|The sun shines, but the rain falls down over Lakeside|
prior to the under 20s match. Photo: Gains.
It was important though to also respond to the poor performance we put in midweek against Bentleigh, and Chris Taylor seemed to throw caution to the wind with some of his selections. Jamie Reed coming in for Leigh Minopoulos and Iqi Jawadi coming back from suspension for Matthew Theodore were kinda obvious; but the replacement of Jason Saldaris with Chris Maynard in goals was a daring move this late in the season.
Saldaris, who has recently been the recipient of a form of bronx chanting from Clarendon Corner, who have been applauding him for completing even regulation goalkeeper actions, seems to have finally lost the confidence of Taylor. Thus Maynard, who as far as I can remember has played just one match this season - the 4-1 Dockerty Cup win away to Berwick City - was starting his first league game in quite some time.
Would he be as alert as a keeper who'd played week in, week out? Would he stuff up his long awaited chance at the no. 1 spot? We'll have to wait at least another week for the answer to those questions, because he had very little to do in this match, as Werribee struggled to even get one shot on target during the game. While this made it easier for us on the day, it also had the effect of making me doubt that they could get a point against Oakleigh in the next round. And while those who say our destiny is in our hands are correct - three wins from our four remaining games will seal the title - it wouldn't hurt our cause if Oakleigh dropped some points along the way.
South came out of blocks looking pretty fired up creating, several chances and breaking apart Werribee's defence if not quite at will, then relatively comfortably, but in echoes of the midweek game there had been no goal in the opening half hour and my thoughts started to head towards the possibility of Werribee pinching a goal from somewhere. That turned out not to be the case however. First Reed scored from a penalty just after half an hour, after Nick Epifano had been felled, then Milos Lujic scored twice just before halftime as the visitors' defence crumbled. The game was as good as over.
|A white curtain of rain pours down on Lakeside during the|
second half of the senior match. Photo: Gains.
The crowd at the game was also poor, which can partly be blamed on the weather, but I think is also due to the late kickoff time. Where once I had no specific preference for one kickoff time over another on a Sunday, I'm kinda getting over the 5:00pm starts. Is it the general malaise affecting crowds across the board in the NPL, and even state leagues games (the Eastern Lions - Mornington game [see below] also got a lower attendance than I had anticipated)? Whatever the cause of the low attendance - and it's not like I'm expecting miraculous attendances ten years after the end of our NSL heyday - it's disappointing that we can't pull a few more people to games now that we're actually doing half well. It also means dinner gets eaten much later than I'd like now that I'm almost halfway to being a senior citizen, but it also means that I miss out on listening to one of our club representatives on 3XY, especially now that we're all friends again.
So, after all that, still seven points clear. Four games to go for us, five games to go for Oakleigh.
Dandenong Thunder away on Saturday night. After a good start to the season they've fallen down towards the bottom end of ladder, but they did manage to win away at Ballarat on the weekend to all but make sure they'll avoid relegation. Alan Kearney got red carded in that game though, so that will be a useful out as far as we're concerned, unless his replacement comes in plays a blinder.
Did you know?
That under 20s defender Sammy Kagioglou is apparently the grandson of 1960s championship goalkeeper Sam Kagioglou? That's pretty cool.
Looking forward to the final round
It's still over a month away, but people are already starting to look forward to our final round match against Goulburn Valley Suns in Shepparton, still very much a potential title decider. In particular, people are thinking about travel arrangements. Since the trains are a manifestly inconvenient option for this game, I've asked the club about whether they'll organise a bus - their initial response is that they're not sure at this stage, but will inform everyone closer to the date of any arrangements.
I am so precious, it hurts
At the Bentleigh game the other day, I had it out (in typically mild fashion) with the person behind the @smfcmike Twitter account, initially asking him to just ease off the caps lock as a starting point. I even half joked that I was *this* close to blocking him. But that's why they call it a half joke, because I actually followed through with it. It's meant that some Twitter discussions I follow are now distorted, but it's a price I'm willing to to pay for a little bit more sanity.
The actor leaves the stage, but the play continues
It's weird seeing Shoot Farken still going after my involvement. How can this be? What I mean to say is, that despite the Heavy Sleep world cup articles I'd written for them, I forgot to add their link on the side panel. So, there it is now. At the moment they're looking at the Melbourne International Film Festival.
Around the grounds
Junk Dilemmas Round 22 (with apologies to Irvine Welsh)
I could sit at home and do nothing, just like most of the Friday nights of my life. Or, like the addict who can't stay away from their one vice, I could go to a lower league soccer match, again. The choice tonight is between Richmond hosting Avondale Heights, or going to Port and watching them take on the Knights. Informed by an irrational hatred of Avondale Heights, I choose the latter. The universe tries to conspire against me getting to the game on time. The parking at Newport station is packed, so I end up parking some distance away. The train I want to catch is delayed because of a VLine train. The myki gate at Flinders Street station reckons I haven't touched on, but there's no staff member at the Elizabeth St exit to help me exit the gate, and my lack of athletic ability and my acquiescence to effects of the implied panopticon prevents me from jumping the gate. After I circle around and exit via the platform 1 exit, I walk past the Elizabeth Street exit towards Banana Alley, and notice that the fat woman I saw walking up the stairs as I began doubling back was actually a staff member. Her black uniform, which I afterwards described thusly,
Good choice by @metrotrains to dress their staff in black, makes it easy to distinguish them from the 1% of Melburnians who don't wear blackand her lack of urgency in climbing the stairs fools me into thinking that she's merely another pleb public transport user. Still, when everything else can go wrong, you can trust Port Melbourne's gate attendant crew to provide speedy and fuss free entrance to the venue for those like myself who possess the appropriate paperwork. The game itself is a bore. The most exciting to happen is watching a couple of blokes from MCF attempt to punch on with each other, with their mates in the middle copping collateral damage as they try to separate the pair. Security try to calm the situation, and it seems to do the trick. There are many possible lessons to take out of this situation. One is the slightly coarse, 'talk shit, get hit'. Another lesson might well be that if you keep pushing someone's buttons, they may eventually snap. Perhaps don't be involved in spreading pernicious rumours, which is all well and good except for the fact that I was doing much the same yesterday. Many other observations were also made about contemporary young male Croatian-Australian social identity, but I haven't gone through the Victoria University ethics department to get clearance for any of that. Knights won the game 1-0. The bus goes past five minutes earlier since the timetable reformat, so I miss it, and I get home at midnight instead of 11:30.
— Paul Mavroudis (@PaulMavroudis) August 8, 2014
Burwood or Balwyn or Bentleigh or Boronia
Several weeks ago I agreed to go to Eastern Lions vs Mornington with Ian Syson, in anticipation that these two sides would be first first and second on the State League 1 South-East table. That's the way they came into this game, with the Lions being four points clear at the top. First time out at Gardiners Creek Reserve, and it's a nice set up with several grounds and nice seating in the shed, but they must have one of the largest budgets for match balls in the state with the creek being so close by. Now it must be noted that I was in a surly sort of mood, (though to be fair, I've been in a surly sort of mood for a while now), and I was therefore determined not to enjoy this game. The first half helped in that in ragard, in that it failed to live up to expectation with few if any chances, let alone quality passages of play. The visitors, who had edged proceedings in the opening 45 minutes, managed to jag a goal late to take lead at halftime. I got to meet Steven Gray of Football Chaos fame during the break, though of course he had to rush off to film the second half. The second half saw the Lions equalise early, though not without some controversy, with there being uncertainty about whether the ball had crossed the line. The game then continued in much the same way as the first half, but eventually Mornington got on top with the Lions barely being able to get out of their own half of the field - including from goalkicks - though it was almost all half chances. Then shock of shocks, the Lions managed to score a late winner - after having played for the draw, they managed to get the win. These things happen.
A fellow supporter and I agreed yesterday that Law and Order: Special Victims Unit has completely gone down the toilet. I don't care about the detectives' personal lives, just give me 35 implausible twists, more 'can you enhance that' moments than you can poke a stick at, and the usual cavalcade of sickos that get their comeuppance while I shake my fist at the TV.