- 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!|
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.
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.|
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.
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.We are losing two of our best writers (@JoeGorman_89 and @PaulMavroudis) because soccer does not know how to look after them or itself.— Ian Syson (@IanSyson) May 23, 2015
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.
Apparently I treat the A-League less fairly than I would the quality of lettuce - and why wouldn't I?