|Nearly impossible to understand in-joke placed here for my own amusement.|
Yes, when you approach games such as this you are expected to show at least some level of at least mock concern. You know, the kind of concern that goes along the lines of "sure we're unbeaten in three months and they've won one game all season, but stranger things can happen so let's not be complacent". That went out the window pretty quickly in this game. We dominated from the start, and even though it took a little longer than one would've like to open the scoring - I did say to Gains at one point that 'it'd be nice to score soon, just in case' - the gulf in class was there for all to see.
A struggling team like St Albans might be able to hack and scrap out a result on its own ground - especially something like the small and bumpy Churchill Reserve - but on the wide, lush expanses of Lakeside, they will struggle to keep up. This is especially the case if their opponents, like South, employ a wide and expansive game. Without Milos Lujic - who was out injured - Leigh Minopoulos moved into the centre-forward position, and Stefan Zinni replaced the suspended Jesse Daley. Minopoulos provided a more mobile forward option, and Zinni a faster option out wide, neither of which St Albans could handle. And that's not even mentioning the marauding goal scoring midfield machine that is 2017's Matthew Millar.
Once the first goal was scored by Millar, the rest came tumbling after, and any sense of this being a danger game was quickly pushed away. Minopoulos, Brad Norton and Nick Epifano all had goals before the break. With Heidelberg falling behind at home to Oakleigh, the focus turned to goal difference and possibility of even snatching top spot. After our abysmal 'sack everyone' start to the season, it has been a remarkable turnaround. That doesn't mean that complacency hadn't slipped in - Calvin Mbarga's goal before half time seemed to come out of nowhere, as these things tend to do when you're on top by so much, so early.
|The social club has upgraded its seating. It's now steel frames and padding.|
They also had a spaghetti special, which I would've been more amenable
to trying had it been made with a short pasta variety. Spaghetti gets messy.
And to their credit St Albans came out hard in the second half, while we were still poncing about. They should have added a second goal, and only the vagaries of the laws of physics kept them from doing so. Don't ask me how it works, I'm a lowly humanities human. Soon enough however South woke up and resumed the barrage - and the showboating. The heights of this insanity? Michael Eagar attempting some outrageous flick from a corner, and a Pavlou pile driver from a very long way out which crashed against the post.
Never mind. Two more goals to Minopoulos, another goal to Millar, and a goal on debut to Spanish forward David Marca Moreno completed the humiliation. If not for the efforts of the St Albans goalkeeper, without any sense of hyperbole the scoreline could've ended much worse for the visitors. They were also saved - if such a thing could be argued - by the referee, who refused to play any additional time. Maybe he'd seen enough. I understand. We'd got enough goals to do end the day on top of the table, and the crowd was mostly very appreciative of this fact - except for some indistinct goings on at the back of the stand.
I was pleased that Matthew Foschini was kept at right back and Luke Pavlou at defensive mid. Nick Epifano came off injured in the second half - it looked serious, but you never with these things. A late yellow card to Brad Norton was unnecessary. It was good to get a full game into Zinni, and some minutes into Moreno. Both looked good, but the calibre of opponent was not optimal in regards to testing either of them to the fullest. If this match demonstrated anything, it showed up the difference between the haves and have nots of the Victorian topflight. Once upon a time, the power centre was very much in the north and west, and even if St Albans were never the most successful part of the western element, they were a Victorian topflight mainstay for twenty years. The arrival of Melbourne Knights from the NSL hasn't helped Dinamo's cause, but neither has the power and money centre shifting in a south-easterly direction. They've also had their injuries, but they also can't attract the combination of quality aspirant youngters, A-League fringe-dwellers, and top-shelf VPL lifers as South and teams like South can.
For us, we have a much tougher run in the next couple of weeks - Dockerty Cup midweek, very short recovery time before playing Oakleigh, and then Green Gully the week after. The squad's depth will be tested, and while we want to win everything, there may need to be some rationing made, and some players nursed through. Oh, and Kristian Konstantinidis is due back soon.
Bentleigh Greens in a Dockerty Cup semi-final at Oakleigh on Thursday. My first wish is that we win the game. My second wish is that whoever is listed as the away side for this fixture - and it appears to be Bentleigh in this case - wears white or their nominated away colours. for the sake of improved visibility insofar as this is a night game and royal blue and dark green tend to blur into each other, especially on poorly lit grounds. I expect this game to be streamed live, but check your local guides closer to the event.
Slipping under the radar
Among the transfers last week - unannounced by the club - was Lionel Masudi from NPL 2 side Murray United. He played in the under 20s match last week.
Former South Melbourne junior Ajdin Hrsutic who made his national team debut last week in the Socceroos' loss to Brazil.
Added round 5, 1978 thanks to Mark Boric.
Around the grounds
In the interests of science
So by now you've all heard of the amazing nine minutes in which Bulleen put five goals past Knights at Somers Street. It sucked the right out of the stadium. The goals were flying in so quickly, my phone froze and Bulleen scored twice during the reboot. What you may not have heard is who is getting the blame for this - and it's not who you may think! Yes, rather than the coaches or the players, it's your correspondent who has been singled out for blame, all for doing nothing more than attending Knights matches in 2017. Well, there's only one way to test this theory out properly - I must keep going to Knights matches this season to see if it's really my presence that's cursed them.
No food in the fridge so let's repaint the house
So, Altona East finally get to a play a proper home game in 2017. The new grass is close enough to ready. The new fences are up. Now all they need is some points, because as it stands things are not looking good. They start off this game against the capable Banyule by hitting the crossbar, then falling behind. They win a penalty, and have it saved. Things fall apart in the second half as frustration turns teamwork toward ego, and they cop two more goals. None of these three goals are especially remarkable, but they are pleasing to watch for their simplicity, which is not the same thing as hoofball. Given the level they play at, and the bigger budgets of other clubs, Banyule at least provide a lesson in how to play the game from which anyone can learn from.
The cheesecake was fine. I've had better. I've had worse. I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't go so far as to absolutely rave about it. But at least I know how to savour these things, make the moment last.