Monday, 16 June 2014

Hello midseason slump - South Melbourne 1 Goulburn Valley Suns 1

Our annual mid-season slump was probably overdue.

Despite an energetic start by the Suns, we opened the scoring early on thanks to a cracking turn and shot by Tyson Holmes. Just five minutes later horrid defending led to a Suns chance which was finished delightfully.

How would our team respond? By taking a bloody long time to find any sort of rhythm, and spending so much energy bypassing the midfield with hopeful long balls. Yes, Goulburn Valley stacked the defence, but we've got to be smarter than that.

Eventually we did wise up a bit, and towards the end of the half we were getting behind the defence, putting in some dangerous crosses and getting closer to retaking the lead. The out of form Jamie Reed probably should have scored, but was denied twice by the Suns' keeper from close range. We did manage to get the ball into the back of the net for a second time, but Perry Mur called it back for a foul on the keeper.

The second half started OK - Milos Lujic got pulled down inside the box, and we got a penalty. Unfortunately Reed's shot was well saved, and the irony of ironies was upon us - that we had managed to get a penalty against the team which had been getting them almost on a weekly basis, and we couldn't make them pay for it.

Indeed we got the rub of the green on the refereeing front. How Lujic didn't get sent off for that vicious tackle which took out the Suns defender with what looked like a possible broken I have no idea - the sound was sickening, even if it was only the sound of a shinguard.

Unlike the first half bombing effort, we managed to get plenty of balls into the box and started to make better decisions, but the final pass was off, and when it wasn't, the finishing didn't do the job. Injuries also started to appear, with Tim Mala appearing to come off with some sort of injury. Andrew Mullett started in left back in place of the suspended Brad Norton, but was swapped at halftime for James Musa, who did a much better job in that position. Quite how we bungled up that last ditch chance, when the goal seemed to be beckoning will remain a mystery.

'One of those days' has now become two of them, and now the mental resolve of the players will be seriously tested. At the end of the game, one of our fans asked the question 'what did they get out of this game playing the way they did?' and the answer to that is simple - they got a point, a point they perhaps weren't expecting to get, and which in the long run may not be enough to get them out of relegation, but you've got to start somewhere.

Within the space of two matches our lead at the top has gone from nine points down to four, after Oakleigh beat Ballarat away 1-0. Still, halway through the season, I'd rather be four point ahead than four points behind.

Next week
The much improved Heidelberg at home. A derby match with huge stakes - us trying to right the ship before a coincidence becomes a trend, while the Bergers will be trying to keep their at present slim championship hopes alive. Should be a cracker. Hopefully more South fans show up than yesterday - where was everyone?

Under 20s report with Skip Fulton @NPLVic_Football
South Melbourne 3 Goulburn Valley Suns 0

The U20 team continued with their form turnaround this weekend against Goulburn Valley (GV) Suns at Lakeside Stadium. Since a change in management with U15s coach Sasa Kolman coming on board back in May the team has won three of their last four matches. Oakleigh was going to be a big ask last week as they are leading the ladder and are undefeated. A winning return to the field this week was a clear demonstration of team work and individual skill.

Josh Markovski celebrates after scoring the opening goal.
Photo: Skip Fulton
I was diving for the camera and missed the details of Josh Markovski’s effort to open the scoring in the fifteenth minute to put SMFC on the board. I was however able to capture his attention-grabbing salute to the rest of the team in celebration of his goal.

Coach Sasa Kolman was keen to get into the action around the thirty minute mark and rushed on to the pitch to contribute to a robust discussion Ryan Babare was having with the opposition about tackling strategy. Sasa was quick off the mark and showed exceptional pace easily arriving a few metres ahead of the GV Suns coach and about ten seconds before the referee. Disappointingly Sasa didn’t really add much to the conversation but clearly the GV Suns coach agreed with Babare, launching a verbal attack on his own player.

SMFC U20s Coach Sasa Kolman gets into the action on field. Photo: Skip Fulton
Babare was soon again in the action with his free kick near the right corner curling into the goal area narrowly missing a leaping Andy Kecojevic. Passing through the area across the face of goal, it was #42 on the end of it who rifled the return cross (let’s call it a cross and not a shot). Kecojevic with a perfectly timed right foot tagged it into the net for the home team’s second goal. An impressive result considering the pair only had to beat five defenders and the keeper.

Andy Kecojevic taps in a cross to score for SMFC U20s. Photo: Skip Fulton.
After the half-time break, the GV Suns launched themselves into attack applying constant pressure forward and controlling possession of the ball. This dominating display lasted for about twelve minutes before the boys in blue reminded them they were playing the Oceania Team of the Century. Some poor defending allowed a free kick to make it all the way to the keeper and Kecojevic was on the spot to tap it into the top of the net. The referee must have been temporarily blinded by the sun or something as the flag was incorrectly raised for offside robbing Kecojevic of the double.

Shortly after the nameless #42 laid a shot on target that was blocked right on the line. A fast moving Babare was quickly on hand to tap it in taking the score to 3-0 in the sixty first minute. These rest of the match set the scene for the upcoming seniors battle. Controlled possession and attacks into the final third, scoring opportunities but unable to add to the scoreboard.

Overall a good team performance with man of the match going to the nameless #42 with speed down the left flank easily getting in behind the defence. It was the fifth win of the season for the team and the move up the ladder continues. The 20s have leapfrogged Goulburn Valley and are now in eighth.

Next week the team takes on bottom-of-the-ladder Heidelberg United who this weekend got pumped by Dandenong Thunder 7-0. The match at Lakeside Stadium kicks off at 2.45pm and the biggest challenge during the week will be figuring out who #42 is!

Ryan Babare’s action pack game sealed with a goal. Photo: Skip Fulton.
Strange rumour department
Someone on smfcboard has posted the following:
Watch this space...

Oakeligh to potentially lose points for playing an illegally registered player since the start of the season. Player has been sent back to his country by customs. South lobbying ffv to impose a sanction. It's getting dirty...
Στα χαρτιά, as the Greeks are fond of saying.

All right, all right, what's all this then?
Remember when I covered the 2014 jersey night from behind the safety of the protective glass at Beachcomber? Remember how I mentioned that representatives of the South Melbourne Women's FC were in attendance, and wondered if there was a whiff of reconciliation in the air? Well, my interest has been piqued this week by noticing something that's probably been there for a very long time - that the 'women' tab on the official site links to this site.

Match reporter needed for game against Hume next month
There's a very good chance that I'll be heading to Sydney next month for a conference, which will almost certainly mean that I'll miss our home league match against Hume.

In that spirit I'm looking for someone to do the match report on that game for the blog. You can do it in your own way - no need to copy whatever it is that I try to do. You can choose to use your real name or a pen name. All I ask from you is that it is in my email inbox by Monday morning, and that it's on the right side of defamation law.

Your reward? My gratitude, your work read by some famous people, and your name on the blog's hall of fame.

My preference is for a Hellas fan to do it, but if a neutral or even some Croatia fan wants to take a stab at it, I'm not totally against that. Send me an email at and we'll sort the details out.

Tram works next week for route 112
Unfortunately the PTV site has gotten rid of tis disruptions page, so I can't recall the exact details, but there's something going on upon that route next week judging by the some of the unclear posters they had at one of the tram stops.

Around the grounds
Spotty character reference
His interest piqued by recent events, and not put off by Mark Boric's less than glowing character reference, Ian Syson wanted to go see a Melbourne City game, so I tagged along for the ride.

The venue is based in an open park, but the playing area has a fence of sorts around it, and is of a decent size. It was also in great nick for a lower league ground.

Hoppers Crossing keeper Shaun Page punches the ball
away. Photo: Ian Syson
In terms of spectator facilities, it's actually a decent little set up they've got going out there - the social club is spacious, clean and full of natural light. It only stretches to about halfway down the field, but there's plenty of shelter for the kind of crowds they're likely to get. The food is limited, but their burger with the lot for $6 isn't too bad, especially when you can even get HP on it (though why the woman behind the canteen then hid the bottle from sight is anyone's guess). $1.50 Chomps also good value.

As for the match itself, Hoppers Crossing were in first place, having won all nine matches, while Melbourne City were nine points behind in third.Standard wise, you probably wouldn't expect much from a State League 4 West clash, but if FootballChaos has taught us anything, it's that there's some good games and players to see even down there. After an even start, Hoppers eventually got on top and ran out 3-0 winners - though they also have their keeper to thank for making three or four clutch saves in about three minutes. Unfortunately, a pall was cast over the game at the end, with the match being called off early after a Hoppers player got seriously injured on the far side.

The clouds looked distant at first, but eventually encircled the ground and laid siege, lightly at first, and then heavily. The Herald and Weekly Times photographer with wearing his cap Lleyton Hewitt style stuck it out for a little bit, but then chickened off undercover. We stuck it until halftime, and then sought shelter. When the rain stopped, we went out once more.

Final thought
It could have been worse - we could have got zero points.


  1. Friendly neighbourhood tram company16 June 2014 at 15:18

    R112 will run in two parts. Catch it from one stop before the casino,-86,-96,-109-and-112-overhead-work-sunday-22-june/

  2. "Hopefully more South fans show up than yesterday - where was everyone?"

    You are surprised?

    We just lost our first game of the season in a bit of a deflatory way.
    And our next home game was against a bottom of the ladder country team.
    Winter is slowly creeping in.
    Was it Father's Day?
    And last but not least, many of us were more interested in the World Cup where Real Hellas (as in real, not the Spanish Royal!) adn Australia were both involved.

    I am sure the fans will be back with a vengerance this weekend against A A Alexandro!

    In fact, for once I will not be on my lonesome as a bunch of friends (Hellatzides and Alexandroi) will be in attendance.

    Savvas Tzionis

    1. Pfft! North American Fathers' Day. Poli excuse, that one.

      World Cup? That's another soft one people trot out when they don't have the b@lls to say they can't be stuffed or simply don't want to go to Lakeside.

      Hoping for a bumper crowd this Sunday, but expecting <500.


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