Monday, 23 June 2014

Hellas eases past Alexander - South Melbourne 3 Heidelberg United 0

Well, Sunday got off to a completely amazing start when I forgot that the trams were fucked and that I had to walk from Collins Street down to the casino to catch a tram.

That was the day's first surprise. The second was to do with the food van - see below. The third was Jamie Reed being dropped from the starting eleven and being replaced by Leigh Minopoulos. Was it due to Reed's drop off in form or the desire to keep him fresh for Wednesday night's crucial Dockerty Cup quarter final/FFA Cup qualifier against the Knights? The latter seems less likely, as this match against Heidelberg was hardly short of importance - a derby fixture, first vs third, and an opponent with a long unbeaten run, I think stretching back ten games.

We didn't start off too crash hot, and were a little lucky to clear our lines from the first minute. Not long after though, Steven Pace bundled a cross into his own net and we were away. Then Matthew Theodore score from shot from outside the box, uncannily resembling his goal against the same mob all the way back in round 1. Milos Lujic more or less iced the game just before the half hour mark, when he tucked away a sizzling Brad Norton cross. An easy chance just before half time to make it four though was struck against the post.

The second half was mostly a mess to be honest. Heidelberg soldiered on, but couldn't do much with the few clear cut opportunities they had. They had one moment though that may have altered the game, had the referee awarded the goal - Jason Saldaris was caught off his line, and a long bomb over him saw him scrambling to stop the goal with a pretty clumsy effort. The Bergers fans thought it was over the line, but it wasn't given, with the linesman understandably nowhere near the speculative shot to make a judgment call. Does anyone have a spare $400,000k to install goal line technology at Lakeside?

It wasn't Saldaris' first nervy moment in the game either. In the first half he had delayed taking a clearing kick and ended up being forced to dribble around a Heidelberg player; later, the ball was either dislodged from his arms as he went to kick or throw the ball. The defence, too, is increasingly appearing to not want to risk passing the ball back to him. It's a tricky situation, as the team is top of the table, and none of the goals that we conceded in the Oakleigh or Goulburn Valley games were down to Saldaris mistakes. Does Chris Taylor wait for Saldaris to sharpen up? Does he make the call early? Or does he wait for the first critical mistake before something happens?

Matthew Theodore shoots and scores from the edge of
 the box. Photo: Cindy Nitsos.
Late on we got back on top and had a few more chances, after making a FIFA video game style triple substitution - off came Holmes, Musa and Lujic, on came on Dimi Tsiaras, Jamie Reed and new signing Stephen Hatzikostas from Bentleigh for his South debut, wearing the garish number 77. With the game as good as locked up, I would have liked to have seen the subs made maybe ten minutes earlier, as opposed to the 79th minute - get the subbed off players coming off before they get more exhausted, and give the subbed on players some more time to strethc their legs.

Reed in particular could have done with a bit of a longer run, because he seemed keen to get on the scoresheet and may well have done so had he had a little more time. As it was, he still had some good opportunities to get his name in lights, but he squandered those chances - it's not quite working out for him at the moment, but he looked dangerous running directly at the Heidelberg defence.

So, our four point lead at the top is maintained, and we put eleven points between ourselves and the third placed Bergers. Not quite back on track yet - one game does not equal a trend - but there were good signs out there yesterday that we're heading in the right direction again. Can you believe that's our fifth win in a row against the Bergers? Things going back to normal on that front after the horror that was 2007-2011.

Next week
The struggling Port Melbourne at home. But before that, apparently our biggest game in ten years, a Dockerty Cup quarter final on Wednesday night at home against the recovering Melbourne Knights, with the winner going through not only to the Dockerty Cup semi-finals, but also qualifying for the FFA Cup.

My assumption is that as per usual, your South membership will not get you entry into this game, but check with the club.

Chant of the day
Let's go, to the social club!

Necessary steps in the initiation of a newly found South fan
No. 34: Explaining the colourful history of the relationship between South Melbourne and John Markovski.

Lakeside Food Truck 2: Son of Lakeside Food Truck
I must have been that dazed and disoriented by watching the world cup that I didn't even realise that a food truck had returned to Lakeside until someone mentioned it to me halfway through the under 20s game. It looks like basically the same people and set up, with the same edible but overpriced food, which to mind is still better than the Chiko rolls available at the canteen opposite, even if they're only $2,80 each.

Me on Shoot Farken, talking about the World Cup
I've been tinkering with some World Cup match reviews which I was originally going to publish on here, but which have graciously been taken up by the good people at Shoot Farken, It's kinda in the style of this blog, albeit a little bit more stream of consciousness and pop-culture influenced, hopefully landing somewhere between Robert Christgau and Anthony Carew, which will mean nothing to the vast majority of you, but for those that do I think it's an interesting kind of comparison even if and when I fail.

Click on the links below for the stuff that's been released so far, and keep an eye on my Twitter feed for when new editions come out.
There's also interesting stuff by Athas Zafiris and a pretty funny story from Ben Munday who ended up watching one of the Australia games in Bolivia.

Around the grounds
You're frozen, when your heart's not open
Headed out to Paisley Park for the first time in a few weeks to see Altona East take on the much improved Preston. Preston were the better side by far in the first half, even if they needed one of the dodgiest penalties I've ever seen to take the lead. East's keeper reached a disputed ball on the edge of penalty area first, knocked it out for a throw in, before the Preston player collided with him. Nevertheless East were ordinary, unable to get a shot on goal until about 75 minutes in. After that, they had the bulk of the play, but seldom troubled the Preston keeper, and the game finished 1-0 to the visitors. It got bloody cold as well - Altona Magic side of Paisley Park cold. Feet different thaw out for about an hour after the game, which probably serves me right for wearing canvas shoes.

Final thought
Now I can finally watch SMFC TV again

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