Sunday, 3 May 2015

Indefinite - Port Melbourne 2 South Melbourne 2

Different number, same player. Nick Epifano in action against Port.
Photo: Cindy Nitsos. 
As Guns n' Roses once noted, nothing lasts forever, even indefinite bans. Thus the rumours that Nick Epifano would be in the starting eleven for the game against Port turned out to be true. Sure, he was wearing number twenty instead of his usual number seven, but it was otherwise hard to miss his trademark blonde Basil Brush mop of hair. That, and his name was in the starting line up as mentioned on Twitter.

I don't care how thin we are on the bench, the fact that Epifano played in this game was unacceptable. Regardless of how much respect Chris Taylor has earned during South Melbourne stint, Epifano's poor conduct exists outside the football department. This was meant to be a club matter, and all I can see happening is Epifano getting too many second chances without having to pay appropriate penance. Three days off? A week off? But only until we really need him.

Regardless of whether it's Chris Taylor or the board pulling the strings on this matter - and I don't think it's Epifano, who's just taking advantage of the farcical situation - it's insulting to the fans that this is the course of action that's been taken. For whatever its worth, some booed and abused Epifano, a smaller number encouraged him, but most people offered very little either way - and to be brutally frank, the atmosphere was like a morgue, a phenomenon which is much worse. To have the passion sucked out of the supporter base like that, after all we've been through these past 11 years, it was just devastating to be a part of it. The late push as the fans tried to rally the team home to at first an unlikely equaliser, and then an unlikely winner, only masked the relative apathy that set in during the rest of the game.

As a side note, Epifano's performance was neither very good, nor very bad. He put in more effort than usual when it came to trying to win the ball back, but I don't think I've ever seen a player look more awkward in doing so. Where he looks comfortable with the ball at his feet, when trying to shut down the opposition he has the most unusual gait I've seen, as if like a newly born calf or foal he's still learning how to run. Meanwhile in his attacking forays he did some good things, but mucked up his best chance, a pass into the 18 yard box towards the unmarked strikers.

Luke Adams' back post header sails past Port keeper Stjepan Gal.
Photo: Cindy Nitsos.
Luke Adams' gave us what was probably a deserved early lead when he floated in the back post and headed home, but I never felt like we had control of this match. Aside from that effort, what was a very lacklustre South Melbourne saw a good portion of its better chance fall to Leigh Minopoulos, who wasn't able to make any of them count. Now, this is not as if Minopoulos played badly or missed his shots by miles, but last season - indeed, in the corresponding fixture - he was able to be the difference in tight contests. The problem for Leigh is the combination of his 2014 super-sub performances and his limited opportunities, he has to be seen to be more effective than many other players; the line between between success and failure for him is much finer than for other players.

After we went up Port then had the better chances, but wasteful finishing from their end saw us go into the break 1-0 up. Shaun Kelly's header missed narrowly late in the first half, in what would have created an odd scoreline - 1-1 with both goals from the centrebacks - but he made up for that when he headed home uncontested from a corner to level the scores. It looked like a good corner, but for none of our players to seemingly even get near it was devastating in its own way.

Trent Rixon missed an absolute sitter soon after that - and looked incredibly nonchalant doing it - but Alan Kearney scored from the penalty spot to give Port the lead they deserved. Once again our downfall has been in rushing the play. Bombing it to Milos Lujic might make sense if he's near goals, and someone can pick up the scraps, but doing it while he's midfield and up against two defenders... I don't know. We've mentioned before that Taylor wants the team to play less direct, so there's a message there that the players are ignoring for some reason.

At this point it looked rather unlikely that we would be able to get back in the game, but the introduction of Andy Brennan - who didn't start the game I assume do to concerns about a hamstring twinge from the Pascoe Vale game - added a little more grunt and spark. Mind you, Brennan (and all our wide play for that matter) was made far less effective by the very narrow field provided by the home side. All things considered, it was the narrowest field I'd seen since I used to go watch the South women's team play on Field 13.

Prior to our contentious equaliser, missed handballs were already a bone of contention. It looked like a Port player on the ground in his own 18 yard box clearly handled the ball, but there was no call from referee Shaun Evans, of whom the best thing could have been said that he'd lost some weight since we saw him last. One could talk about some sort of karma then for our equaliser, especially if we include some of the brutal tackles that we'd been in the receiving end of - but neither the world nor soccer work like that. Just accept that it was a dodgy goal, be glad it was for us, and move on.

Next week
The start of a theoretically easier stretch of matches begins with a home match against Avondale Heights on Friday night. What I see is a tough month ahead if for no other reason due to limited manpower.

Andy Brennan off to Newcastle Jets - confirmed
The recent rumours have proven to be true, with Brennan signing a two year deal with the struggling A-League outfit. I think it's all a bit sudden, but you've got to take your opportunities when they present themselves. I, like probably a few South Melbourne fans, will be disappointed to lose Andy, as he was not just a talented player but someone with a great attitude on and off the park - the comment was even made to me once by an insider that he's too eager to learn. The Jets begin pre-season training on June 22nd, and unusually perhaps we get to keep Brennan all the way up until the Dockerty Cup game against Melbourne Knights on the Queen's Birthday long weekend.

2016 Australian Grand Prix pushed back a couple of weeks
Neos Kosmos English Weekly (via AAP) has reported that next year's Australian Grand Prix will be pushed back a couple of weeks - does this mean that we'll be able to host more than one home game during the warmer months, or will some other excuse turn up to prevent that from happening?

Social club news, as osmotically gleaned from the internet and dewy grass √¶ther 
Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close. Resolution is close.

Smithers, my wallet's in my right front pocket
Oh, and I'll take that statue of justice too..

Everything else
Bad public transport, being offered a lift by Kev, Hainanese chicken rice + curry puff + soy bean drink, schmoozing with the high rollers, it's European!, hanging out with the plebs, Dave Gilmour vs Roger Waters, tailored suits, observing someone drinking VB in an attempt to fit in with the common man, night shift shelf stacking, barcodes and reflexive memory. Also imagining that I overhead someone mention how good this blog is,

Final thought
The effects of a long season are starting to kick in, and we're not even half way through yet.

25 comments:

  1. How has Lujic not been snapped up by an A-League club? I'm not complaining, just confused. Also, props to the team staying undefeated in this apparent slump. Things around the club are starting to feel flat. Probably just the mid-season drag but it would be nice to see a couple of solid wins with the home games coming up.

    Manny

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lujic has a day job as a primary school teacher - what point giving up that steady work/wage for a high risk, base wage job which probably involves relocation?

      Delete
    2. That's just sad. If Lujic isn't worth decent money to have a go at a professional career what hope does that leave other NPL players?

      Non-promotion-relegation A2-League now! More opportunities needed!

      Manny

      Delete
    3. Respect for Lujic and his teaching ambitions.
      But, with so few male primary school teachers in the system he's in a unique situation where he probably could put that on hold to chase a pro football career, and walk back into teaching when he's done.

      Delete
  2. Paul I've enjoyed reading your thoughts/opinions on the Epifano issue. But there is one aspect of it I'd love to see you delve into further, that is in regards to what the fallout of it will be going forward. Practicably when it'll come to the next AGM, will the members make the board accountable for its action? Could this issue actually see an opposition ticket formed? Or will it be forgotten 'in an ignorance is bliss, kind of way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Too early to say at this point, especially considering the failure of rival tickets to be formed in more perilous situations than this (though one could make the argument that this not an operational, but rather an ethical dilemma, and thus prone to a different sort of reaction). Still, there has been a subtle change in the minds of some people who would otherwise be supportive of this board. That alone should be cause for concern, but then again, there's not as much of the reflexive anger that I'd have anticipated. That's an interesting phenomenon in itself.

      Delete
    2. When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.

      Delete
  3. Thinking of starting a similar blog to yours for my club, any complexities/tips in getting one up and running?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wordpress blogs are generally nicer to look at, but Blogger is easier to set up and use - very easy to set up and get going.

      If you need a few pointers on the writing side, I can help there as well. Which club if I may ask?

      Delete
    2. More asking in terms of is there any money that needs to change hands or laborious registrations that need to happen?

      Its for olympic, the old forum closed down for a new olympic ultras forum but since they died in the ass so has the forum, just need something simple for match reports and to have people commenting/responding to it should they wish etc

      Dont know about any writing pointers, im not envisaging it to be shakesepeare :)

      Delete
    3. All you need is a Google/Gmail account - no money involved, it's all hosted on their servers.

      As for the writing tips, I meant more in terms of preparation and motivation - 95% of blogs die very quickly, but there are things you can do to make sure you keep you going once you get over the initial burst of enthusiasm

      My opinion? You should absolutely go for it.

      Delete
  4. There was something very wierd about Friday nights game. Been to games for 20 years and I don't think I've experienced a game like that. Not sure what it was, it almost felt like disinterest.... I don't like that feeling.
    Funny to note that 3 goals came from defenders. I've actually missed Norton scoring, I love his celerations because you can see it means a lot to him. Adams has been threatening to score for a while now and it was a great way to do it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark Gojszyk (who did the match report for FFV) also noted that all four goals came from set pieces.

      http://www.foxsportspulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=1-10178-0-0-0&sID=317230&&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=34466555

      Delete
  5. Port have an official YouTube channel?

    SMFC TV, please note that Port have set the bar, you're allowed to publicly point out refere fark ups. Don't tip toe around them anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have never felt so deflated about the club in my life regarding this epifano saga. It's clear the club just wanted to let the heat dissipate and reinstate him as soon as possible without a care for what he has done. As fans, we need to do something about this... something big.

    ReplyDelete
  7. crowd estimate for the greek derby*?

    * Noted that any random pairing of Vic clubs is 21.6% likely to be a greek derby

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh geez, um... is pretty ordinary a sufficient estimate? Outer side was closed as per usual, and while there were a decent smattering of South fans on the hill next to the Lawrie Schwab press box, I don't think the crowd got over the 300-400 mark.

      Delete
  8. Dave Gilmour vs Roger Waters

    Is a very tightly run race over which is the most boring.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Must admit Friday night was a massive miss by the club
    Soon as i saw him i felt gutted and an overwhelming realisation that the club is being run like a franchise
    What I mean is that its bad enough having franchises completely disregard football's legacy before the HAL and a complete lack of respect for the history of the game
    Now our very own club is building a similar model

    Betrayed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least members have a vote at South.

      Real football club status approved.

      Manny

      Delete
    2. Vote is only worth something if there is a rival ticket. Not many members are up for commiting the time and money the current bunch do, so we're stuck with them.
      Is our own doing, in that regards.

      Delete
  10. Martin Foley should be sacked the truth is that no work has been completed in the Social Club and the 100 days is a load of bullshit. It is an embarrassment that we are the best club in the NPL and setting standards for clubs in Australia.

    John

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sacked? He is a politician. He gets paid to make promises that are not meant. We have zero bargaining power, that's the problem. What incentive does Martin have to get our job done. I don't blame the board for the mess we are in. We have been played by Eddie and he has ended up with exactly what he wants whilst we have been left with no where near what we expected. I am not a board member, but I have experience dealing with the govt and it's very very hard, especially when you have no bargaining chips. If the board made any mistakes, they were a little naive and trusting but we are very small (and shrinking) fish in a pond full of sharks.

      Delete
  11. After yesterdays horror show at the FFA, the Epifano saga seems sort of minor.

    However, lets compare his situation to the Gavalas situation back in 2012 or 2013. All Gavalas did was stick the finger up at some supporters, he then apologised (probably forced to do it, but that's not for us to judge). Situation solved.

    Why didn't Epifano get asked to apologise?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My understanding is that he had been directed to apologize, and still hasn't.

      Epifano was dealt a soft penalty by the club, but he can't even fulfil that.

      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.