Monday, 30 June 2014

Just enjoy the fact that we're still on top - South Melbourne 2 Port Melbourne 1

It was cold. It was wet. The ground was muddy. The crowd was small. And then we copped the opening goal.

Ten minutes in Zois Galanopoulos - was he on our books at one stage? Maybe just a youth player or prospective recruit - took advantage of a counter attack opportunity from yet another defensive cock up and scored past the hesitant Jason Saldaris. Perhaps out of embarrassment (OK, more likely a technical malfunction), we did not put his name up on the scoreboard.

Speaking of the scoreboard, it looked like it had some dead pixels. Either that, or some water had managed to seep in through part of the protective layering. I don't know, I'm not au fait with these things.

Anyway,  it looked like it was going to be another one of those days, but we managed to get the equaliser within a couple of minutes, with excellent lead up play leading to a Milos Lujic goal. Then the game descended into a slow and methodical slog, with Port sitting back trying hit us on the counter and us trying to not get done on the counter. Late on in the first half Iqi Jawadi got fouled, apparently inside the box but there's at least one Hellas person who says that it wasn't, and we got the penalty and then came the jitters as Jamie Reed stepped up to take it, with memories of his squandered spot kick from a couple of weeks ago against Goulburn Valley Suns still fresh in the mind.

Thankfully he actually scored the goal, and we went into halftime leading the game. The most remarkable thing of the match then happened, and we started turning it on a little bit, and truly, we should have absolutely buried them. The fact that we didn't, and instead being forced into having to endure a seemingly never ending half hour of not being able to get the ball, but also Port not being able to do anything with all that possession (but maybe all it would take would be one stupid moment) will really stump the armchair football psychologists out there. Is this win reflective of a hard fought, grinding back to business kind of mentality, which would either set us in good stead for a tough game against Green Gully, or was it just more evidence of a team which has lost its way, forgetting how to move in for the kill? Had we won by 4-1 instead, would that have seen as us getting our mojo back with the Knights game being an unfortunate albeit costly statistical outlier, or would it see us get cocky and get likely to be smashed to pieces by a mentally tougher Gully side?

I suppose that's for the retrospective analysts out there to figure out, once any one of those things actually happens. In the meantime new signing Shaun Timmins made his South debut - he had been due to play against the Knights in the midweek cup clash, but his transfer was reputedly held up for purportedly stupid reasons - replacing Brad Norton. I didn't think Timmins put in a better show than what Norton would have, but it's only been one game. Stephen Hatzikostas also started, in place of Tyson Holmes. For some reason I now expect this to be a regular occurrence, as Norton and Holmes were the two remaining players who were with South at the start of the 2013 season, and Chris Taylor is probably keen to move on from the horror of that era, even though there were some good times oif people care to remember them.

While of course the response of the fans to any change in our style of play will cross into the absurd - even if it's only because we care so much, while mostly understanding so little - there is serious confusion as to what's going on out there at the moment. It looks like we're halfway through the process of transforming ourselves into something new - not necessarily better or worse, but different nonetheless, as we begin to play a short passing game, spreading it around the back, including noticeably giving Saldaris plenty of touches of the ball, instead of doing what we did on Friday and keeping it away from him as if he had girl germs, eeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwww - and looking for gaps in the opposition defence rather than trying to take them on and get them on the back foot.

The fact that very likely the same people who were bemoaning the more direct and supposed long ball game are now criticising this new fangled trend of shorter passes is probably not lost on too many people, even those right in the thick of this apparent double standard. Maybe it's a vaguely direct game plan filled with mid-range distance passing that will make peace reign in the stands? Me, I just think it's a bit late to jump on the tiki-taka bandwagon now, especially since we've just seen it apparently roll out of the world cup station with 'NOT IN SERVICE' blaring back at us in neon lettering. Let's be honest - the only thing that will get close to making South fans happy at this point in 2014 will be taking out the NPL title, and even then we'll be complaining about how we should've won it earlier, how we should have made the FFA Cup, and where's the damn social club already?

It was the first time in three attempts that we had beaten Port at Lakeside, following the 2012 and 2013 disasters. It was also the first time - last year's Dockerty Cup quarter final against Preston excepted - that we had come back to win a game after conceding the first goal since we beat Richmond 3-2 at Lakeside last year. In addition to that, Heidelberg managed to hold Oakleigh to a 1-1 draw despite being down to ten men for 65 minutes. So now we're back out to a six point lead at the top of the table. Don't ask me how long that will last, but right at this moment I'd sure as hell rather be where we are rather than where Oakleigh is.

Next week
Green Gully at home, who are in an oldschool Green Gully frame of mind at the moment.

Maybe you can explain it to me, part 1
So, we have Jamie Reed, James Musa, and now Shaun Timmins as potential visa players. Which one isn't and what excuse have we used to work our way around this problem?

Maybe you can explain it to me, part 2
Each NPL squad is meant to have a maximum of twenty players in its senior squad. So far we've signed Steven Hatzikostas, Shaun Timmins and Dion Kirk. We've let go Graham Hockless and Slaven Vramesevic. That doesn't add up. Unless weve got Kirk solely in the under 20s squad, and planning to play him only the allowed a maximum of five times in the league, without the n ebing forced to add him to the senior list.

Back in stock. I bought one.

Cool story, bro! department
While I was getting a haircut the other day, 1984 NSL championship winner, South Melbourne Hellas legend and current Doxa Yarraville coach Charlie Egan stopped in for chat. My barber (and also the current/former first aid dude at Yarravile), who I've been seeing for over 25 yeas and knows I'm a Hellas fan had the nerve to ask me if I knew who Egan was. True story.

What's going on back there?
The function centre was booked out for a Jewish wedding(?), and a smattering of that event's patrons wandered out onto the balcony to watch our game. Too bad there wasn't a bigger crowd on our part - we could have had a better chance of getting some more noise into their wedding video.

More Shoot Farken write ups
Continuing off where we left last week, here are some more of these
Around the grounds
Welcome to the future
The day was windy and cold, the teams mid-table and mediocre, the reserves match borderline unwatchable. But at least there was this:
It's been a long time since I've seen so many people in that social club. Suburbs won the seniors match 3-2.

Final thought
What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

            The barbarians are due here today.

Why isn’t anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?

            Because the barbarians are coming today.
            What laws can the senators make now?
            Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.

Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting at the city’s main gate
on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?

            Because the barbarians are coming today
            and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.
            He has even prepared a scroll to give him,
            replete with titles, with imposing names.

Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?

            Because the barbarians are coming today
            and things like that dazzle the barbarians.

Why don’t our distinguished orators come forward as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

            Because the barbarians are coming today
            and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.

Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home so lost in thought?

            Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.
            And some who have just returned from the border say
            there are no barbarians any longer.

And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution.

Waiting for the Barbarians, by CP Cavafy

1 comment:

  1. Small crowd, aye?!

    Its these HORRIBLE 5pm starts!

    I brought along 7 people to last weeks game against Heielberg. Not ONE of them wants to come back this year becaue of the bloody cold weather! And even I did not come yesterday. And why? Because I caught a cold from all these cold nights watching Hellas!

    It might also have been to do with lack of sleep due to World Cup. :))

    But the point remains!

    Stupid FFV with their allocation of points to Youth development forcing us to play all our junior matches on the Sunday at a 'nice' time for parents.

    Savvas Tzionis


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