Slaven Vranesevic made way for Matthew Theodore, who came back into the side after missing the midweek cup match - apparently due to attending his university graduation ceremony - while Michael Eagar was once again partnered in central defence by Andrew Mullet, with James Musa on the bench following his stint at international duty.
To my relief, it was a more assertive South in this game, so even as Thunder pressed forward and moved the ball well out wide, we weren't without our chances at the other end. We had to withstand some dangerous balls into the area, and even conceded some headers from set pieces, but more often than not we kept doing enough to make the Thunder play the extra pass which saw them come undone, extinguishing the space that they momentarily had but could not make the most of.
|Without warning, a flock of seagulls decided to take|
flight early during the first half. Photo: Cindy Nitsos.
The one-two combo which knocked Thunder onto the ropes came late in the first half. Milos Lujic opened the scoring, running on to a through ball and then quickly making space and shooting out of Zaim Zeneli's reach. Then just three minutes later a cross to the back post saw Nick Epifano's header saved by Zeneli, only for Theodore to finish it off.
|The referee keeps a close eye on the push and shove.|
Photo: Cindy Nitsos.
The second half started with a chance to each side, but soon devolved into a 15 minute mess of slow and mistake riddled football. Thunder had one shot hit straight at Jason Saldaris, but thereafter could muster little of note, as tiredness took over and the enormity of the task ahead of them kept getting bigger.
|James Musa salutes the crowd after scoring his goal.|
Photo: Cindy Nitsos.
As happens with big scores at Lakeside, the scoreboard ran out of room for the names, and the chant went up noting this fact. It seems almost trite to say this of a team that's won 14 games from 14 starts, but it's been a lot of fun watching this team so far this year. The gallows humour of so many barren and inconsistent seasons has taken a backseat to joy and enthusiasm - and it's not in the context of a frenzied run to sneak into the finals either.
But there's still a long way to go, of course. Today's win keeps us nine points ahead of Oakleigh, who beat Werribee 2-0 on Saturday. Heidelberg, who had been level with Oakleigh, fell to eleven points behind us after drawing 1-1 with Northcote.
Oakleigh away on Friday night, in what is probably the most anticipated match of the season so far. A win is most desirable, but even a draw would be do us little harm in the greater context.
If you can't make it to the game, Teo Pellizzeri has popped up on various social media sites to post this, so have a gander and listen in:
I normally don't promote the broadcast game on here but given its importance to the season no harm in hyping it up.
8.25pm Friday Night - Oakleigh Cannons v South Melbourne www.livecast.com.au & Live Cast channel on TuneIn Radio appDockerty Cup news
We've been drawn to play against the winner of Tuesday's match between Melbourne Knights and Green Gully. For the first time in this year's competition, we'll be hosting a tie - which apart from progression to the semi-finals, also counts as the final stage of FFA Cup qualification.
James Musa makes All Whites debut
James Musa made his debut for the All Whites the other day against South Africa. He came on as a substitute, and ended up both saving a goal bound shot with his arse, and getting an elbow in the face.
SMFCMike on SoundCloud
I think I probably should have mentioned this earlier. SMFCMike, who some Twitter folk will know from his rather, how should I put this... 'partisan' persona on there, has been doing his own thing on SoundCloud. Frankly, I'm too afraid to listen in to any of Mike's antics, but in the interests of 'promoting independent South Melbourne Hellas perspectives', a link to his channel has been added to the links on the right hand side.
Chris Taylor interviewed by Craig MacKenzie
Quite an interesting little interview with the current South manager. He says some outrageous things about South, mostly about our bigness, that cynics like me are always wary of when they come from people who have arrived here recently and might soon be gone again - taking all the players they brought with them, naturally.
But who knows, maybe he actually means it? Just as interesting though is the discussion of his approach to coaching, and for someone who's been around the block a few times, who his biggest influence is - though one of the people on smfcboard wasn't particularly happy that Taylor has modeled his managerial approach on John Gardiner - if I was to guess, probably something to do with a dour British style footballer, as opposed to the traditional Hellas 'score lots of goals' approach. On the the other hand, it's refreshing to see someone taking aim at buzzword coaching.
Where's the food truck?
Though it had zero hipster credibility - no tacos, Thai food, bánh mì, or burgers on a brioche bun - the disappearance of the food truck/caravan at Lakeside was not pleasant news, as it still had better food than the kiosk opposite it. The main function of said food truck - to provide expensive but usually edible souvs, and sausages of varying and random degrees of spiciness - has been absorbed into the kiosk's menu. What this means is no more 'gourmet' sausages, and a very ordinary, yet still expensive souvlaki.
Still, the kiosk had chicken flavoured Twisties and instant cup noodles(!) which is a point of difference to most places - though unfortunately the noodle brand is Fantastic. Not that goalkeeping coach Bojo Jevdevic seemed to mind.
Hay and Murray's 'A History of Australian Football'
We mentioned this book last week, including its recommended retail price of $45 - but one of our readers has spotted it for $29 at Kmart, which is outstanding value for a hardback. Here's proof if you need it (photo taken at Kmart Altona Gate):
Hay and Murray's 'A History of Australian Football', just $29 at KMart, incredible bargain! pic.twitter.com/VBmlcWGYF4St Albans return serve to departing FFV CEO Mitchell Murphy
— Paul Mavroudis (@PaulMavroudis) May 28, 2014
Remember the bit we did about St Albans being docked three points for not fielding an under 13s team in some fixture or other? Well, they're not letting go of it, and what's more they're even digging themselves in for a bit of internet trench warfare with this frankly, amazing article on their website. For mine, there are two interesting aspects to this article:
- The refrain that people working in soccer and for soccer people, should themselves be soccer people.
- That since Murphy is going soon anyway, what's the end game of this approach?
Victoria's soccer culture is not of a piece - it is made up of several still fragmented groups, such as those from strong men's teams, those from women's soccer, and especially those from junior soccer, each of whose involvement takes on a different shape, and does not necessarily lend itself to understanding the needs of the other groups.
We've also had soccer people running the game before before, and yet that always eventually seemed to end up at the point of self-interested cabals running the sport - and limiting the talent pool available to those who have spent their whole lives in the sport only makes these sorts of cabals easier to form.
So, let's get people from outside the game to run the sport, without fear of favour, for the best interests of everyone. But the problem then becomes that not only does the relevant FFV employee not understand or perhaps even care about the local soccer culture, but that they may well put the needs of the FFV - their employer - above those of its constituents when competing interests clash.
It's a problem compounded by the modern corporate trend of white collar workers frequently changing employers. And while that may not be as much of an issue for a lot of these companies, for an organisation like FFV, which has so many different constituencies, many of which have people with a lifetime attachment to the game and their particular roles within it, it causes massive disruption every time someone leaves FFV and a new start has to be created almost from scratch.
It's not a problem that will ever be solved, because one way or another, anyone who works for an organisation like FFV will be compromised in some way - which makes the second point I mentioned earlier all the more interesting. The previous CEOs, long termer Mark Rendell and interim replacement Peter Gome, were both castigated by elements of the local soccer community for not being football people - and to be fair, that perception was probably a fair one.
For his part, Mitchell Murphy has tried to cultivate the perception that he is in his own way, a part of the soccer scene, even if he wasn't a local to begin with. But that attempt hasn't quite washed with some of the more conservative elements of the Victorian soccer public, who are wary of those whose interest seems mainly focused on junior soccer (though to be fair to St Albans, their approach to soccer has been much more holistic over the journey, in the way that leading Australian-Croatian clubs so often are.)
But the dig at Murphy's rugby league background only serves to highlight the difficulty of a non-soccer person coming in to run the game, and especially the struggle for credibility they have to face - and one could take that problem even further. As anyone who has attended a South Melbourne (or Westfield) AGM can tell you, even when you have what you think are the best interests of the game or club at heart, combined with reason, logic and facts, there's always going to be some grumpier, older and usually male person who will always tell you that you are too young, too new, too experienced to know what you're talking about.
Though just where we'll find soccer people with a lifelong enmeshment in the game across all sectors, yet with no enemies, with the business nous to run a fiscally responsible enterprise, all while keeping the game moving forward, is anyone's guess.
Ghost trams are awesome.
RIP dodgy carpark across the road from Spotswood Station.