And that's kinda what happened. Heidelberg did win their game, our result became meaningless in the greater scheme of things, and we all went home if not content, then at least not miserable. If only it were that simple.
FFV and their accomplices having botched the simultaneous kick-offs, our game started later than most of the others, and soon enough the Bergers were 1-0 down, then 2-0 down. Then we were up! It was the best five to ten minutes of the season, everyone feeling joyous and wonderful. Then it all started falling apart.
Iaconis scored a belter of a long range goal for Kingston, Heidelberg started making inroads into their deficit, and we fell apart. Pushing numbers forward looking for goals, keeping an eye on the other game as we fell behind, everything turned a bit nasty in the stands,
Then as Heidelberg first drew level then stormed into the lead in their game, and the helicopter was firmly planted in Bulleen, the mood softened just a little. Kristian Konstatinidis' long range goal at least gave us something to cheer for, and the scoreboard had erroneously put us ahead.
Having lost the game, the debate rages on to other things. Like, considering where we came from - second last place after seven or eight rounds - to where we ended up, second place, was a pretty damn fine achievement.
Now one could say that we should never have found our way into that situation in the first place, but considering some of our Negative Nancy pundits had us not only missing the finals, but getting relegated to boot, it's not such a bad outcome.
Of more legitimate complaint would be that we've seemingly hit a bit of a form slump, Especially at home in more recent times. Losses to Gully, Avondale and Kingston, and only a win over Edgeworth (last minute) and Bentleigh (dead tired) in our last five games.
Even there I would note that the Gully game was months ago, and the Avondale game hardly a game we were overrun in. But some people invest a lot in the Fortress Lakeside myth, and that includes the coaching staff and players, so this erratic run of home form isn't ideal.
The usual concerns also remain. What to do for goals when Milos Lujic is marked out of a game. What to do to bolster the central midfield with a bit of experience without sacrificing effectiveness on our right hand side by moving Matthew Foschini. How to change things up when Marcus Schroen goes missing in game, especially now that we don't have Jesse Daley as an option.
Oh, and the persistent problem of mid-season recruiting and the monstrous folly of this Spanish experiment. The good news is that we only have to win two games to win the championship.
Meh, we probably would've botched the national playoffs anyway.
But what does it all mean?
So we've finished second on the table, but what happens now?. First of all, it means we get a week off before hosting the highest ranked winner from this week's finals matches. That means if Avondale win their game against Oakleigh, we'll host Avondale. If Avondale lose however, we'll be hosting the winner of Green Gully and Bentleigh.
If we even dare to look further ahead, should we make the grand final, the game will apparently be played at a neutral venue, and not Lakeside Stadium. But we'll cross that bridge if and when we arrive at it.
Minor statistical anomaly of no importance
It doesn't make any difference whatsoever to what happened yesterday, or what will happen in the immediate future, but this was the first time we'd lost our final game of the home and away season since 2006. Considering some of the very mediocre seasons we had between then and the Chris Taylor era, that's quite the little run. Of course we went on to win the championship that season, back when there was no confusion about 'premiers' and 'champions'. Not that I'm looking for omens mind you.
If I may be so bold as to be a little bit optimistic...
For a game that offered little hope of realistically securing first place before we started, and considering we also had to keep fresh for Wednesday, I'm not even sure one could take much of out of this and see some sort of pattern. The game started off slowly, almost as it were a pre-season game. The atmosphere was flat until it was enlivened by the planets seemingly coming into alignment, and it was our own misguided and foolish optimism that made things feels worse than they already did..
Yes we would've expected to beat a recently promoted team that had achieved its primary aim of avoiding relegation but wasn't going to play finals, but having to chase the game - and goals - created a situation which suited Kingston and their ability to hit teams on the counter. The argument that our team mentally capitulated doesn't wash with me. Hopefully that's not what the message was from the movers and shakers if they visited the changing rooms after the game.
We had enough chances to score more than our two goals, and failed to do so. It's not the end of the world, let alone the end of the season. If any of our players are foolish enough to read this nonsense, I'd want them to remember that they've put together a pretty good season overall, and that there's still time to make it better.
FFA Cup at home against Sorrento on Wednesday. Please note that kickoff for this one is 7:30PM, not 8:00PM as per the last FFA Cup round.
And yes, the average mug punter has access to the social club from early on this time around, with the corporate stuff being held elsewhere. It's your social club, use it!
Speaking of which
Where was everyone yesterday before the game? You missed me beating Griff 1-0 (PAOK vs Socceroos) on FIFA 15 with a shot from outside the box that rolled under Mat Ryan. It was magic.
I've updated our 2014 post about the Paul Wade statuette.
Also match programmes - 2011 minor semi-final against Oakleigh; 2011 women's grand final against Sandringham.
Trent Rixon's time at @smfc was marred by injury, but we'll always have this moment https://t.co/5Jq9WzWad4 enjoy your retirement, Trent.— Paul Mavroudis (@PaulMavroudis) August 19, 2017