Everything was going wrong.
I was hungry when I got to the game, but the cevapi was being served on focaccia, and I wasn't in the mood for pretending I was in a 1990s food court.
Then we went 1-0 down to what looked like a soft goal.
Then we almost went 2-0 down. Looking at the replay, we should've been 2-0 down.
Then we had a potential goal cleared off the line.
Then worst worst of all, we got a penalty which also saw Pascoe Vale go down to ten men. Deja vu anyone?
Milos Lujic even had his penalty saved, but thankfully the ball spilled favourably and he was able to mop up.
So, things started turning around from that point on. Davey Van't Schip going off injured certainly didn't hurt us
And our second goal was super - no ifs or buts or about it.
Had a goal denied for offside, but things were looking up.
And they stayed up.
Another penalty, another send off, another goal.
Another penalty, this time hit onto the post by Nick Epifano, another goal disallowed for offside, a host of chances missed but the game was done.
Marcus Schroen made up for a point a blank shot which hit the post, with a goal made after he won possession from a tiring Pascoe Vale defender.
The full time whistle went, and the rain stopped. Two wins in a row, albeit against two teams out of the finals running. Things could be worse.
Next game and final standing calculations
Green Gully at home on Sunday to close out the home and away season.
We are three points behind Bentleigh, but we also trail them by a ton of goal difference that we will be unable to catch up. So the minor premiership is all but officially sorted, seeing us miss out on the national NPL finals.
Looking towards the race for second place, we're currently three points ahead of Heidelberg - courtesy of their three point penalty from last season - but we also have a significantly inferior goal difference compared to the Bergers, who play Victory in the final round.
A draw for us against Gully will see us finish up in second and get a week off; a loss will see us almost certainly slip to third.
Of course, there may be other matters out of our direct control which could affect our standing...
Bad times - edited since original publication for further clarity.
Some of you - those of you who are able to access smfcboard at least - will have become aware of a reasonably distressing issue that's arisen over the past couple of days.
After our most recent game against Bentleigh, there were reports on soccer-forum.net by some people in attendance that there were some pretty hideous remarks directed towards the female assistant referee by a South fan.
As I noted at the time, I wasn't in the vicinity of the area of those comments to hear them, so at the time I could not personally verify whether they had been said or by whom they may have been said.
Now the issue seems to have come to a head with a South fan identified by FFV as being responsible for making the remarks, and the club has been asked to identify the supporter, which they have done. This person has now received a summons to appear before the FFV tribunal on Wednesday.
But there's a catch - the person identified is adamant that they are innocent, and what's more, they are alleging that the real culprit is one of the club's sponsors. There is even the assertion being made that the club knows who made the comments, yet they are preferring to throw this fan under the bus.
While I very much doubt that the latter part of the preceding paragraph is true, this is a demonstration of both the feeling as it relates to this specific discussion, and the way the relationships between the board and some of the members have deteriorated over time. It is as much an issue of imperfect communication as anything else - something none of us who conduct written correspondence will ever be immune from, but upon which we must always remain vigilant - hence the edits here and in the inclusion of a subsequent section attempting to further clarify certain details.
Apparently corroborating at least parts of that version of events are several people on smfcboard who are saying that they know that the South fan brought up on the charge is innocent, with some saying that they know who is responsible, agreeing with the currently accused that it was the relevant sponsor.
For the time being, even though the sponsor has been named in other web spaces, South of the Border will not name names, in order to allow said sponsor to own up to their behaviour - provided they are guilty, of course - and ensure that an innocent South fan is not punished for something they did not do.
I should have made it clear earlier also in a previous edit of this page, that the relevant sponsor may not even be aware of this situation and the way it has unfolded.
I hope that those who can verify the relevant fan's innocence are able to attend the tribunal hearing, and if worst comes to worst, implicate the person or persons actually responsible, whoever that might be. A failure for natural justice to be served here is the last thing the club needs.
There is also the matter of the process of identification, which one thinks will be sorted out by the tribunal upon hearing the matter. Quite how this fan was identified is a matter of supreme importance to the case - with so many people in and around that grandstand, it will be interesting to see how FFV, the host club and security came to identify this individual as the one responsible for making those comments.
Reasoning - this is a supplementary edit to the original post
Those who have an issue with the publication of this matter into the public sphere are entitled to know my reasoning for publishing this post. The matter of the abusive remarks originally came up immediately after the game against Bentleigh on soccer-forum.net. FFV has used screenshots from that soccer-forum discussion as part of its gathering of evidence, along with the ambient crowd noise which was captured by FFV's radio commentary team that evening. In that regard, the abusive remarks are already a matter of public record.
The genie was already out of the bottle. Furthermore, while some people consider the locked down smfcboard to be a private forum, the truth of the matter is that there are still people leaking information to people outside of the forum. The same is true of this matter, which people had begun discussing outside of smfcboard even before the publication of this blog post. Neither is this a new phenomenon regarding smfcboard.
This post then is in part an attempt to use plain language to cut through the rumours and innuendo that are floating about. Furthermore, to have ignored the matter would leave myself and South of the Border open to accusations of censorship or collusion. I also like to think, that upon approaching nine years of doing this thing, that there is a level of trust that I have earned among South supporters and the wider Victorian soccer public - and that the intent when covering serious matters such as this is never to cause harm or distress, but to inform.
With many ethical and even legal considerations to make, it is not an easy post to make. At the same time, this matter is not about me - it is primarily about the ordeal being endured by the fan accused of making abusive remarks that they claim they absolutely did not make, and the process which has lead to them being accused of doing so.
In addition, this incident, regardless of its outcome, needs to be discussed for its wider ramifications. It is a reminder to every South supporter that we are all responsible for the club's welfare. Though some sections of a South crowd are rowdier than others, the potential to go too far in either word or deed exists in every part of the ground. While one may not wish to 'rat out' a friend or fellow South supporter, there will be occasions where the greater good of the club may require such an action, or at the very least action taken which sees people take to task those who step out of line.
This should be done not out of a sense of 'the nanny state' - it should be done out of a sense of protecting the club, protecting the person or persons responsible from their own actions, as well as out of respect for the officials. By all means jeer or boo a decision you think is unjust or wrong, even heckle an opposition player - but be aware that there are lines which can be crossed that should never be crossed. This includes trying to bait opposition supporters, a course of action which may lead to more than just the offending supporter getting into trouble.
There are times when I have seen South fans take the initiative and prevent such behaviour get out of hand. I have seen this within Clarendon Corner and in other parts of the ground. I have even had to do it myself on the rare occasion I have been designated to act as a club appointed supporter marshal. It's not a pleasant job, but sometimes it has to be done.
The abuse directed at the assistant referee by certain South fans at this game, during the sending off of Luke Adams, was disgraceful. There is no context which can justify it. Neither the competence or otherwise of the officials justifies it, nor does the fact that you are at a suburban soccer ground instead of the MCG. We all get emotional at the soccer, and while some of us are better at handling ourselves during exciting or heated moments, we need to be aware of the consequences of the entirety of our behaviour. We owe it to ourselves, to our mates, and to the club - remembering that the club is not the board, nor the players, nor a select group of supporters, but the nearly intangible sum of its parts.