Another's minute's silence for an unnamed individual, and then kickoff, finally. And then thing got weird. Within ten minutes a ball through the middle of our all over the shop defense saw Kristian Konstantinidis, back for the first time since forever, foul the Oakleigh player from behind justr on the line of the penalty area. KK got his red card, and we copped the goal from the resulting free kick - double burn because we have no one who can take free kicks, and haven't really had one for some time.
Somehow though we found ourselves not only level, but leading. Milos Lujic was collected hard by Oakleigh keeper John Honos. Everyone was expecting a red card, not noticing that the ball had trickled into the net. So, nobody celebrated, instead raining anger down upon the referee. Probably for the best, as we'd already wasted copious amounts of newspaper confetti before the game.
Now I was one of the people asking for 'last man/denial of a clear goal scoring opportunity' blood, so I apologise (especially to Banger) if my furor and overly forthright explanations were based on wrong assumption of the rules in that, based on some discussion of the matter on soccer-forum, as the advantage saw the goal scored, the 'denial of goal scoring opportunity' clause could not be invoked; the only way Honos could have got a red card is if the referee deemed Honos' challenge worthy of a red card on its own merits as a violent or dangerous piece of play.
On reflection, without viewing the incident a second time, the ref possibly (probably?) made the right call in not giving Honos a red card, but he probably should have got a yellow for the tackle. Nevertheless we managed to take the lead through Leigh Minopulos (why hasn't he being playing all season!), and looked good, attacking and dangerous, but unfortunately copped a soft, soft, soft goal from a long ball.
Second half, and we came out again looking to press forward and try and score goals - thinking, I believe correctly, that we would need goals on the board because Oakleugh were almost given to add to their tally. Apart from falling behind 4-2, and losing 4-3 - the penalty probably didn't warrnt a red, but it's not like Pantelidis didn't know what he was doing when he brought Milos down - the irritating thing was that we had a lot of good chances to score. Oakleigh's goal for 3-2 from the cut back? We had chances much like that before and after it, but couldn't make them stick. Our defense, already wonky and makeshift but now tired also, made mistakes but also in a sense let down by the forwards who failed to take advantage of many good opportunities.
Oh, and some dire corner taking, as per usual. And thus we fall further behind Bentleigh, probably out of reach of the minor premiership and the NPL national playoffs if we're being realistic. While we can enjoy the anarchic spectacle of a Chris Taylor side actually playing attacking football (and try to convince ourselves that maybe this approach will pay off in the finals), we also have to acknowledge the discipline problems - the red cards, the disinterest from some players (Iqi Jawadi came off the bench and played left back, and did some nice things), and even players taking holidays in mid-season. A fun rabble is still a rabble; I mean, when you get down to it.
The game finished 4-3, with Oakleigh managing to waste enough time to get the points. The game finished so late I missed a train which I should have easily caught, read nihilistic Chuck Palahniuk short stories, and ended up eating junk food somewhere in the CBD. They don't put that part of South Melbourne experience in the membership brochure.
Melbourne Victory away at an as yet undisclosed location, at an undisclosed time. This game will be played behind closed doors 'with only players, officials, family members and accredited media allowed entry'. Even media have been asked to apply for entry to the game.
And yes, your correspondent has applied, and I hope that I can make it in.
Just on that...
Several people have of course recalled the incident in 2007 where South Melbourne was adjudged by FFV to have forfeited a home fixture against Melbourne Knights days before the scheduled kickoff.
In the early parts of that wonderful year, you may recall that there had been a confrontation between Serbian and Croatian supporters at the Australian Open tennis ('he kicked me in da chest, bro' and all that), and that somewhere in among the photos were various members of the Hellas Fan Club.
Later that year, at the Water Polo World Championships held in Melbourne, further incidents ensued between two or more of the aforementioned groups, and certain people were worried about these incidents being brought over into in the VPL.
To that end - and here's where it gets a bit murky, as the passage of time has made things hazy - South Melbourne decided, perhaps keeping in mind their good behaviour stipulations stemming from the 2005 Preston incident, that they wanted either a closed doors match or one with a members only stipulation.
That was not accepted by the people then working at FFV. Instead, after a meeting or series of meetings between South, Knights, FFV and Victoria Police, FFV proposed what South considered a draconian and exorbitant security arrangement.
Both South and FFV claimed to have the support of Victoria Police, but the end result was that South refused to hold an open doors match, and FFV preemptively decided that South had forfeited and awarded the Knights a 3-0 win.
Now nine years on, and several FFV management groups and contentious incidents later (including, let us not forget, members of Clarendon Corner being barred from an open doors fixture away at Preston in 2008, a decision made in part by the FFV employee who decided South should forfeit against the Knights, and the same bloke South almost hired as a general manger later on), Victory has made a similar request for this week's fixture, and people with long memories have, and not without good reason, said
- ARE YOU SERIOUS?
- YOU HAVE GOT BE KIDDING ME!
- FFV's CORRUPT!
It's only ironic however insofar as one would have been a punishment handed down from FFV, and the other - the current suggestion - is something which is of Victory's own choosing, which seems to indicate that Victory either can't or isn't able to create a safe environment for spectators at this fixture, and that rather than deal with that problem (and the prominent resources at their disposal to do so - remember, FFV's tribunal declined to fine them because they had so much money) they're being allowed to work around the problem.
Look, I'm not here to moralise (much, this time). I don't know what the right way of going about these things is, and thank the deity or celebrity of your choice that's the case. But it does seem a tad unjust for South fans to be barred from this fixture, considering FFV's own tribunal said South had nothing to answer for with regards the Lakeside incident; that the entire blame was squarely on Victory and its supporters.
Goodness knows what's going to happen at Knights vs Victory the following week.
And another thing...
There has been talk that this match may be played at AAMI Park. How hilarious would it be, that after so many failed attempts at getting into the A-League, failing to get into Victorian cup finals and grand finals that were hosted there, that we should end playing there where no one could see it...
And if were to be held at AAMI Park, one assumes on a Sunday, that'd be less than 24 hours after the field had been chopped up by the Melbourne Storm game.
Social club rumour
I am told that we have put in a building permit for a space that can hold 160 people seated. Make of that what you will.
Around the grounds
Altona East's players finally gave mid-season signing Anthony Giannopoulos the ball 85 minutes into the game, and he managed to do something so simple, and yet so effective, that it lead to an equalising goal and and a point for East against Keilor Park. Imagine if they gave him more of the ball what might happen.
We’re basically big animals, evolved to break open shells and eat raw oysters, but now we’re expected to keep track of all 300 Kardashian sisters and 800 Baldwin brothers. Seriously, at the rate they reproduce the Kardashians and the Baldwins are going to wipe out all other species of humans. The rest of us, you and me, we’re just evolutionary dead ends waiting to wink out.- Chuck Palahniuk, Zombies