Monday, 25 August 2014

One hand on the title - South Melbourne 2 Northcote City 1

After the kick in the teeth that was the Bentleigh Greens - Oakleigh game on Friday night (more detail in 'around the grounds' below), the tension was heightened for our game against Northcote. Northcote, the team that would assuredly not just roll over and take this as just another match with nothing on the line; a club that has caused us almost no end of grief since they were promoted into the Victoria top flight, us having beaten them just once in the league (and once in the cup), while we've been the end of some hideous spankings, not least the 5-0 preliminary final loss from last year. How much that history matters is anyone's guess, but with two lynchpins of Northcote's 2013 championship - Michael Eagar and Milos Lujic - now playing for us, there'll always be someone looking to bring it up

The opening goal though came early enough so as to settle the nerves somewhat. Iqi Jawadi, who has apparently caught the eye of A-League scouts - he played in the second half for Melbourne Heart in their midweek friendly against Hume, and is also rumoured to be on the Newcastle Jets radar - eluded two Northcote players on the sideline, and found Tyson Holmes in space whose cross ended up reaching Milos Lujic perefectly at the back post.

Northcote though would not go down lightly, and at first worked their back into the game, and then became the dominant side as South sat back. The problem with this approach is that I'm not sure that this South side is as comfortable shutting down games once they have the lead as when they decide instead to drive home their advantage. The results may show otherwise, but it's always a difficult decision to make. A good thing then that generally we defended well, though our retreat into relying onto longballs (the last refuge of the scoundrel?) was incredibly frustrating to watch.

Marinos Gasparis' freekick was in a way both inevitable - in that Northcote had being getting closer and had had the general run of play - and telling, in the sense that if South has lacked one thing this year it's been a set piece specialist, someone who could be relied not only to score 3-4 goals a year at crucial points in a match or season (say, when there appears to be no other way to break down a disciplined defence, or you need that sealer to put a stake in the opposition's heart), or even just to force a corner or desperate save.

And while Jamie Reed hasn't been completely awful in that department, neither has he reached the heights of the 2006 vintage Fernando De Moraes, who when all else failed, managed to find a way through via a freekick (I'm thinking the opening goal late in the elimination final against Gully especially). Thank goodness then that we have Milos Lujic, who has become the first South player in probably 29 years - I'm thinking Charlie Egan in 1985 was probably the last player to get there - to score 20 goals for South in a single season.

That he got the ball from a player I've been critical of recently in Matthew Theodore says volumes about our depth, and the ability of Taylor to pick the right player for the right situation, which is why he's potentially the championship winning coach and I'm just some chump on with a keyboard. Still, once we had that lead we had to keep Northcote out for the remainder of the game, and full credit to them they didn't give up. On that note, special mention must go to Chris Maynard in goal, who pulled out some fine saves, and whose kicking was generally excellent. Maynard had not been tested almost at all in the previous two games since replacing the out of favour Jason Saldaris, but he was usually on top of whatever came at him yesterday.

If this post - and probably even the last match report for that matter - comes across as a little weary, it's perhaps because it's been an exhausting season; a longer home and away season than we've been recently accustomed to, a Dockerty Cup campaign in the middle of that, the Lakeside situation, and hell, even attending pre-season games from back in December. The saving grace is that we're this close to securing the title. It must have been hell for the supporters of those teams who weren't going to get relegated or win the title. That's their cross to bear though - meanwhile we've got a title to win, which we're in the box seat to take out.

Next game
A week off for the Dockerty Cup final and assorted catch up games, before we take on Oakleigh at home. We may have already won the title by then if Oakleigh lose to the Knights in their catch up game in 10 days time, but let's cross that bridge when we come to it.

Doing the sums
Well, here's how it stands. South is on 62 points, with two games left. Oakleigh's on 55 points, with three games left. So, in other words:
  • A win for South in either of our two remaining games, and we take the title.
  • A loss for Oakleigh in any of its three remaining games, and we take the title.
  • A draw between ourselves and Oakleigh in round 25, and we take the title.
In any other season it probably wouldn't have come to this. For one, in Victoria a finals series would have taken the edge off the race to what would have been the minor premiership, in much the same way that Oakleigh's clear dominance of the 2006 season was all for nothing once they went out of the finals in straight sets. On the other hand, it's been a weird season for the simple reason that, in any other year, either team with such a record would have clinched the title already, having lost just four games between them. So it goes.

And yes, I'll probably be at the Knights - Oakleigh game, just in case we end up winning the title at that game.
They've been watching us
Around the grounds
Urge to kill, rising
I was just one member of a healthy contingent of South fans who turned up to watch Bentleigh host Oakleigh, hoping first for an Oakleigh loss and secondly for a good game of football. Well, on the latter front there was excitement of a sort, but sadly on the former matter Oakleigh took advantage of relentlessly shithouse defending from the Greens to be up 4-0 during the first half. At least three of the goals looked majorly dodgy, as the Greens gave their opponents far too much space (seriously, who stands 3-4 metres off Nate Foster and dares him to run past you?) and insisted on playing the ball out of the back for no discernible gain. The fourth goal was perhaps the most absurd, as a botched and harmless short corner (and pretty much all short corners at this level fall into that category) was somehow parried by Alastair Bray back into the path of the Oakleigh attackers who eventually finished it off. To make matters worse, the Greens squandered several good chances in the first part of the second half, but whether they were a real chance of a comeback is unlikely. My blistering public transport run to the ground aside - one hour, fifteen minutes from Newport station - this was game was a letdown on several fronts.

Eight dollars for a Clifton Hill souvlaki is highway robbery
Headed out to Quarries Park on Saturday to see Clifton Hill play Southern Stars. Clifton Hill were third last, but in no danger of relegation. Southern Stars, starting from scratch after last year's betting scandal, started the year on -8 points, and were still in minus territory coming into this game. Nevertheless, they did win their first game of the season last week against South Springvale, so maybe there'd be evidence of further improvement here? Sadly, no. Clifton Hill took a little while to break the deadlock, but once they did this game was as good as done. Only poor finishing theoretically kept Stars in it, but they eventually fell 3-0 behind and even a late own goal to get it back to 3-1 never saw the home team threatened. Stars aren't the first team to have to rebuild after exiting the Victorian topflight, but there's seems an altogether more difficult task. Realistically though, Clifton Hill aren't in a much better position. The Hillmen increasingly appear to be a subsidiary of Heidelberg United Alexander (the 'HUFC' sponsorship on the back of the shirt seems very awkward), which may not be a very palatable thing to have said about a club which would like to assert that it is still an independent entity, but it's not like there were that many home fans there anyway to argue the point.

Quiet time
This blog will be very low key over the next week and a half or so. While we'll still have the Wednesday artefact segment, unless something super drastic happens, don't expect any significant posting from our angle. Enjoy the week off, and I'll see you all on the other side.

Final thought
As Gains I exited via the back gate in between our stand and the 1926 stand, a little kid saw us and said to his dad, 'they're so shifty'. Further reinforcement of my dislike for children.

25 comments:

  1. Lakeside Stadium26 August 2014 at 00:25

    Congrats on taking the "gyfti of the year" title Northcote.

    Graffiti on the walls with mud and cigarette butts in the change rooms is so 1970's




    Congrats again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, that's a charming response from their end. I suppose at least we can take comfort in the fact that their loss to us hurt, even if they didn't have anything tangible to play for.

      Delete
  2. Out of the mouths of babes. You guys are pretty shifty.

    And, how good an adjective is "shifty"?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed on the second point, not used often enough these days, In fact, only used once before on this blog,

      http://southmelbournefc.blogspot.com.au/2011/03/last-nights-score-south-2-vtc-3.html

      and what a memorable evening that was.

      Delete
  3. "Same old Northcote, always cheating". "gyfti" and "horiates" are just a few of the terms of endearment you guys have bestowed on us.... So this week, we decided we may as well try and fit in with the name calling so it's justified...

    Well done to CT and players on the title... Well deserved and the best team by far...

    As for your fans; your abuse to our people is disgusting... I know this won't be acknowledged on this forum, but some of your fans are outright idiots that they make St Albans Saints fans look decent!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've played you twice this year. BOTH TIMES your 'keeper has gone in on Lujic high and late, and well after the whistle. Scumbag, weak as p!ss, dog act.
      Does Northcote City consider that within the rules?

      Petreski took a dive and your physio stepped onto the pitch DURING PLAY to treat a pretend injury. Is that one within the rules?

      Nup, that's cheating. If you don't understand what cheating is, I can see why you're so upset. If you do have a clue, I'm sorry, but your team needs to wear that badge until they learn to behave like a civilised bunch.

      As for St Albans, would your mob have even tried either of these manouvers away to the Saints? HAHAHAHAHA

      Delete
    2. No-one at South ever takes a dive, no-one at South has ever stepped out onto the pitch during play, Fernando DeMoraes never scored THAT goal that was supposedly returned to the opposition keeper after an injury...

      Late tackles happen in a game every week and in probably every game...

      Aseme...

      Delete
  4. Spiros Economides26 August 2014 at 11:17

    iremise agorina mou.
    a few of your fans look like Tamtako, so the "gyftoi" name calling was justified.
    I'm suprised you weren't called "vlaxoi", "anikanoi", "lisazmena skilia", "kolopaida", "kathikia", "satanades", and/or "poulimenoi".
    Fagate kala for 2 seasons, and now the karpouzia sales from the back of the Datsun are slow.
    ESEIS FTAITE !

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've heard reports that after we scored the second goal, some South fans started to take it out on some of the Northcote hierarchy sitting in the stand (I'd be mores specific, but I did not see the incidents myself and did not hear about them until after I got home). Clearly, that kind of thing is both unnecessary and totally uncalled for - surely it's better to just enjoy that particular moment for the sake of your own club's success instead of taking out on the opposition?

    However, being annoyed at such a generic chant as "Same old Northcote, always cheating" seems a bit lame though. A variation of that chant has been used against many of the teams we've played over the last few years, and is by any measure a standard English language chant the world over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paul,

      I don't realy care that much about the "Same old Northcote" chant... That's no biggy for me...

      As you stated, members of our heirarchy were abused, rather than those individuals just enjoying the moment... One of those abused was Peter Kotsiris, who did very well to refrain from reacting.... There is no place for this...

      Over the last 2 seasons, we've been called horiates, poulimenoi, gyftoi etc... Granted, it's been by a minority; probably the same people abusing your own side last year.

      I don't blame Leo, like others have indicated, but this sort of crap, particularly between our clubs is ridiculous.

      Kotsy, like me, used to support South in the NSL days along with what is our local team Northcote.... Now, just because we are in the same division, we get called poulimenoi; just plain ridiculous.

      Those people, like Spiros Economides' response above, doing the abusing are absurd... If our own supporters went up to the faces of your heirarchy, we as a club would impose club sanctions against them. To be on the end of what Kotsy and a couple of others copped is just not fair game...

      For the record, we have no probs with South and are happy for you that you are on the cusp of the title... Like I said in my previous post, it is well deserved and you've been the benchmark this year...

      Delete
  6. I can't believe what I am reading.....the once great South Melbourne and a rivalry with Northcote City. What have we become?!?!?!?!?! Next it will be South Hobart?!?!?! Aah Mr Leo, the pride and joy of your last 10 years

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How is the last 10 years Leo's fault. The FFA screwed all nsl clubs and he has done his best to keep the club going. This year we have a fantastic team and the negotiations for the social club and lease speak for themselves. If you can do better please offer your assistance.

      Delete
    2. The Club does not resemble its former self and the people running it are mediocre who lack real vision. They constantly lie to their Members like they have over the last few weeks spruiking a 40 year lease of Lakeside Oval when in fact it's a 40 year lease of certain areas of Lakeside Oval such as the Social Club. It's time for change and to me a deal for the social club and winning the NPL against mediocrity and local two bob clubs means nothing. We need vision and strategy to get us back to where we belong, something Leo and his current team of people with the exception of maybe two people, cannot deliver.

      Delete
    3. Great, so put your hand up and share your vision with us. I will support anyone that can get us back to the to but I'm struggling lung to see the opportunities whilst the FFA want to kill us off. Leo has done a great job in very difficult circumstances. I'm not sure any of the ex nsl clubs are flourishing at the moment. FFA have tied everyone's hands behind there backs, not sure how our club can chAnge or even influence the situation.

      Delete
    4. Spiros Economides27 August 2014 at 22:04

      Do us all a favour and go fuck yourself dickwad.

      Delete
    5. That last comment highlights the level of intellect involved at the Club these days! Spiros articulates his arguments so well, inspirational and almost as intelligent as Leo's addresses to Members. No wonder so many good South people cannot be bothered dealing with such mediocrity!

      Delete
    6. I still think my question about your vision is still valid and I'm sure many others would be interested. I don't mind people being critical of others as long as they can offer a better solution/option etc.

      Delete
  7. I don't get it, a few years back Northcote was one of the few Greek clubs that South had a good relationship with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spiro below just does not get that we DO NOT CARE about their money... We are doing just fine without them...

      Clubs like mine always battle to make ends meet year on year, but we are ok... We've survived over 50 years without the government handout... I'm comfortable we'll survive without the petty change they gave us...

      Delete
  8. Spiros Economides26 August 2014 at 17:54

    Correct MelbCro. Then we got our own ground and the cash dried up. They've now become untermensche.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Given what a toxic relationship South has with pretty much every Greek club in Melbourne, I'm sorry to say its time for you guys to have a good hard look at yourselves. Essentially my point is stop being a bunch of dicks lol

      Delete
    2. Every other club under the FFV banner is a rival.

      Why be buddy-buddy with a competitor?

      Delete
    3. Most traditional clubs in this world have at least one club they have a tight friendship with. But that's cool, just another step South is taking in becoming more like a generic plastic franchise. Enjoy

      Delete
  9. Poor form if someone was getting stuck into Kotsi.

    Not a particularly classy episode.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trashing the change rooms is also not classy!

      Delete

While I like people commenting on the blog, it would be useful if different posters could at least leave some sort of nickname to make it easier to sort through all the different 'anonymous' posters. If your post doesn't get approved straight away, it's probably because I haven't seen it yet. Lastly, just because I approve a comment for publication does not mean that I endorse its content.