Monday, 1 May 2017

Is this form? South Melbourne 3 Pascoe Vale 0

OK, so just about no-one was there to see it for who knows what reasons, but those who were there saw it and were pleased by it. Well, maybe - but who wants to go deep into the hearts of Hellas fans?

You can't say there wasn't a plan, and that it wasn't carried off with aplomb. Do people still use that word, aplomb? Seems like the kind of word that was long ago destroyed due to overuse by sports broadcasters. South let Pascoe Vale, with their much vaunted attack led by Davey van 't Schip come to it time and time again, and survived most of what Paco threw at them. Us? Why not. for the time being it seems we're mostly on the same page.

In return, we went up the other end the bare minimum of times, and scored three goals. The first two were hardly pretty - the first of which saw a ball headed forward, then headed forward again, ending up with the flatfooted Paco defender being out sprinted by Matty Millar who proceeded to chip the ball over the keeper. For all the flak I've given him, I keep forgetting that Millar won the NPL's young player award last year.

The second goal was almost as bad, a free kick from out wide by Nick Epifano, headed sideways by Milos Lujic, which the commentator on the South Melbourne produced video will say was deliberate but to which I will disagree, and not just for the sake of being a contrarian. It found Luke Adams unmarked at the back post, who tucked the ball away well. So after having signed Carl Piergianni as some kind of English non-league superstar defender - with his penchant for scoring goals the added bonus of the acquisition - it's the same old faces doing the business.

Adams popping up at the back post to get his one goal a year ('he scores once a year) and an injury free Michael Eagar playing something like his old self. Of course that's no slight on Piergianni, like everyone else who isn't Milos Lujic and at a pinch the People's Champ, he has to earn his position, and with Adams coming off injured he may get a starting get on Friday. Oh, and credit on the defensive front also to Tim Mala, whom I've had in the 'sack him' crosshairs for some time now, and yet who has improved significantly in the last few weeks or so. Maybe he took the news of Kristian Konstantinidis' reduced suspension as a motivating factor in order to lift his performance?

But back to the main thrust of the game. We sat back, absorbed pressure, hit on the counter and scored from set pieces. That won't work against every team, but it did work this week because while Pascoe Vale have a potent attack, or at least one potent attacker, them not being allowed to shoot from within the 18 yard box made things harder for them, as did former South man Joey Yousseff trying to score with anything other than his head.

They were also a bit of a shambles at the back - and a bit slow, too - and we were right to take advantage of that. Marcus Schroen's clever and perfectly weighted pass to the People's Champ, who scored with a class finish was a very nice sequence of play, but it also depended on exploiting the opposition defense being slow and out of position. And there's a lesson in that for everyone - we watch our team every week, and because of this and because we are South fans, we get to know all our weaknesses on a very intimate level.

But we (in the general sense, you know, those South fans who have lives or who don't turn up to non-South NPL games other than to do Dodgy Asian Betting calls.) don't watch other teams, and don't get to see how bad they can be or learn their general and specific weaknesses. And a variation of the old (new) adage applies - if they were really any good, they wouldn't be playing in this league.

So, just on that, Nikola Roganovic's goalkeeping efforts ranged from the expected - full length diving saves; to the not so good - where a regulation catch somehow went through his legs and almost into his own net; to the sublime, a triple effort to keep out van 't Schip and one of his buddies from scoring when it should have nearly been a given. But, there's that other lesson: all goals count the same no matter how pretty they are or aren't, and all no goals are worth exactly diddly squat regardless of the effort applied into achieving that diddly squat.

So a slightly flattering 3-0, another home win, another step further away from the relegation, another step closer towards the top six. The injuries to Millar and Adams on a short turnaround aren't good news, but Luke Pavlou did OK filling in for Millar, Piergianni wouldn't mind another chance to prove his worth.

Next game
Bentleigh Greens at Kingston Heath on Friday night.

FFA Cup news
The draw for the next round is on Friday. Still a few games to be played in the current round at the time of publishing.

I saw last week somewhere that 'desserts' backward is 'stressed'. Coincidence? Probably, but there was some stress in the terraces about the lack of loukoumades. Where are the loukoumades people? Are they ever going to turn up? Why can't they shoot them out of novelty cannons into the crowd? What would the liability insurance be like if a loukoumada with peanuts hit was shot by a cannon into the crowd and hit someone with a nut allergy?

Maybe this problem is confined to three of four people, but for all the good cheer and service that the social club has provided, where are the desserts? And no, I'm not going to come into the club on my day off just because you have pancakes on those days.

More document uploads
Super thanks to Todd Giles for several Newcastle KB programmes from the late 1970s and early 1980s; glad that South of the Border could help fill in with some of the gaps in your collection. Thanks also to Ian Syson for the 2006 home game against Heidelberg. You can of course find those things here.

The jewel in this week's crown is the Vic Soccer '88 annual. Borrowed from Mark Boric, it took me way too long to scan considering its magnificence - as Boric has noted, it's what every season summary or yearbook should aspire to. Team photos of NSL, State Leagues, Amateurs and Victorian State Representative Junior teams. An amazing document.

I've also scanned some old Carlton programmes. I haven't linked to them anywhere, because it's all getting a bit unwieldy, but if you want those I can send you the links. Really need to set up that separate Oz soccer library site.

This photo of an Apex gang member wearing a South jacket
while being interviewed for A Current Affair has been doing
 the social media rounds. For those confused by the jacket's
colour scheme and provenance, it's apparently from the long
 defunct affiliation with the Piranhas academy set up. The
more pressing concern is that people are apparently
still watching A Current Affair.
Around the grounds
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Pumpkin Seeds
Another Saturday afternoon, and another trip around the corner to Castley Reserve, because Westgate seem to have received an inordinate number of home games - in their home away from home - to start the season. No complaints from me, except to note that they play some pretty rubbish soccer. This time Westgate's opponents were Keilor Park who were apparently having a very good season; Hard for me to tell from watching them plod around this match. In the first half, Keilor tried to pass their way into the 18 yard box, which didn't work well because they're not that talented and because Westgate were sitting pretty deep. Having limited the effectiveness of their opponents, and managed to eke out the only two chances of the first half - at least of which they should have scored from - Westgate decided to change their setup in the second half. They conceded a goal from a corner and never looked like they could get that goal back. At least the cevapi roll was decent. The small Altona Magic contingent in attendance would have learned nothing from this game.

Final thought
My blogging celebrity only goes so far, with last week another Paul receiving misdirected credit from a club legend about the things he writes on the internet.


  1. It's anyone's league this year.

    We make the ffa cup and the top 6 that'll be the minimum I'll be satisfied with.

    Pleasing to note we are scoring goals despite our strikers unable to do so. Teams have finally worked out how to stop Milos, might be time to try something different with Lujic to keep teams on their toes, prehaps a false 9

    1. I don't know if teams have finally figure out how to stop Milos, if indeed there is anything more to it than to mark him as tightly as possible; rather I think he's hit a rough patch of form. His heading for goal in particular, which used to be a reliable weapon of his, is not up to his usual levels of excellence.

  2. South performed 5 back heels in this match (Epa may have contributed at least 3 of them, one of which was in the highlights package). Prior to this match, I do not recall any!

    Speaking of Epa, I was going to suggest a new counter to replace the Social Club counter. "Days since Epa last insulted the club". Its been a while. Been so long that he now gives interviews for SMFCTV!

    1. Leigh Minopoulos has given off several backheels, some of which have led directly to goals. Dockerty Cup final 2015 in particular springs to mind.

      The People's Champ has given the odd interview since the heights of the 'unpleasantness'. Apart from anything else, he's not the most convivial and engaging of interview subjects.

      I think the next counter, if I choose to have another one, should be 'days since the loukoumades people turned up to Lakeside'.

    2. +1 for loukoumades

    3. True, but there was something about this weeks series of backheels, as if we were telling the rest of the competition we're back!

    4. +1 for loukoumades


  3. "For all the flak I've given him, I keep forgetting that Millar won the NPL's young player award last year."

    So YOU were the person abusing him at the Oakleigh match! LOL

  4. Kimon Trimboli4 May 2017 at 16:36

    I was watching ACA with the volume off the other night (Don't judge I had just got home and was vegging out playing with the kids) and my first thoughts where:

    #1 Hey did we sign Kenny Athiu? Awesome.
    #2 Go Hellas getting some airtime on Australian TV.

    Once I turned it up follow up thought was:

    #3 That should kill the Dandenong-Casey A League bid now, clearly APEX is ours :o)

  5. For those unable or unwilling to attend our next game, Bentleigh will apparently be broadcasting it on an internet radio stream.


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