Monday, 12 May 2014

South make it eight in a row - South Melbourne 2 Bentleigh Greens 1

If this match report is even worse than usual, it's because I was busy chatting with interstate visitors, often not about the game at all.

We watched the under 20s get done 5-2 in what ended up being a bit of a rout in the second half, as well as the sandbagging of the new fangled sponsor boards so they wouldn't fly off onto the running track or the field of play like those from the last couple of years.

Discussed the awesomeness of this post, and of course Michael Lynch's 2012 VPL season preview, which inspired said post.

After second placed Oakleigh had cruised past the Knights on Friday night - more on that in the around the grounds section - the gap between us was once again closed to one point. Bentleigh for their part had coughed up their first loss of the year last week, meaning anything other than a win here would put them in a very difficult position at this early stage of the season.

Of course I ended up slagging off Mothers Day, and after being asked which public/religious/Hallmark holiday I wasn't against, I ended up with Royal Melbourne Show Day, which that jerk Kennett took away from us.

This is what happens when you use people's Twitter
handles instead of their proper names. Disappointed
now that Leigh didn't go for something more exotic.
And let's not forget the anguish caused by this result, or the cosmic injustice of this game.

When you've won seven league games in a row to start the season, and there are no injuries or suspensions to force your hand, it's kinda hard to change your starting eleven. And so it was that we fielded the same starting lineup for another week, though at least some of the fringe players managed to get some game time on the Wednesday against Berwick in the cup.

While it wasn't a uniformly quality game, it was exciting for pretty much the entirety of the 90 minutes and the five that the ref added on to the end. The first half was Bentleigh's, the second half ours. While we weren't without our chances in the first half, our poor final pass let us down time and again. At the other end, Jason Saldaris pulled off some fine saves to keep us at level pegging at half time. Bentleigh defended deep and in numbers, but were able to transition quickly as well as spread the play well to wide areas.

Fucken Cypriots - how do they work? Also Ernie Tapai, fridge magnets, Redheads nightclub, and for some reason former Heidelberg and Port Melbourne player Arthur Vatsanis.

The second half was better from us in at least starting to win the midfield, but the game got scrappier and our killer pass still wasn't there yet. The good thing was that Lujic managed to pounce on a loose ball, and it was us that took the lead rather than them. Did it change the game, or was that goal reflective of changes that had already happened? I can't really say for sure, but it probably came at just the right moment (don't most opening goals?)

I explained again the issue with the social club to people unfamiliar with the situation.

You, Strawberry, hit a home run. Photo: Cindy Nitsos
Lujic should have had a second a minute later when comical defending by Bentleigh on the edge of their 18 yard box saw the goalmouth lay open. Unfortunately Lujic's poke towards goal took a deflection and ended up rolling wide. But then the most obvious substitution in the history of mankind happened - obvious because it has happened so many times already this season in this exact same way - Leigh Minopoulos came on for Nick Epifano. And that caused the second most predictable thing to happen on an NPL field in 2014, that being Minopoulos being involved in a South Melbourne goal, this time as scorer, after he sucked in the Bentleigh defender with a dummy shot, and then tucked away yet another goal to add to his super-sub reputation.

Bentleigh was by far the toughest opponent we've faced so far in 2014, and despite the win - eight league wins in a row by the way - there were flaws exposed that will need management. Along the wings in particular, Bentleigh often got through far too easily - thankfully the desperation defending by James Musa and Michael Eagar got us out of enough sticky situations. Saldaris' kicking was erratic, but his command of the six yard box also left a little to be desired. That was conceded after Michael Eagar was substituted late as a precautionary measure (after getting copping a nasty blow) was also probably no coincidence, as the Michael Eagar Fan Club will tell you. One look at the injury crisis at Melbourne Knights will tell you how quickly the limited depth at pretty much all NPL clubs gets tested when even just a couple of injuries hit.

The people who I assume actually watched the game reckon Iqi Jawadi had a great game and was probably BOG, so who am I to disagree? And does it matter that we're not that thrashing teams in the way that Oakleigh are? Apparently not. And I'll tell you something else - if you're waiting for the round where Oakleigh and Bentleigh are due to take points off one another, you're going to have to wait until round 19, the same week we meet Northcote for the first time. If it wasn't for the fact that everyone will play everyone else twice, you could have sworn that the FFV got the fixturing committee from the AFL to do the NPL fixtures for this year.

Next week
Pascoe Vale at home. They're near the bottom, but have been more than competitive in most games.

After being disappointed by the FFV's highlights of our win at Ballarat - there was more to the second half than a solitary goal kick - I settled in to watch SMFC TV last Tuesday, and instead got fishing. Fishing! What a terrible crime against humanity. Apparently it was all too do with technical difficulties out at Channel 31. Of course it ended up on youtube afterwards anyway, as did the latest edition of Minute with Mala.

South fans win (sorta) share (a very small one, if that) of (pretend) award
One of our readers, Savvas Tzionis, posted in the comments section last week an excerpt from Joe Gorman's A-League awards piece in The Guardian - and it's a good thing he did too, because as much as I like Joe and his writing, I wasn't going to read the article until Savvas popped with up the fact that we got a mention:
Best Twitter stoush
Scott Munn and George Calombaris, who traded insults over Melbourne Heart and Melbourne Victory. Munn made fun of Victory's 5-0 loss to Wellington Phoenix (despite Heart being bottom of the table), Calombaris called him 'Mr Munt' and the best part was when South Melbourne fans accused Calombaris of being a traitor to Hellenism because of his new loyalty to Victory. Not to be outdone, Richard Garcia and Jerome Polenz's little internet battle was also good fun.
So thanks to Savvas for letting us know about this tidbit, and well done to all those South fans who put in the hard yards, even though I think the award should have gone to 'Ezequiel Trumper vs Everyone'.

Lakeside to host 2015 Asian Cup teams
While travelling out to Berwick on Wednesday, an interesting question was raised - would Lakeside be hosting any of the competing teams? Well, after asking around, it seems we'll be hosting the Socceroos in the lead up to the tournament. Some of our more anal retentive readers may recall that Lakeside hosted the Saudi national team in the lead up to their crucial 2014 world qualifier back in 2012 - which they went on to lose, so who knows if it did them any good.

FFV Hall of Fame nominations open
Know someone worthy? Then head here to find out more. Even if your candidate doesn't get up this year, their nomination is kept on for future years.

Football Federation Victoria (FFV) is accepting nominations for the FFV Hall of Fame. 

The FFV Hall of Fame recognises extraordinary performance over a career by participants who have made a significant contribution to the game in Victoria.

This year's inductees will be announced at the 2014 FFV Gold Medal Night later in the year.

The following people have been inducted into the FFV Hall of Fame since it began in 2010:

2013 - George Wallace, Janette Melvin, Alan Davidson

2012 - Theo Marmaras, Jane Oakley, Paul Wade

2011 - Michael Weinstein, Theresa Deas, Tom Jack

2010 - Harry Dockerty, Betty Hoar, Jimmy Rooney

Click here for the FFV Hall of Fame policy and nomination form.

For any queries regarding the FFV Hall of Fame, please email Executive Assistant to the CEO, Charlotte Greer, at

Around the grounds
A short lived experiment of a national body comprised of several incompatible warring states, held together by a corrupt self-serving central bureaucracy, which would inevitably fall apart with spectacular results. Was the NSL our own Yugoslavia? Discuss.
Even with their very good record at Jack Edwards Reserve - apparently they hadn't lost there since 2006 - it was always going to be an uphill battle for an injury riddled Melbourne Knights to not lose this game against the best team in the competition. And so it turned out, with Oakleigh eventually running out 3-1 winners, and it could have been so many more had the officiating and the Cannons' finishing been more compliant. Still, assembling such a great team is probably easier when:
  1. You can get away with putting more sponsors on your shirt than is apparently legally possible.
  2. No one is probably ever going to publish the player points tallies for 2014.
Still, on that sponsorship matter and for whatever it's worth, there were a lot fewer sponsor boards around the ground on the perimeter fencing than one is accustomed to at Oakleigh. What's up with that?

At the end of the game, the MCF people deviated from their fascist chants, the chants about Yugoslavia (like the NSL, Yugoslavia's gone for good - can't we all just move on?), the 'North Sunshine is so wonderful' chant and whatever other chants they sang on the night, to perform the Croatian language version of the 'sack the board' chant. At least, that's what I assume they were chanting - after many years on the World Game and Football Anarchy forums, I did manage to pick up that 'uprava' means 'board, committee or administration', and after six losses in a row I think it's safe to say that they weren't chanting 'this committee is doing an OK job under very difficult circumstances, so we'll be patient and support them'. The bloke running towards the fence to heap passionate (English language) abuse on the team also kinda gave it away. Tough times at Somers Street, but Oakleigh keeps rolling on, still undefeated in the league and probably still spewing that they rolled over in that Dockerty Cup game against Werribee City.

Stop the madness! Start the movie!
These new fangled referees. The match between Altona East and Cairnlea at Paisley Park was almost called off because the ref thought it was too wet. Too wet! There were no visible puddles on the field, the ball was bouncing during the warm ups, and this bloke wanted to call the game off. Luckily someone from the visiting team got on the blower to the FFV, who apparently told the ref to play the damn game, which turned out to be a very entertaining and end to end affair.

Is there any moment as transfixing in soccer, as when from a free kick the goalkeeper is rooted to his spot watching the ball fly by? When you're on the receiving end, it's terrifying. When you're on the shooting end, there's that sense of possibility, the momentary near certainty that the ball is going in. Too bad for Altona East, they were on the receiving end, with the ball cannoning in off the post. Soon after they equalised, but eventually lost the game when they gave away a fairly cheap goal. The game concluded, we all started walking back to our cars, when we noticed that a very serious looking melee had started on the field. For a match that had had no spite in it whatsoever, this was a disturbing turn of events. Thankfully, the ground marshals and the calmer players managed to sort it out before it got completely out of hand. How it started is anyone's guess.

Final thought
I accidentally left my 2014 team poster at some pizza place on Bourke Street.


  1. Went to grab a poster after the game yesterday (wasn't really interested in holding onto a poster for 2hrs) but the whole setup had been dismantled and moved on.

    Looks like I snoozed and losed, or should that be snozt and lost?

  2. Points of interest (to me at least),

    1. The scoreboard was not working. Doe to lack of use because of our lack of home games thus far?
    2. My friend is a 'paid up' member of Heidelberg (in other words she got a freebee). But she has no one to go to the games with. I said I would be willing to do the old NSL baton change (you must remember that Heidelberg home games and South games were always scheduled on alternate weekends so that all good Hellatzides can go and watch our second team when Hellas was interstate), and be her viewing partner whenever possible this year. I checked the fixture and in their infinite wisdom, the FFV have scheduled nearly all Heidelberg games at the same time as South games. Is this another effort to distance 'New Soccer' from 'Old Soccer'?
    3. I hate 5pm starts. What was wrong with 4pm starts? Yesterday was no problems because we are not in Winter yet, and the weather was very mild,
    4. My friend George, who I have only ever socialised with at Hellas games, made the pertinent observation that AFL (and he loves his Australian Rules as much as, or even more than Soccer) is bloody difficult to watch these days. And Soccer, which used to be known for its defensive and tight games, is now the open non stop game.
    5. Who were those lovely 'spray tanned' blondes in the President box.
    6. I said to George that our keeper hasn't really been tested yet this year. Two seconds later he pulled off the first of two point blank saves. Wry smiles all round.

    Savvas Tzionis

    1. 1. Maybe mucked up by other parties? Software crash?
      2. Probably not, but it is unusual that this has happened after so many years - even during NSL days - of having alternating home matches with the Bergers.
      3. Whatever time you pick, someone won't like it. I like 3PM myself, but you're never going to please everybody.
      4. Depends which matches you go to - standard South fare was always attacking football, no?
      5. Absolutely no idea.
      6. I'm more worried about corners and set pieces.

    2. SMFCTV folk were saying the Lakeside Stadium staff reset the screen, and there wasn't enough time to reconfigure it before the match.

  3. Pretty clear that the FFV Hall of Fame criteria is 3 inductees per year, two blokes, one woman. Great affirmative action rewriting history right there...

    1. One male player/coach, one female player/coach, one administrator/referee/etc.

  4. It took Maramas three years to get in? really

    james H


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