Sunday, 11 March 2018

It's not the end of world, yet - Oakleigh Cannons 4 South Melbourne 1

Necessary note
Anyone looking for the post on the Melbourne edition of the AAFC's roadshow, it's not included in this post. Probably tomorrow.

Was Andy Brennan subbed off at halftime, or did he merely
 transpose himself to another dimension? Photo: Mike Owen.
Omens, I don't believe in them, but...
It didn't start off well. First, the galette place off Flinders Lane I was going to have dinner at was closed for renovations. Then upon arrival at the ground, an apprentice loan shark handing out home loan pamphlets n behalf of a bank inside the gate couldn't take 'no' for answer after I told him that as a student I didn't have the secure financial standing of taking out a home loan. And then in the middle of a conversation about trains and public transport that I was having with (ex-South player) Gavin De Niese's dad, some bloke starts talking to me about the Macedonia issue, when if he'd waited five minutes he could have had that conversation with the kid wearing the blue Star of Vergina t-shirt.

But enough about omens of no meaning. Nothing gets the juices on the South forums going like a loss, so I guess there's that to be said for Friday's loss. Three games in, and everyone's an expert on season 2018, which is good for me, because I don't need to write any more South match reports for 2018. The gist of it is this. We play a different, cuter brand of football, one with a higher potential upside, but equally frightening possibility of getting mauled. It was apparently visible in those parts of the pre-season which I missed, and it has only be reinforced by our first three games.

It was the same lineup for a third game in a row, and though you wouldn't change a winning team unless you had to, you know that for the time being at least it's going to be the same lineup unless forced to be otherwise, and what's more, it's also going to be the same substitutions unless compelled otherwise. So, Brennan off for Minatel, and Pavlou on for Jawadi, and names pulled out of a hat or not at all for the third sub. Short of suspensions or injuries this is going to be it for at least until the mid-season transfer window, or until Marcus Schroen is ready to come back into the lineup.

That's not an out and out complaint. The first eleven is good enough to play well and do well, and the board has made what seems like a deliberate attempt to at least pay more than their usual lip service to youth development by having some youth players on the bench. But it also means that there's not nearly enough depth at the moment to implement Plan B when Plan A goes astray, only the chance to rest some players should Plan A be going along well enough during a game that such luxuries as putting on players promoted from the youth team would do no harm.

The first half, barring the fact that we didn't manage to score - thanks to the ball somehow not crossing the line in our best attack, and some crappier than you'd like crossing - was good enough. We had the better of the play, we looked decent going forward, and we won the ball back well when we had to. We were getting more pressure on us on the ball than we had the previous two weeks, but we still looked good, especially in moving the ball around midfield. Then the second half started with conceding a lobbed goal - people disagree on how much the keeper should be blamed, I'm on the side of not much after watching the video - and you didn't know which way this was going to go now. Getting the goal back only to concede again within seconds was sealer, in fairness.

Just on Oliver Minatel's equaliser. Yeah, there's an argument for wanting the dodgiest goals possible against your opponent, especially in a big game like this, but I was very close to the incident and I didn't feel much like celebrating. A large part of that was because for a while I was sure that one of the officials would eventually overrule the goal - after all, it was as blatant a handball as you could get. But there was another, secretly moralistic part of me that was kind of sickened by its shamelessness, because it didn't even look like Minatel needed to punch the ball into the goal, because he could've easily headed it in.

The officiating was pretty ordinary all around to be honest. How neither of those two karate leg chop attempts by Oakleigh within seconds of each other didn't get a yellow card says volumes about what is acceptable in Victorian soccer. To be fair though, Oakleigh looked a different team in the second half to what they've been putting up so far this season, and they played well. Lot of people caning our defence for this loss, and there's something to that - what was Konstantinidis doing dribbling along the edge of the box like that - but for mine more blame should go to the midfield, which disappeared from the field for long stretches of the second half.

Part of the problem was Brennan going off - either because of form or because of an injury - because even if he wasn't having a blinder going forward, he was doing well with Foschini in winning the ball back, and forcing Oakleigh to cough up the ball in midfield. When we fell behind for the second time, all sense of structure and attacking synchronisation went out the window, and we went back to long balls and not really believing that we could get back in the game.

Still, in my estimation it's not quite wrist-slashing time yet. Anyone moving the dial forward on the South Melbourne Hellas doomsday clock just because we lost another game against Oakleigh at Jack Edwards probably doesn't deserve to be in charge of said doomsday clock on the first place.

The one day of the year, which seems to be at almost every time we play away from home
Decent crowd at Oakleigh on Friday night, a few more than I expected upon kickoff because it looked like there was no one there when the game was starting. Fair enough, everyone loves to come see South lose, or win, or most likely whatever, because most of these people will only go to this and maybe one other NPL game for the season and not give it a second thought afterwards. It is what it is, and it's going to continue being what it is unless someone unlocks the secret of actually getting people to NPL games outside of a gimmick game.

There's no point getting too upset about it. It's funny though when you see Kingston and Oakleigh people having a go at a poor Bentleigh home crowd on the same night, when as if the roles were reversed that most of the people attending Friday night soccer wouldn't be Kingston Heath instead to watch a Green-South game, with the Oaks crowd lucky to get get intro triple figures.

As I noted on said forum:
Let's be honest, most teams in this league and the one below it have stuff all home support, less than stuff all away support, and rely on the visits of the two or three teams with slightly above stuff all support to bump up their attendance figures a couple of times a year.
And giving Pascoe Vale stick for not bringing away support when none of the minor Greek teams bring pretty much anyone ever to away games further than a five minute drive away is really something.

Next game
Pascoe Vale away at CB Smith Reserve in Fawkner on Friday night. Keep in mind that this game has a kickoff time of 8:15PM.

The word going around the terraces on Friday was that the club attempted to get special dispensation from FFV to sign Nikola Roganovic as an injury replacement player for Alastair Bray, but the FFV said no. I'm hearing also that we'll be appealing that decision, Normally I'd be all for telling teams - any team, not just South - to suck it up, but in the case of an injured keeper over an outfielder, I'm more sympathetic. But if we were to get knocked back on appeal, one hopes that this is a standard that gets applied to all clubs from now on.

But I ask you, what is a contract?
For whatever it's worth, and who knows if it's actually worth anything, Matthew Foschini has been signed up until the end of 2020. So that's the right back slot sorted for the next few years. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

Meanwhile 2: Is he or isn't he?
While we're on the subject of contracts with mysterious and possibly disputable clauses, they say that Chris Taylor is set to become Green Gully's coach soon, with Arthur Papas set to depart for more lucrative lands. What a time to be alive.

Or not.
The good thing about the internet is that it gives you the full range of options when it comes to believing something about a particular person, circumstance, fact, and yet to be even tested fact.

Speaking of which
It's kinda cute when someone without access to certain long closed off founts of all Victorian soccer knowledge and innuendo sends you something as if you didn't see it three days before.

I'm not judging, but it is funny. And to be honest, there's much lamer behaviour on the internet.

Perpetual Motion Outrage Machine Dumpster Fire Car Crash
As far as the timeline of @smfc Twitter mentions go, there are good weeks and bad weeks, and there are quiet weeks and busy weeks. This week was bad and busy. I'm prevented from seeing a fair chunk of it, due to being a blocked by a regular poster to that timeline, but geez louise even I could figure out that there was a massive pile on Shouty Mike. Before that, people got sucked in to fighting with a Glory-supporting alt-right wannabe, arguing with him for what seemed like days, but was probably only a solid 36 hours.

As someone who spends an inordinate amount of time online, there are some lessons to be learned from this week. On the former point, never, ever tweet. On the second issue, don't engage with people whose only purpose is trolling. I mean, people are free to do as they wish on social media, it's their free time, but is hammering away at someone who isn't going to change their mind worth that much of your time and effort?

Around the grounds, not this week
With both Knights and George Cross on the road this week I was looking forward to a weekend away from Knights Stadium. Then I looked up the FFA Cup fixtures, and saw Strathmore Split playing Bell Park at Somers Street, and I was all ready to go - until I saw it was set for the outside pitch. Any other day I would've been there with bells on, but with the mercury well over 35, it was a no from me. Shame, as there were a few goals in that game.

Final thought
Maybe a South of the Border t-shirt would be a good idea, but I'm no graphic designer.


  1. Can't say that if I had a shirt I'd wear it to anywhere but the odd South game, but it would be a nice gesture

  2. It's a ONE comment sort of game (plus this one!).

    We need another Bill Papa pronouncement!

    1. Please no. Speaking of which, have you heard that Harry the Drummer has apparently decamped to the Bergers?

    2. Great! No more shit drumming. I also heard he tried suing the club for 20k

  3. Bring back CT.
    Cant believe how quick it had died down.


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