Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Monday night football still sucks - Kingston City 1 South Melbourne 2

Like last week, the collective amorphous 'we' chose some less than ideal spots to watch this game from, the second half less worse than the first because at least it had some elevation. But, and this is so good, having decided at the last moment to move around to a different sport from where we had been, Milos Lujic's goal 30 seconds into the game was missed by the lemming ensemble. No matter, just because we didn't see it, doesn't mean it doesn't count.

At the same time, we had to deal with a bloke wearing a South scarf being escorted rather unwillingly out of the ground by security/ground marshals. We had seen this gentleman banging away at the back of one of the benches, not incoherently but quite clearly to the rhythm of a traditional Hellas chant. Only later did we learn that he happened to be Gavin De Niese's dad, but also that he'd thrown a bin over the South bench. One suspects he may have just received the news that his son, who has not been able to break out of the under 20s side, is to be let go - but that is just me being speculative.

[disputed remnants of Clarendon Corner intolerable in-joke digression - as one wit noted, no one thought we'd top the 'wet socks' fiasco from last week during the rest of the season, but here we are a week later with 'bingate'.]

The first half settled into a pattern of stupid but funny UFO related chants and the team playing pretty well. Some better crossing (even though it wasn't so bad this week as compared to last), someone waiting to pounce on the loose ball, and even a bit more luck for Milos would have seen us go ahead by two or three goals. Lujic's quick header in particular was one of those moments where you feel that last year he would've scored the same thing, but it's not worth being harsh on an opportunity that came onto him so quickly.

Anyway, because we didn't score, Kingston did. They relied a bit more on the counter attack then I thought they would, and they'd usually try to shoot from longer range than they perhaps needed to. But since we were unable to get the ball back into the mixer with as much reliability as we should have - perhaps it would've been better to have Matthew Foschini instead of Jesse Daley in that role - Kingston were entitled to try and absorb pressure, being under siege as they were, and relying on pace to get them up the field.

The one time they did get proper close to goal, former South man Chris Irwin latched on to a good pass and made the most of an out of shape back line to slot it past Nikola Roganovic. Some people (not me, for once) must have felt at the time that it was a crime to have let him go, and wasn't it amazing what he could do when not coming off the bench in the 93rd minute as a time-wasting sub.

Not that one felt that we couldn't get the lead again, but it sucked to have conceded even against a nimble and pacey attack like Kingston's. The second half was more of the same as far as I'm concerned except that, as noted earlier, perhaps our vantage point behind the goals at the eastern end of the ground was not the best place to watch the game from for analytical purposes.

It was the best place from which to see Marcus Schroen blast the ball over from range when a low drive would have done the job with the Kingston keeper way out of position. It was also a good place to watch the home side's defense block shots off the line. It was also, sadly, a magnificent position from which to watch Lujic miss an absolute sitter, which looked much worse from behind the goals than it did from the live feed - and it looked pretty bad from there.

With the People's Champ having played in Stefan Zinni - yes, he's actually back from his A-League sojourn, contrary to some things I had been hearing - the young winger passed the ball across the face inviting Lujic to score into an unguarded goal at the back post. Except that Lujic somehow launched it over the bar and possibly adding to the Westall UFO mystery in the process. At that point you had the feeling that we'd find a way to lose this game, but instead we scored our best team goal of the season. I'm not going to say it was some master class of planning and sequential deliberation - and it was helped by a Kingston player being caught ball watching and not tracking Matthew Millar into the box - but they all count the same.

And what's more, the finish was delightful, Millar calmly chipping the ball over the keeper and getting the ball to be at the right height and velocity to make it impossible for the defenders to clear it. Millar now has six goals in maybe almost as many games. I don't know what to make of it. What I do know however is that the 'Apples' nickname and associated chant is a bloody stupid gimmick and I won't have anything to do with it.

We were a little lucky not to be caught falling asleep at the wheel from a Kingston counter attack - Irwin should have done better with the chance, but he fluffed it, and maybe some people (not me, for once) must have felt at the time that it was hardly a crime to have let him go, and wasn't it amazing what he couldn't do when not coming off the bench in the 93rd minute as a time-wasting sub.

Anyway, we won the game, I've lost track of how many that is on the trot now, and are within three points (or something like that) of top spot in a crowded upper(!) half of the table, And some of people (maybe even me) wanted this entire team thrown on a barge which had been set alight and shipped off down the Yarra and into the ocean, viking style. How times change. Just don't check back in here in the event that next Wednesday night it all goes to crap again.

[By the way, how much would such a barge cost do you reckon? I'm thinking we should get a crowd funding scheme to buy one, so we could chuck the entire Melbourne Rebels organisation onto it and float it out to sea. Whatever it takes to get 'professional' and unnecessary rugby union out of Melbourne]

Next game
Bulleen at home on Sunday, the first of a very long series of home matches. I think Matthew Foschini is going to miss courtesy of pickup up five yellow cards. A few others will have to be careful not to pick up their own fifth yellow card, seeing as how the FFA Cup is on straight after the league game.

FFA Cup news
Our match against Dandenong City has been scheduled for Wednesday May 24th at Lakeside. Get your pitchforks and/or floral tributes ready for either of the scenarios.

Periodic burst of public transport user virtue signalling
The journey there was uneventful, except for the decision to take the winding backstreet path, often through poorly lit streets. The journey back, well... fairly brisk 15 minute walk back to Westall station. Pretty good connection with the next train to the city, except that it only went as far as Caulfield, because of some sort of works. Thus it was on to a replacement bus to South Yarra, not too bad considering it was not an express. Then a quick connection to the next city bound train at South Yarra, unfortunately ending up at the back end of platform 13. Plenty of time to get to platform 4 for 11:58 Sunbury service. Got home some time around 00:30. Good thing I didn't have anywhere to be on Tuesday.

Transfer window open
The transfer window is apparently open. Who knows if we have any loose change to spend, who's going, and where we might look to for reinforcements. I'm reading 'not much', 'Carl Piergianni', and 'who knows?'. Among other things (ie, another striker), the fans seem to want an attacking midfielder - one that isn't Andy Kecojevic, who isn't getting a game anyway, nor the People's Champ, who has been played there as a stop-gap measure at times - and preferably one that isn't cup tied. As noted earlier, Stefan Zinni has returned, having completed his stint at Western Sydney Wanderers - where he didn't get much game time. As a winger, he'll be competing against Leigh Minopoulos, Jesse Daley, and whoever else Chris Taylor likes to throw out on the wing. I don't know about our PPS situation either, but conceivably the club knows what it's doing (all hail the all-knowing club people squirrelling away in the back rooms, and not on the internet) on this front, and thus that won't be a major issue.

I had been asked by a famous journo friend to attend North Sunshine vs Preston (true story), but I did the right thing and trundled over to Lakeside on Saturday afternoon, through the Shanghai-like haze - now that's bravery for you. And it's not like anything of not happened out at Larissa Reserve anyway, if you know what I mean.

I was at Lakeside to watch the women's team play Heidelberg, which provided the chance for our WNPL side to rack up some goals and boost the plus/minus differential against the struggling visitors. But first there was the issue of lunch. The open souv has changed, more expensive now to distinguish it from the closed/takeaway variant. It's also more in the vein of what'd you get in terms of a plated souv at various Greek restaurants - meat, salad (not the caramelised onion of before), chips, pita, tzatziki on the side. They've also brought in a couple of new craft beers on tap.  But they also trialled brining in some pastries, and this I also pigged out on a very buttery danish. I thought everything was very good, but others may be less impressed by everything. It's not in my nature to complain after all.

Caitlin Greiser has won an athletic scholarship to the US.
Photo: Damjan JanevskiStar Weekly.
The game itself was not lacklustre, but it did lack something. Maybe because both sides have played three games in a week due to cup commitments. Maybe because of no Lisa De Vanna, reputedly dealing with a hamstring injury. Maybe it was because Heidelberg are anchored near the bottom? Probably all three of those reasons contributed.

South dominated this game from start to finish, with Heidelberg rarely mounting a meaningful attack. While South was unlucky to a degree - the girls hit the woodwork a couple of times - it took until the last ten minutes of the half to convert that dominance into goals. When we ended the half 3-0 up, not only was the game cooked, but one began to wonder how many more we'de end up with. As it turned out, the halftime score was also the full time score, as for whatever reason the team wasn't able to convert its mountain of possession into meaningful chances. So, while we chalked up the win we were expected to, it was a missed opportunity in terms of bettering our goal difference. This week our women host the ladder leading Calder at home at 1:30, as the curtain raiser to the men's game against Bulleen.
Match programme uploads
I've uploaded some more South vs Newcastle and Newcastle vs South match progammes, including the Michael Schumacher special! Thanks to Todd Giles for those. I've also added the recent Bentleigh vs South programme - it isn't much to look at, but at least it exists - and a Knights vs South programme from 2014 which I had stashed away but had forgotten to upload.
I've also added more editions of Soccer News with text recognition (1961 and 1964) after Mark Boric recently updated his collection.

Video uploads
Relive the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the creamy middles.. in other words, I've finished uploading all the 2005-2007 South Melbourne videos I had at my disposal. Next step is to somehow get access to the Greek Media Groups' archives to get as much of their footage online as possible. Don't hold your breath. Thanks to Box, Gav, and whoever else put these games on DVD in the first place.

Around the grounds
As for the match itself, well...
Decided to walk towards Ralph Reserve from my house, a leisurely 15 minute stroll, for Western Suburbs vs Altona East. About halfway there you could smell the souvs, but wouldn't you know it, when I eventually decided to get one, one of the volunteers threw a tantrum while I was waiting in line and the canteen was unilaterally closed for five minutes. As this was five minutes before kickoff - and it's hard to tweet and eat at the same time - I had to wait until the halftime break. Aside from that, I had to deal with the Bentleigh Peanut Man having a go at me for being a Hellas fan at non-South game, and then becoming chatty with me and offering me a lift back from The Grange to Westall on the next night if I needed one. As for the game itself, pretty freaking ordinary. East will be shattered not only that they lost 4-1, but that they copped the same goal three times.

Final thought
Outside the ground, someone had placed one of those cleaners' "caution - wet floor" signs on the grassy path. Not sure if they were being serious or hilarious.


  1. As I was walking to the ground, I noticed some flashing lights down to the left beyond the trees, which looked exactly like the grove that Mr Burns was found wandering in his drug induced state in the Simpsons.

    I wandered down and took some photos and video of the UFO. It would have been slightly comical except I could hear some voices beyond the bushes. Only people of ill repute linger around bushes in May in the darkness, so I quickly sauntered to the carpark and to the ground.

  2. You know, the root of the word Miller is a Greek word. Miller come from the Greek word "milo," which is mean "apple," so there you go. As many of you know, our name, Portokalos, is come from the Greek word "portokali," which mean "orange." So, okay? Here tonight, we have, ah, apple and orange. We all different, but in the end, we all fruit.

    -Apples Fan Club

    1. Why you little! (shakes fist angrily, but also in futility).

  3. Bill was on the radio last night - looks like Souths are looking to make a further 3 additions to replace perhaps De Niese and Piergianni? Although I would suspect such transfers would only occur should Hellas win against Dandy City to make the FFA Cup 32.

  4. Been reliably informed by old mate Griff that a 'five yellow cards' suspension won't necessarily mean a player misses the FFA CUP match. Red card, different story.

  5. Interviewer: At what stage did you know that he (Zinni) was going to figure in your plans tonight?

    Chris Taylor: About four o'clock today.

    I don't know why, but CT's deadpan response here makes me smile. If I ever find out that it was staged or preprepared, I don't know if I could ever trust anyone ever again.

  6. Kimon Trimboli17 May 2017 at 17:51

    But I wouldn't have thought Roberto Carlos was a straight swap for Parmagianna :o).

    Oh, hold on, its all clear now, Carlos to play in Nortons position and Brad to play more centrally replacing Adams - NOW I understand why Adams was wearing #20 on Monday night?.

    Also explains why Harry the music man was playing samba beats after the game....

    Love this X-Files conspiracy theory shit


  7. Don't know what's wrong with Lujic but he had 2 or 3 easy chances he should have buried. Hopefully he comes good in the second half of the season and at least he got decent service on the weekend. Good little assist for Mr Apple also.
    Hellas FC

  8. A surprisingly entertaining NPL match, with both teams having a decent crack. How South was not up 3-0 after half an hour is beyond me. Lujic and Shroen both in general had a poor match, even though Lujic scored.

    Good to see Irwin playing more and improving his skills. Hopefully we can see him back at South when he's a more well rounded player.

    After the horrendous start to the season, we have turned things around. Hopefully that good form can continue.

  9. I realised you missed a pivotal moment of the season in which CC appeared to unanimously decided on the name change of Wogface to Johnny Woggins.

    1. Don't mind the kid. Has plenty of passion and shows up every week. Can't ask for too much more.

    2. I thought it was "wog voice"??

    3. I always used 'wog voice' for obvious reasons, but others used 'wog face' because of the billboard he was on? No matter, he is as integral member of the gang as anyone else, who doesn't take himself too seriously.

  10. Wait I don't understand what happened with De Niesses dad

    1. Threw a bin over the South bench at the start of the game, was evicted by security.

    2. Verbally abused Stefan Zinni for being selected in the squad during the minutes silence


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