Sunday, 13 April 2014

Perfect start to 2014 maintained - Hume City 0 South Melbourne 3

Was there a player in the under 20s match who was wearing a headband? Iqi Jawadi, sitting behind me in the stand during that game, seemed to think so, and what's more he was jealous of that player being allowed to do it when he himself wasn't allowed for reasons unknown to me.

As for the seniors, that first half from us wasn't crash hot. Going forward we were disorganised and slightly careless, sending through balls forward that were almost always over hit. We also resorted to too many long balls, which were easily dealt with by the Hume defence for the most part. Even though I guess we were going to the end favoured by the breeze, it's not like it was last week's four goal wind. Besides, it was as much as a crosswind as anything. Jamie Reed got angry at Milos Lujic, Milos Lujic got angry at the linesman with the oil slick hairdo, and I was wondering how the hell we were going to score aside from the possibility of a Hume defensive clusterfuck, which almost happened anyway.

Defensively, things weren't looking much brighter. Hume hit the post with a well taken free kick which went out of Jason Saldaris' reach, and were particularly penetrating on our right hand side. It's a wonder we managed to limit them to probably just one real clear cut chance, which ended up being fluffed with a weak attempt on goal. So, 0-0 at halftime, and I was wondering what we were going to do to turn the game in our favour.

The second half was altogether a very different story. Ladies and gentlemen, we dominated. We controlled the midfield, played well out of the back, and were starting to get forward in a much more organised manner. Still, you gotta get the goal to make it all count, and my was it worth wait for when the deadlock was broken.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Either way, Referee Perry Mur
 doesn't seem to give a toss. Photo: Cindy Nitsos
A lovely bit of work from several players on the left saw centreback James Musa make a run forward, cutting the ball to the top of the 18 yard box from where Nick Epifano - who ran himself into the ground today - put the ball out of the reach of Chris Oldfield in the Hume goal for 1-0. It was the best bit of play we've put together all season. Hume finally managed to get it up to their end in a meaningful manner, but couldn't make their big opportunity of the second half count. Who knows what would have happened if the game had gone level?

Instead a few minutes later, Epifano was the beneficiary of more good work up the field, this time by Jamie Reed I think, making it 2-0. The most pleasing thing about these first two goals, is that they weren't dependent on opposition mistakes, the kinds of goals of we've had the fortune of scoring from a few times this season. Of course they all count the same, but it shows that it's not just our pressure and the frailties of the opposition that can get us goals - we can create them from scratch, too.

We got one of those fortuitous ones in the end, as Milos Lujic made the most of Hume's poor and confused attempt at clearing a cross. At 3-0, this game was done, and the important thing was to not get some yellow cards or injuries. Both seemed under threat when on the grandstand side, a tangle of players decided to try their at some wrestling maneuvers. I think we managed somehow to get away with both from that incident, though I'm not quite sure how. The second half was the best football we've played this season. It may not have been as exhilarating as some of the other games this season, but for effectiveness, it was very good.

Getting home was a bit of a slog, as it usually is from there if you're doing the public transport thing. Didn't hang around to clap the players off this time, instead trying to get out as quickly as possible to cross the no good option Barry Road. Then power walking (by my standard) up the hill, then down the road to the station, where at least this time the lift was working. Made it in time, but boy the legs were sore after it. Had some random on the Werribee train claim to remember me, even though I was in year 10 at the time and she was in year 7. 15 years on and she still remembers my face. I had no idea who she was though.

Anyway, four from four and top of the table. Things could be worse.

Can someone tell me where the line for too ethnic is exactly?
We've spoken about Hume's new grandstand and facilities before, and they were augmented today by a nice, sunny day, a surface in excellent condition, and a decent PA system, even though I'm not sure how they get away with their theme song with its prominent chorus of 'Anadolu'. I'm kinda disappointed that they use the slick version of the song, when they could be using this version instead.

Also, what's the deal with getting the red and white seats when you've changed the strip to a black and white deal?

Next game
The undefeated (only played two matches) Ballarat Red Devils at home on Thursday night. Why this got moved to Thursday from Wednesday, I'm not sure. I suppose it's a good thing that we're not a religious club, what with it being Μεγάλη Εβδομάδα and all that, when 98% of Melbourne's Greek community remembers that they're Orthodox.

Oh yeah, get there early to pick up and/or buy your memberships.

Jersey night rundown
Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands. And the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewelry. - John Lennon
Some interesting things happened in between the times I was checking Twitter etc for footy and NPL scores. Interesting lay out for starters. This year both the 'indoor' and 'slightly less indoor' areas were used. The latter was used as a sort of poor person's purgatory, which doesn't bother anti-social me, but might have made it harder for people to socialise if that's what they wanted to do.

It actually reminded me a bit of the way the tutorial I was in for 'Freedom and Constraint' at Melbourne University was set up back in 2002 (taught by this bloke), with the good looking and popular students on the main table getting all the attention, with whoever was left over ending up on the other table in the back corner of some really poorly designed and selected room. Now I'm not putting all the blame in my failing that subject on that arrangement - after all, I did fail eight subjects during my year and a half stint there - but it didn't help.

Look, women! Here come some now!
As mentioned last week, South Melbourne Women's FC have a new president, albeit with much of the same people still on their committee. Last night some of these people were at the jersey night, and the implication seemed to be from the presentation that we were - at the very least - on the way to reconciling the two factions. Unfortunately, not very much detail was provided on that front, so it's hard to know exactly what's going on. Cause for optimism?

Tweets will set you free, check the tweets
While I hope my cynicism is misplaced, I'm less optimistic about the social club situation being resolved in our favour. Local member of parliament Martin Foley was there, and he gave a little bit of a speech after being made no. 1 ticket holder for 2014. As part of that speech he asked for the current state government to honour the deal made by the previous state government with South to give us our 40 years and let us complete the Lakeside facility.

A commendable sentiment, which was taken up quite quickly by a couple of serving committee members on Twitter. For example:
which is a little different from this one:
comments which were followed by a tweet from Foley himself:
Which seemed an unusual comment to make, since the current state government has actually come out with some detail about what the issue is, as they see it. The question I wanted to (and then did) ask Foley was:
The answer to that is not yet known definitively. Short of hoping that Labor win the upcoming election - and as yet I've seen no ironclad guarantee yet that they will deviate from the Liberals' policy position - what is the plan for resolving the situation, either by taking the government on or acquiescing to their preferred 21 year model? Maybe time to crank out another letter to John Eren or something, and maybe this time I'll get a response.

Overall, it was an enjoyable evening. The food was a step up from the previous year's offerings at this venue. Soup as a starter(!) instead of the usual antipasto and dips, garlic bread, good mains, and dessert that wasn't fruit or a cheese platter. Stay tuned to SMFC TV and South Radio for related things that happened. How the hell did I live my life before Twitter and before having a phone that could easily and cheaply access Twitter? Sometimes it feels good to be part of the present instead of my usual existence in the past.

Around the grounds
Part 1 - Golden rays of sunshine light a Coburg afternoon
Moreland City were at home to Sydenham Park, on a field that was surprisingly not bogged down after recent rain, but rather had. After an even start, Sydenham took control of this match and eventually ran out deserved 3-0 winners. The first goal was quite nice, as it involved a nutmeg on the byline. Tommi 'Gomer Pyle' Tommich in the Sydenham goal had very little to do until the last 15 minutes, when the visitors went down to 10 men but were already 3-0 up. The inevitability of the result seemed to calm down the Sydenham coach, with his massive chin and fan-like yelling of instructions every two seconds.

The downside? There was no HP sauce this year. Even worse, I didn't win the raffle. Massive props though to the Sydenham player who copped a yellow card for letting loose at the ref with a 'пичка ти матер', after an admittedly pretty crappy no advantage call.

Part 2 - Ξεκάρφωτες μαλακίες 
For the first time in many years - probably since 2003 - the Paisley Park derby between Altona Magic and Altona East was on. The NPL shuffling of the decks  has seen the Magic demoted to East's division, and the home side marginally had the better of it in the first half, though East had the half's best opportunity - any shot on target would have done the trick, but it went over the bar instead. The second saw Magic step up their game and begin to take more control. They opened the scoring with some neat play around the box, a pass inside to an unmarked striker, who popped it into the back of the net while East were waiting for an offside to be called, which is pretty stupid, because it wasn't offside.

East were never out of the game though, and eventually snared a late equaliser from a goalmouth scramble, and were able to avoid defeat with the last play of the game, when some Magic player headed his effort from the six yard box wide when it seemed harder to miss than score. I think 1-1 was one of the two fair outcomes for this game. There was also a bit of ETHNIC VIOLENCE when one old man slapped another old man, after the latter dared him to do it during what initially appeared to be a half joking conversation.

Magic's raffle prices are a bit of joke by the way. $2 for one ticket? Moreland was selling them for $1 each or three for $2.

Frenemies department
Listening to 3XY Radio Hellas the other week, I was surprised to hear one George Triantos being interviewed on the phone about the South game against Gully. What happened to our being blacklisted? When did we drop the mutual animosity? Why didn't I get a memo about this? I'm feeling all disoriented.

Speaking of which, when I went to listen to the show today, all I got instead was the Oakleigh Cannons show, by which I mean some Orthodox Palm Sunday church service.

At least we still have Elias Donoudis to hate without fear or favour.
Final thought
Victorian soccer hasn't been the same since the nut sellers stopped stocking παστέλια.


  1. Replies
    1. Your love affair with the Knights is holding you back though.

    2. Also, congratulations to Brad Norton on reaching 50 games at South.

  2. Still haven't been to the upgraded John Ilhan Reserve/Valley Park. How's the facility? Do they have a doner in their social club?

    1. Yes they have a doner. The facilities are good, streets ahead of what was there before.

  3. This was the day I knew we would win the title. We plateaued last year and perhaps this year, but we have not looked back since.


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