Sunday, 12 June 2016

Laughter - South Melbourne 2 Port Melbourne 0

But I am just a simple wog soccer club. I have only read
 about being relevant to Australian football in books.
So this is where we're at now. It especially applies to us because, you know, former NSL powerhouse and such and such, but it could equally apply to any other team in our league (or applicable leagues in other states) which may happen to be in our present position. That position is of course, top of the league midway through the season (regardless of whether we 'deserve' to be there or not), playing against a local rival with a ton of ex-players of ours, a game our side manages to win, extending our lead at the top... and it hardly seemed to matter.

We're not just talking about the crowd, which while at its usual smallness, was still broadly appreciative of these facts. Hell, we even looked good and/or better than our opponent, like we actually deserved to win by even more than the two goal margin that we did win by. The coach even made some early, attacking subs, our attacks looked almost fluid, and even our crossing wasn't so bad once Matthew Millar decided that trying to launch balls over Turn 6 and onto Albert Road was probably not the best use of his latent talents. Our defending meanwhile was a bit higgledy-piggledy at times, but Port weren't able to take advantage of that. Now that Luke Adams' All Whites duties are concluded with (they won the OFC Nations Cup on penalties), that he'll be back in the side, provided that the rumours of him trialling with other teams aren't true.

- You are now assimilated into Australian football.
- But how?
- It is the mystery of the FFA Cup.
Yet all eyes were and are on Tuesday, not because of the opponent in that match, or because it may help us move one step closer to defending our Dockerty Cup title, but because we have the chance to win a match in which we can afterwards figuratively shout out 'bingo' and hope that winning the jackpot means we get a big pay day (host an A-League team on national television, in front of a big crowd, where we acquit ourselves well on all fronts), instead of an away trip to Shamrock Rovers in Darwin where we'll probably manage to lose on penalties again and disgrace ourselves in some other hitherto unforeseeable but hilarious manner.

Beating Bentleigh on Tuesday, should we manage to do so - and at this point I would like to perpetuate the partly superstitious nonce jinx related idea that we are the rank underdogs in this match - will mean so much more than whatever it is we're trying to achieve in the league. Maybe our people in the terraces are desperate for the attention that an FFA Cup proper appearance will provide, having sold their souls for 'just a taste'; worse, perhaps all the attention being paid to Tuesday, combined with the nonsense lightheartedness of Friday, is a sign that people are getting bored with this league and have truly begun placing more importance on Shaun Mooney's crap-shoot tournament than their bread and butter league.

Compared to that possibility, comfortably beating a middling Port side in the league on a cold and wet evening in June isn't remotely on the radar.

Yes, we have no loukoumathes
When I say that all eyes were on Tuesday, I should be put a minor caveat on that. There was also attention being paid to the fact that the St Gerry's loukoumathes stand had not turned up despite promising to do so. Cue several chants about the absence of loukoumathes. Then again, perhaps even all the chatter about Korean BBQ and pastitsio and all the rest of the Food Network style chatter in Clarendon Corner was just people getting into the Food Federation Australia Cup swing of things.

My favourite part of the evening
When the People's Champ put in a nice pass that Milos Lujic didn't react to quickly enough, Lujic still applauded the People's Champ for the effort. Unfortunately, the People's Champ had already turned around by this point, never seeing Lujic's gesture of goodwill.

Let's be unabashedly positive for just a moment
Leigh Minopoulos scored. There's no one who can be displeased about that. The thing is, even if the goal was from two yards out, and even if Leigh doesn't always set the world on fire, the way he moves around the field is just so different to the way the rest of the team does. It's not primarily about raw pace or neat one-twos, but about gliding around the field and finding himself in the right space. Hope we keep him on, because he adds another string to our bow.

A word on Port, just for the sake of it 
Yes they had some good players out or having recently departed, but I'm annually flummoxed as to what it is they're trying to achieve. Apart from the misfortune of the 2013 Southern Stars incident, which saw Port be the big losers - although they still could have made the finals had they not capitulated against us in the final round - they spend big, recruit hard, and end up lower mid-table or needing dodgy late goals to avoid the drop. Or maybe, they also had two eyes on the FFA Cup.

Next game
FFA Cup match against Bentleigh on Tuesday, at Kingston Heath. The winner of this match qualifies for the FFA Cup proper.

Those who choose to travel to matches via public transport should be aware that there are works being undertaken on the Frankston line in preparation for level crossing removals. Check the PTV website to see how this may affect your journey.

For the record, Gains and I will be bypassing the Frankston line,, taking the Sandringham line out to Hampton, then catching the 828 from there.

For those who can't make it to the game, the game will also (probably) be live video streamed by FFV, though if they use the same streaming service as they did for the Green Gully vs Bulleen FFA Cup match last Wednesday, don't count on it being anything remotely like reliable.

Phase 2 of Operation Let's Sign Some Bloke From Spain That No One's Ever Seen And Let's Hope That Maybe He'll Be A Striker has seen us sign up a - wait for it - striker(?!) from Leganes reserves called Manuel Padilla Herrero. A (mandatory adjective) jetlagged Herrero played about an hour in the under 20s on Friday night, scoring a hattrick and providing at least one assist. The report of one the people that was there watching the 20s (I was at the Limerick, where we were cheering every 'Manolo' score update on Twitter), while acknowledging the poverty of the opposition, noted that Manolo's touch, game sense and work rate were very good.

So maybe, just maybe, we have a little gem on our hands. That then creates a series of neat little problems like, will we play him on Tuesday? Who gets dropped to let him start? Does the formation change? And will his loan spell end before our season does?

...and departures
Teenage wingback Luke Eyles has been released, subsequently signing with NPL2 promotion contender Kingston City. The Tasmanian was in the first year of a two year deal with South after signing from 2015 Tasmanian champions Hobart Olympia, but has been unable to break into South's starting lineup.

Midfielder Cody Martindale, who also spent most of this season in the under 20s on the comeback trail after missing most of last season due to injury, has ended up at Northcote, but both Martindale and Eyles are reportedly being asked back for 2017 pre-season training at South.

One assumes that Philzgerald Mbaka is also gone, but no official announcement has been made on that front so far as I can tell.

You really blew it!
I would just like to thank those people who ripped flares both before and during the second Australia vs Greece game for finally squashing any hope that South Melbourne had of getting into the A-League. And we were this close to making it, too.

Around the grounds/Year of the Fence
Make your own fun
Got stood up for a Saturday arvo soccer sesh, but I somehow managed to find the desire against incredible odds to drive out to Cairnlea to see the struggling home side take on the slightly more struggling Altona East. Thankfully being out at Cairnlea meant that I got to spend an afternoon with Cairnlea's media dude Andrew, and better still, we got to see a pretty tidy game, especially the second half with its four goals. This included an injury time penalty equaliser which disappointed the locals.

Final thought
Who am I kidding, Friday was fun as all fuck.


  1. The match against Port will be quickly forgotten given the poor quality of play. The fact we even extended our lead at the top of the ladder was much welcomed news.

    Given the commercial realities of the FFA Cup, Tuesday's match is massive. Like you said, draw an A League club at home, and cash in.

    1. Correction, draw the right A-League team. There is no cashing in when taking on a Central Coast, probably get an even smaller crowd than a typical NPL clash with that one.

    2. Disagree. There'd be a latent supporter base who would come to support South/Knights for a day. They'd never set foot at an NPL game, but they'll come to our clubs where we're on the "big stage" playing a token HAL team.

  2. hey MelbCro, what's with you guys making signings and then losing to the bottom side 5-0. I thought signings were supposed to improve your side?

    1. Not to concerned about the "lifeless" NPL mate. Too busy with my club set to be on the national stage.

    2. Not busy enough if your planning to reply to a blog comment after a match days later and remembering to do so.

    3. Look at him burn hehehe

  3. Is that the tappatappa simpsons episode?

  4. The loukamades disaster shouldn't be underplayed.

    1. Indeed. They may be a hipsterised and overpriced version of the loukoumades you get at your average Greek church fair, but considering the rest of the current food offerings ($1.50 for a Chomp bar FFS!) at Lakeside, the loukoumades were sorely missed last Friday.

    2. I remember the furore when Chomps jumped up to 40c.
      To make matters worse, last week's $1.50 edition had the taste and texture of a bar that had been sitting on the shelf since the mid-90s.

    3. Because of the wafer, Chomps really need to be served as freshly made as possible.

  5. Herrero looked fantastic, he could be the best import in the league unless Friday night was a one-off for him.

    Martindale looked handy for Northcote on Sat but I just don't see him breaking into the South line-up with Jawadi, Hatzikostas, Foschini et al there so unless they move on he'd be better off making a name for himself elsewhere.

    As for Port, I'm not sure if they do actually spend big, most of their 'big' signings are squaddies/cast-offs from the bigger spending clubs (another South player could be added to that category this window apparently) and when they do have a player going well they get snapped up by a cashed up club pretty quickly, e.g. Kamal Ibrahim and Nick Krousoratis.

    1. Fair point on Port's signings, I probably went overboard there when typing up the post. Still, over the past few years they've had some good players and equivalent squads to be at least a lower level finalist, and keep coming up short.


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