defender to beef up the defensive end, we brought on three attacking players. Did it almost bring us undone? Perhaps. Curious to see Joe Keenan have a bit of a run as well.

The Things That Keep You Up At Night
The latest stupid Steve from Broady catchphrase which has taken off among a certain portion of the supporters. See also: 'Get around it!' and 'Put it in the Mixer!'.

Under 21s
Won 2-1. Anthony Giannopoulos' scissor goal for the team's second was unfortunately not caught on video.

Vlahos, Burton, Kelly, etc
Vlahos only had a brief period on the field as a substitute. Kelly wasn't in the squad. Burton impressed. While he certainly should have scored a goal or two, his mere presence was beneficial to the entire team, and especially to Trent Rixon, by taking some of the attacking workload off him. Added to the fact that Rixon has actually been used by his team mates over the past two or three games, and there's reason to be a little optimistic about the second half of the season.

Thanks to that shocking first half of the season, there's not much room for error from here on in. We all got excited with our gangbusters start to the season, and fell into a deep depression when it went the other way. Top three gives you the double chance and a decent stab at the championship. We're not even close to thinking about that yet. For now, it's about re-establishing meaningful contact with the top five.

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