Monday, 6 August 2012

Angles - South Melbourne 2 Hume City 1

No bells and whistles in this piece. The experience just didn't live up to anything other than mediocrity except for a three minute period at the beginning of the second half.

I hadn't seen that kind of weather at a South home game for few years - perhaps as far back as the 3-1 win against Heidelberg back in 2006. Rain swept across the arena, sneaking into the stands, courtesy of a breeze that blew strongly towards the lake end. The 'toblerone' ad cushions were being blown all over the place, with the volunteer marshals trying ever more elaborate ways of holding them in place. Metal poles, sandbags, bunching them together, all of them futile. Eventually most of them were stacked against the fence which seemed to do the trick.

The first half was not dour per se, but it lacked a certain amount of oomph. Neither side was able to get much of note going, though they generally tried to play an on the ground, moving around style of game. There were a couple of headers that we should have done better with, but that was pretty much it.

In fact the most exciting thing to happen during the first half was when the ref stopped the game temporarily to remove a pair of scissors found on the pitch. How they got there is anyone's guess. Good thing no one was hurt.

The second half started first with a whimper, followed by a bang. After a botched kick off, South ended up scoring more or less directly from the kick off. Rhodri Payne managed to work his way to the byline, where his cross was brilliantly flicked into the net from a tight angle by Steve Burton. Maybe it was just me, but I reckon that on the second kickoff after the botched first one, Payne was already a good 10-15 metres inside the opposition half before the ball had even been kicked. Maybe I just saw it wrong though.

Andy Vlahos made it 2-0 soon after, with a goal that was all class, though also borne of necessity. Having found himself at the edge of the penalty area, and with negligible support, Vlahos cut in hit the ball into the opposite corner. Hume's keeper Oldfield, who had a good game, was no chance of saving it. It had been an exciting three minutes or so, but the question then became what would we do for the rest of the game.

As it turned out, we'd fluff several counter attacking opportunities (Joe Keenan's first one was probably the worst - why not just take a shot?), and let Hume back in the game with a goal that has divided those who saw it as to its merit. Hume's in form striker Hegarty collected the ball out wide on the right, still some distance out. None of the three or four South players chose to commit to him, deciding to hold off. Having eventually reached a more central position, Hegarty than unleashed what to some looked like a powerful shot, while to others, like myself, it seemed like a comparatively weak effort from distance.

Gavalas in the South goal stood rooted to his position in the middle of the goal, as the ball rolled into the near corner. Could he have saved it? Did he see it too late, what with all those bodies in the way? Did his lack of a dive or any sort of attempt to move across to the shot add culpability?

The goal obviously encouraged Hume and they came close on a few occasions to leveling the score, particularly in their use of aerial bombardment. The closest they came was when a a header near enough to the six yard box was saved brilliantly by Gavalas, acting on pure instinct to recover at least some of his reputation among those who blamed him for Hume's goal (and indeed, for his uninspiring goalkeeping stint so far in 2012).

We managed to eventually waste enough time, getting a valuable three points. Not every week can be 5-0 wins or awesome comebacks in injury time. Still, it doesn't mean I have to like the result any more the absolute bare minimum. Now we're three points from fifth, with Melbourne Knights away first up. Their season, in terms of finals aspirations, is pretty much done I reckon, and they aren't having the best of times at the moment, but they'll probably come out firing. There's no point in looking any further ahead than this week.

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