Sunday, 24 May 2015

The recession we had to have - Oakleigh Cannons 2 South Melbourne 0

Here are the things you missed if you didn't turn up to the under 20s game:
  • A failed rabona attempt (even I missed that one)
  • Me eating a $4 tiropita containing cheese that was still at a molten temperature.
  • New signing Nick Morton not doing very much of note.
  • A chance to see Oakleigh's new synthetic pitch in action.
Paul, come quick! Kouts quit his tutoring job and joined a violence gang!
During a meander around the outer of that pitch, the grandfather of a certain young man who has begun moonlighting during the A-League off-season as one of the organisers of Enosi 59, asked me if I knew the whereabouts of the relevant grandson. Now I answered truthfully, in the sense that I really didn't know the exact whereabouts of the grandson; but I also knew that they had planned on performing some kind of march to the ground and/or tutoring is guerilla warfare in Shelbyville Oakleigh. I don't know what shenanigans were had on the march, but the boys did manage to bring in a few new faces to Clarendon Corner. Overall for the numbers that were there, and taking into account chanting performances of previous years, this could have been better. Standing on the hill behind the goal we were attacking in the first half (and yes, in addition to the synthetic pitch, the seats in the stand and the terracing on the outer side, Jack Edwards now has a hill behind the goals), it didn't feel like there was as much noise and activity as there should have been. These things happen - new people take time to learn chants, hangers on prefer to hang on, and the team didn't manage to score a goal - and I make comment on this mostly because I was asked by two separate members of the young brigade during the evening about how I felt it all went - a fact which was both endearing in its sense of having some sort of respect allotted to my opinion, and frustrating because we were 2-0 down and I was more keen on focusing on the dramatic misfire that was our performance.

Oakleigh were clinical in spite of their more limited opportunities and possession. Both goals came from superb counter attacking play, and they could have had a couple of more goals from similar sequences of play. Even without the suspended Ben Clarke, and the injured Goran Zoric, Oakleigh looked the more likely to score from the chances created. Of course it's a tactic that has its own level of risk - had we gone ahead, the nature of the game may have changed - but it came off perfectly. Milos Lujic was tightly marked, and the other South players who had chances on goal never tested John Honos in the Oakleigh goal.

For the first time in many weeks, Andy Brennan was unable to have the decisive impact he has had in previous games. The Oakleigh left back was able to match him for speed and strength, and though Brennan did one have one good chance, he could only volley it high over the bar. Therefore with our two most productive attacking players in 2015 being tied up, it fell to other players to pick up the slack. New recruit Chris Irwin (who came on as a sub for Dane Milovanovic, who seemed to get a serious knee injury) was not poor, but he also seemed to find the stacked Oakleigh defence difficult to deal with, while also squandering an excellent first half chance

Disclaimer - the following paragraph is not influenced in any way by Nick Epifano's recent behaviour, and whether or not he should even be at the club. They are purely the usual misinformed opinions that I would give of any player who I considered to have a bit of a stinker.

That leaves Nick Epifano, who had a ton of possession in this game, but was unable to make any of it count. He got into a lot of good positions, but his crosses and shots almost always failed to make the most of his earlier hard work. Most frustrating was his decision making - he often took the lower percentage option, which was repeatedly his undoing. Most disheartening was that as the game went on, his passing game began to get lazy, which saw him hit through balls that had no hope whatsoever of achieving a positive outcome. I was surprised when Brennan was benched instead of Epifano, and that Leigh Minopoulos wasn't given a chance.

Just as disappointing was the outcome of the risky tactic of apparently deliberately trying to get yellow cards so as to gain suspensions for next week's match against North Geelong, but not for the Dockerty Cup match against Melbourne Knights the week after. To that end, Milos Lujic managed to do the business by getting a cheap a yellow card, his fifth of the season, though the manner in which he got it meant that he was unable to pressure defenders in a meaningful way for fear of picking up a second yellow and thus a red card.

Michael Eagar's attempt at getting himself rubbed out for a week failed in spectacular fashion. Late in the game, he is supposed to have retaliated in a such a way that instead of getting a yellow card and missing this week's game, he got a straight red, which could see him miss up to three games depending on the grading of the red card. There seems to be little hope he could avoid missing the Knights game. To rub salt into the wound, the four yellow cards that he has already earned this season will still be there on his return from suspension, and will see him miss another game this season at some point when he inevitably picks up another yellow card.

How much of a disaster this match was will only be known in the coming weeks. North Geelong may be bottom of the table, but without our leading scorer, the backbone of our defence, and the defensive midfield linchpin, we face a dangerous mid season period very much akin to that we faced at this point last season. With our defensive stocks running thin, expect Brad Norton to possibly fill in at centreback for Eagar, and perhaps Irwin to slot into left back. How desperate we are for defensive back up I don't know, especially considering our 2015 squad orientation - here's hoping that the suggestion that assistant coach Dimi Tsiaras pull on the boots again is just an example of gallows humour.

As seems to happen far more often than it should, a bad loss in a land far, far away was capped off by missing the (probably delayed) first train back to Flinders Street by mere seconds, and having the second one arrive late to Huntingdale and then be further delayed by vandals. I eventually made it home around 12:30 in the morning. The wait at Huntingdale was made more tolerable by the chat Gains and I had with one of the protective services officers working on the platform, who on recognising our South gear, asked after the current status of Richmond Soccer Club; the relevant PSO having in the past worked as a bricklayer for former long serving Richmond president Helmut Kalitzki.

Next week
Back home on a Friday night, this time against a North Geelong side fast running out of time to sort out its relegation problems.

Andy Bevin, pictured here playing for his US college team.
Transfer news
We've obviously snared Chris Irwin from Avondale Heights (and before that Box Hill United), another midfielder but also a former junior player. He's very quick, but I'm not sure where he'll slot in - I did notice him during the Melbourne Knights - Avondale game from earlier this season. Leaving are Bonel Obradovic, who is going back to Northcote, the side he played for before we got him from Oakleigh. 'Bones' struggled to win a starting spot in midfield, and while serviceable as a right back during Tim Mala's absences, he never made the role his own. Peter Gavalas has also been let go, though there is no news of a back up keeper being signed.

'Where is South Melbourne?' asked Ibrahim the Mad.
'South Melbourne yok', replied the admirals.
Now there was some scuttlebutt going around last week that we'd signed some American striker from the MLS. Some of our readers have also noted that on Thursday FFV's transfers page, one Andy Bevin was listed as an 'in' at South Melbourne, but that on Friday he was not there. Where did he go? Further to that, where did the entire South Melbourne FC section on that transfers page (see image on right) go on Sunday while I was typing this? Anyway, it's been more or less confirmed by everyone that the mystery American former MLS striker is indeed Andy Bevin, who is actually not an American, but rather a Kiwi, and one who played college soccer in the United States and was drafted by the Seattle Sounders. Don't think he ever got a game in the MLS, but here's hoping that if he has indeed been signed by South that bangs in the goals.

Living in a de facto relationship
Further to my desire for a more formal relationship between SMFC and SMWFC (ie, reunification), I had a chat with our president, Leo Athanasakis, who seemed to suggest that the relationship as it stood now - closer than it has been for many years - was working well for both parties, and that there was no need for any sudden moves.

The bloke who won $5,000 for South
So Peter Saisanas, who won $5,000 for South during a PS4 FIFA tournament against other NPL representatives - well done Peter, and well done to everyone who tweeted like crazy to get him that chance - went on to play in a tournament against A-League fans a few weeks back. Now while Peter didn't win that tournament, he did let me in on one tidbit from the experience. As there was no Wellington Phoenix representative in the tournament, the organisers tried to get Peter to wear a Phoenix jersey instead of a South top. Peter refused to do so, and for that I commend him, while still contemplating why the organisers even thought that he would relent.

What the fuck, am I dying or something?
The background to this is, I guess, recent discussions I've had with Ian Syson, some of which I have briefly touched upon in recent posts. I can't speak for whatever it is that Ian thinks is in Joe Gorman's future, because it's not really my place to air those thoughts on a public forum, especially as it would come likely across as a massive leg hump.

To set the record straight for myself - and without getting all obscenely sentimental - I'm not going anywhere. As long as South Melbourne Hellas exists, and as long as my health holds up, and as long as I have access to an internet connection or at least someone who I can dictate my thoughts to, I will write on Aussie soccer. Goodness knows that I haven't done this for the past seven and a half years for fame or fortune.

It was good to finally meet...
Savvas Tzionis, recent contributor and frequent leaver of comments.

Final thought
Apparently I treat the A-League less fairly than I would the quality of lettuce - and why wouldn't I?

18 comments:

  1. There goes my cloak of anonymity!

    As for the chanting, at the back of the stand, it felt quite raucous. I was ready with the I phone to start videoing when we scored.

    In the end, the only incident of note, was when Oakleigh scored, and one older gentleman started having a go at South supporters in a language that was supposed to be Greek. He got deadly stares from many South supporters and then disappeared after half time.

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    1. I should have added, while I'm not sure what happened on the march, I was pleased that the bys didn't rip any flares inside the ground.

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    2. Lucky we didn't score, aye?

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  2. Hmm, for some inexplicable reason the FFV's transfer news page is separated into week 1 and week 2 - and here I was thinking it was a transfer window, not transfer windows.

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    1. I can clarify that! Indeed it is one transfer window, but the lovely folks at FoxSportsPulse don't give us the ability to rank our news stories - or indeed sort news stories by dates published. Thus, in order to keep the transfers in the headlines rather than buried by match reports, I made a Week 1, Week 2, and Final Days page.

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    2. Cheers for the clarification Alen, actually sounds like a nifty workaround.

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  3. The atmosphere was amazing, sure you were at the right match?

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    1. I thought the atmosphere was very good until half time. But as the game wore on, and we looked less and less likely to score (and especially after we went two nil down), it fizzled out. I mean, its not as if Oakleigh supporters are numerous enough to start a chant?

      However, something else came to mind watching the game.

      At one stage during the first half (I think), a sound emanated from the Clarendon Corner area. It was a sound I hadn't really heard since the NSL days. It was a sound that an old friend of mine labelled the 'Mating Call'.

      It was a form of jeering that came in the form of an ape or cow like 'OOOHHHH!!!!' It was normally associated with the older fans of the club. And since my return to Hellas in 2012, it has barely been heard, and I thought that with the younger demographic slowly taking over, it may have died forever.

      But there it was, and it came out of the mouths of babes!

      I want to extrapolate further on the subject of jeers and boos.

      I was surprised to discover at some point in the 1990's, that in Europe, they do not use the 'BOOOOO!' sound we hear at Australian Rules matches or other Anglo/US-centric sporting events.

      The Europeans use the whistle sound! I always found this lacked punch. But, hey, they are Europeans and we are not (at least on this matter!).

      Did the immigrant's use of the 'Mating Call' indicate some sort of nether region between the jeering whistling of their youth in Greece/Italy, etc and the new sound they absorbed in their new surrounds in Australia?

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    2. Just to clarify something. The 'OOOOHHH' sound was not a racial thing.

      The supporters were simply booing, either the referee or the opposition.

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  4. In true Ultra love the club fashion, those flares should have been ripped when the opponent scores to punish the club via fines for losing the match.

    No crowd estimate?

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    1. No idea what the crowd was, and sadly no one offered any suggestion on Friday.

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  5. all for pyro in the ground
    dont waste them outside

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  6. Approx crowd: 2,000.
    CC/Enosi area peaked at around 100.
    Overall fair amount of noise from our active area.

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  7. Why are CC so worried about use of pyro?
    The npl franchise Melbourne victory stole a corner flag and ripped 6 flares and only copped a small fine. WHy would South be treated differently?

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    1. Why should a HAL affiliate be treated differently to a community club?
      That is a very good question, but as we continually see the Federation is all too keen to drop take the big stick to cash poor community clubs, and the wet lettuce to the FT professional "clubs".

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  8. As a long time supporter, it's great to see new faces in the active area at South games and more voices. Hope these kids stick around not only for the rest of the season but for many years to come.

    Your support shouldn't be discouraged, we all enjoy atmosphere at South games, it makes attending games more enjoyable.

    Keep up the good work CC/Enosi

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  9. Hope the PSO spoke well of Helmut. Caught up with him today before he headed off on a trip to Germany. Richmond seem to be stabilising after all the upheaval.

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    1. Yes, nothing but positive about his time working for Helmut.

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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.