Friday, 29 March 2019

A quick note about the John Cain Memorial Park asbestos trench (and access to the venue)

This information is ripped straight from the club's newsletter.

Important Note: John Cain Memorial Reserve
For those members and supporters attending the Sunday fixture against Green Gully at John Cain Memorial Park, please note access to the ground is restricted as a result of Council works. Ground access is ONLY available from the north via Clarendon Street. It is not possible to access the venue from the traditional car park area at the centre of the complex.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Bad feeling - Pascoe Vale 2 South Melbourne 0

That was incredibly deflating. I want to be optimistic because of the fact that, apart from the two heinous errors committed by Alastair Bray and Billy Konstantinidis, we played well, and created enough chances to score and earn a draw.

But the other part of me agrees with Leigh Minopoulos' post-match comments, that playing well and not getting any points is, erm, pointless. So this could go one of two ways - we could continue playing well and have our luck change, or we could start playing objectively poor football and find ourselves getting humiliated.

No KK, who was sick, and no Roganovic who was also sick, certainly didn't help matters. KK's absence meant that everyone's favourite whipping boy Perry Lambropoulos (who I am told is not Con Tangalakis' godson) got a start, as did the under-prepared Alastair Bray. Bray's first touch was fine, a long clearing kick, except for the fact that it looked like he'd hurt himself in the process. Worse was to come, when he passed the ball straight to ex-South man Dimi Hatzimouratis for an easy finish and the first goal scored by Pascoe Vale this year that wasn't credited to Davey van 't Schip.

Then just as we starting to look like we might get back in the game - and it was still very early on - Billy Konstantinidis, who must've been responding to some very harsh treatment from the defender next to him, decide to punch said opponent in the guts. It made a hell of a sound, and the crumpled player on the ground pretty much made it a dead give away that something bad had happened, and Billy got his marching orders. Because it's also on video, it looks like Billy will be on the sideline for some weeks, if not months to come.

Which is a terrible shame for someone who was going to be one of the two most important players in our efforts to be competitive this year. I would've thought that being a pro for over a decade in Greece that Billy would have copped worse, but who knows. Certainly not I, who has never been in a similar kind of position like ever, except for this one time at Greek school back in the 90s, but that's another story.

The rest of the half saw Paco sit back - and while we tried to attack, there had not been time to properly reshuffle and thus Marcus Schroen was playing both midfield and centre forward, which wasn't working of anyone. Still, as unquestionable as Billy's send off was, I can't believe that Davey van 't Schip didn't get the same punishment for a swinging elbow, let alone how Gerrie being fouled from behind after he beat two or three opponents didn't warrant anything except a play on call.

Oh, and apparently you can push down on an opponent's shoulders from a corner now. Good to know.

The second half was better was from us, and it was hard to tell whether Paco were content to sit back or actually scared of what we were capable of, but we didn't have our shooting boots on. Three games in a row with no goals suggests to me that we need to send out a more attacking team. Taking Gerrie Sylaidos off when you're chasing a game doesn't seem to fit in with that equation though. Leigh Minopoulos, coming back from injury again, got about fifteen minutes, but clearly has a ways to go before being match fit.

The closest we got was a shot cleared off the line, but it was only a matter of time before Paco got out the back and finally put the game to rest. Three losses in a row, a still unsettled and imperfect line up, and you wonder if it's going to get worse before it gets better.

Next match
Green Gully at 'home', at John Cain Memorial Park. In 27 games here, we've only lost four times, all to Northcote. Not that a stat like that means anything.

FFA Cup news
Our fourth round match against Essendon Royals has been scheduled for the Good Friday public holiday next month, with Lakeside as the venue.

Match programs
Thanks to Luke Patitsas of the Sour Grapes South blog for sending over one more match program, from the 2015 grand final. We've also added a couple more from Mark Boric from the 2002/03 season, the Wollongong and Newcastle home programs - and we'll add a Carlton away program from 1999/2000 tomorrow when I can do add text recognition to it, As usual, you can find the new additions with the old, on the South match programs page.

On the couch
Good to see a soccer club that still has a pinball machine. Bad to see a photographer
get too arty for their own good and take a pic of said in table in black and white!
Photo: Luke Radziminski.
Got to see two South women's games this week; well most of them anyway. The first game was a midweek affair against Alamein out at the Knox synthetics. This was an ugly, ugly game to watch. South coughed up the early lead and had to wait until very late to claw back the game - and only via a semi-dodgy penalty. Good on Sofia Sakalis for smashing in an unstoppable shot from the spot. Imagine what player - still only 17 - could achieve if only she lost a bit of hell tunnel vision when she has the ball.

Then onto to a Saturday night game in Geelong against the Galaxy, who are now playing out of Stead Park and wearing the colours of Geelong SC - they've got to do what works and keeps them as a going concern I suppose, and playing out of Torquay the past few seasons seems to have been a sort of dead end.

Once again, a pretty ugly game, and worse, this time the side fell 2-0 behind before halftime. I honestly don't know about this team this season. We're always a little bit of a slow starting team until the W-League players return, but it feels like there's been a slip in standards. To be fair, one commentator on soccer-forum whose opinions on these matters I respect has suggested that the standard across the board has slipped a bit. Certainly I think not having Melina Ayers not the retired (to social football) Tiff Eliadis has taken away something from the team.

Still, diminished or not, the team found a way back from the brink in this game, eventually steamrolling past the home team to 4-2. Almost every one of the four goals had a bit of luck or chaos to it, but it's not how, but how many right? Just ask the senior men's team about style over substance.

Around the grounds
The game with the worst ref in Victorian soccer
Here's the thing about actually attending a game in person. Unless the game is like, just around the corner from your house, getting up and leaving halfway through the match is usually not worth the bother, because the time and effort and money (for those that pay entry) expended in getting there means it probably isn't worth getting up and going home after 35 minutes of awful football. Which is to say, that I have been spoilt by the five weeks or so of non-stop live streamed games. But someone will make an argument about fresh air, sociability, and souvs, and I suppose you have to test that theory out as well. Well out at Paisley Park the air is always refinery fresh, the sociability is limited to the same two or three sane people you'd find at any ground, and the souv, being a round one 2019 offering, was of course put into a round 22 2018 roll. The game between Altona East and Mill Park, who I'm already predicting to be among the mid-table also rans - and this is me, who never makes predictions like these. Anyway, this was a lousy game for 40 odd minutes, and then picked up thanks to a red card to East and a converted penalty to Mill Park. The game opened up in the second half. East butchered some chances, drew level from a corner, Mill Park missed a penalty, and then Jerry Karpeh - remember him? - hit one of the worst penalties I've ever seen, and East failed to take the lead, which naturally led to the visitors scoring two late ones for a 3-1 win. I'll probably be back.

Final thought

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Let's see where he's going with this - Kingston City 1 South Melbourne 0

It's a decent walk from Westall station to the The Grange, and a decent walk back after a game, but two things can make the effort seem more worthwhile. First, a win; and second, a decent souv.  Sadly neither of these things was on offer on Monday night, and we have to make do with the hand we've been dealt.

It's not the result we wanted, and for a good chunk of the game, not the kind of performance we wanted either. The portents were there from before the game, when we saw that once again Gerrie Sylaidos was on the bench. Starting on the bench against Avondale, I can understand even if not entirely agree, but why he didn't start on Monday is anyone's guess.

More to the point, why was Gerrie not subbed on until about ten minutes after Kingston got their red card? And why was Luke Adams not even in the starting eleven? And why was Perry Lambropoulos still starting at right-back? These are the questions that I and many other South fans had on Monday night and afterward. The consensus among our social media dwelling fans seems to be pretty clear. It starts with a back four of KK, Adams, Marshall, and Norton. And just as importantly, starting Gerrie in the same team as Schroen, and dropping one of the two defensive mids we've been starting every game with.
The VIP section at any ground is wherever Mike Mandalis is located.
Photo: Luke Radziminksi

If Tangalakis is of the idea that Gerrie and Schroen can't play in the same team, surely that notion would've been dismantled once and for all by the way the team played in the 25 odd minutes they were on the park together. Yes they were playing against ten men, but the team as a whole showed more purpose and drive than it had prior to that point. It's understandable that in some games, against a superior opponent, a coach might want to go more defensive, try to grind out a result. This makes even more sense I suppose when you don't start a recognised striker in a game for seeming lack of other options.

But Kingston, despite being a good team in their own right, are not Bentleigh or Avondale, and we should not be afraid of taking on a team like that. We let them take the initiative in the early part of the game, and were only able to make do with the odd long ball out of defence that caught our opponents out of position. But the fact that we were able to manage to get some good chances out of even

No amount of voodoo stick magic was able to get us over the line.
Photo: Luke Radziminksi
The other side of this apparent desire to preference defence over attack is this - our strengths this season, such as they are, lie not in defense, but in our attacking prowess. Sylaidos, Marafioti, and Krousoratis are dynamic, creative players who thrive on being given licence to attack. Marcus Schroen is capable of scoring goals, even if he didn't make the most of either of his two headed chances in this game. And now that we have Billy Konstantinidis starting, surely our efforts should go on to maximising that threat.

Indeed the biggest positive to take from this game, other than the fact that we did fight out the game to the end without too many obvious signs of despair, was Billy's performance. He straightens the team up, provides an obvious focal point, and has a powerful shot. But most importantly, he showed on Monday night that he can also be a hard worker. Numerous times in the latter part of the game, he would move out of the box to provide an option, to collect a pass, to create room in the space left behind for other players to move into.

This dog is every South fan at the moment.
Photo: Luke Radziminksi 
There was a lot of resignation among our supporters after the game, and to a degree it was warranted. But I felt that when we actually started playing the way we are capable of, we are actually a very threatening side. The key seems to me to settle on a starting eleven that takes advantage of our strengths. That doesn't negate our deficiencies - we are too reliant on counter-attack, we play the ball back to much, Roganovic's distribution is in poor shape, etc, etc - but I was more upset at the beginning of the game than I was at the end. That's not to say I was happy with the result, only that one has to acknowledge that the team fought until the end, created its share of chances, and played against a keeper that had a very good game. As long as morale remains steady, and the right team setup is put on the field, more positive results shouldn't necessarily be far away.

There's a lot of ifs and buts in that, and if we lose another two or three games soon and find ourselves in the relegation zone rather than hovering above it, all pretense of stoicism will fall away. I hope that it doesn't come to that, because this team has the potential to do good things.

Next game
Pascoe Vale away at CB Smith Reserve on Friday night.

On the couch
Thank goodness the footy and the state leagues are starting this week
Kinda weird watching Dandenong City vs Melbourne Knights, this year's variant of the NPL Croatian derby, in that while making references to the FFA Cup match these teams played against each other a year or two back, neither commentator seemed to make reference to the promotion-relegation playoff match they had in 2017, and which one associate of mine who used to work on local building sites said would be fixed in favour of Knights. Now that that result just happened to fall Knights' way proves nothing, but the game itself could've been a momentous occasion, and I wish it'd be treated as such. Far less momentous was this game, which never reached any great heights, and which Melbourne Knights won comfortably.

So over on to another of the live streamed games, Port Melbourne vs Green Gully, at Green Gully Reserve for reasons I do not know. I tried to come up with all sorts of possible reasons, but nothing worth putting to print. It looks like there are even fewer people at the game than either a normal Port or Gully home game, which makes sense. Port is 1-0 down at their home-away-from-home, thanks to a Michael Eagar mistake, and they are soon down 2-0 thanks to Eags again. You can't win them all.

On Saturday, I checked into Avondale vs Pascoe Vale, a pretty ordinary game that was only ever going to have one winner, in part because Davey van 't Schip is being expected to score all of Paco's goals this year; that is, until this Friday one assumes, when Joey Youssef will score his trademark goal against us.

Switching over to the Geelong derby between North Geelong and Geelong. I was promised fireworks and atmosphere the likes of which we scarcely see at this level. Instead we got an awful game, and an audio feed where one had to trust the commentary team that the local Cros were making a lot of noise. At least there was some action eventually, with North taking the lead, and quickly rushing out to a 3-0 lead with the visitors looking totally unlike scoring except for the one time they did, and thus at halftime of this game I switched over to the main event, hoping for no regrets and expecting none.

Altona Magic vs Oakleigh Cannons provided its own moment enlightenment. Now when Chris Taylor was coaching, we were often winning. Sometimes it looked great, sometimes far less so, but even when it didn't, the ends justified the means. But now that CT is at Oaks, along with a variety of former South players of a recent vintage, the style of play is currently borderline unwatchable; I say borderline, because I have been watching them with some regularity this year, but the whole thing has the moral stench of a snuff film. I'm entertained, but I also feel unclean after the experience, like I should be wearing a raincoat and dark shades while entering the theatre via shady back lane entrance. In previous weeks there was the just the idea that Oaks was struggling, perhaps being a touch unlucky, that result would eventually turnaround. And maybe they will. But last week the on-field arguments and abuse towards teammates started, and I felt like I was back in 2018, as people who should've known better chewed each other out and contributed to our own dire situation. And if our own potential 2019 dire situation is not completely unrelated to what happened last year, neither is Oaks situation that far removed. If one was to choose an allegory from Greek mythology, I would choose the well-known fable of Collingwood sacking Mick Malthouse and Carlton rushing in thinking to may hay of that famous ray of sunshine. It didn't work for the Blues, and it's not working yet for Oaks, but it's early days yet. Still, they'd like to get some more points on the board before they're due to beat us in a few weeks.

Live streaming these first few weeks has been a hell of an experience, but all of sudden I feel like I've not really enjoyed much of it; like there has been too much choice and no chance to savour the delights of a singular meal. Hopefully the start of the unstreamed state leagues will get me out of the house and at the grounds a bit more.

Final thought
At least I got some fresh air and exercise I suppose.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

FFA Cup draw and impromptu friendly news

FFA Cup draw news
For those that missed the round four draw earlier today, we were drawn at home against Essendon Royals. The Royals are currently in State League 1 North-West. From what I can gather, they are not considered among the front-runners for that competition, which is predicted by armchair pundits as being a two-horse race between Preston and North Sunshine.

Nevertheless, you wouldn't want to take any opponent lightly, would you? No idea on venue and date yet, but I assume from looking at Football Victoria's calendar that it'll be a mid-April game at Lakeside.

Friendly tonight
We're apparently playing a friendly tonight against Malvern City at Warner Reserve in Springvale. Kickoff 7pm.

I guess Tanga wants to get some more run in the legs for some players?

Outside of A-League teams playing pre-season matches against NPL teams, in-season friendlies for NPL sides is an unusual thing, but not unheard of - though the last time I can recall us playing in one was all the way back in 2008 when we played such a game against Northcote.

There might have been another one against Altona Magic one year as well, but who can remember all the details?

Monday, 11 March 2019

Holding off on panicking for now - Avondale 4 South Melbourne 0

On the one hand, this is the kind of result that was on the cards on a number of fronts. First, because Avondale is a pretty good team, one of the best in this competition, and we are at best in the very early stages of trying to build a team that can reach that level. Second, because we are new and young team, there are going to be games where we get flattened. Third, because we were pretty ordinary through large chunks of the win against Port the other week.

Such was Saturday's game, where we fell behind early, pulled our finger out for about twenty minutes after that, but having failed to take advantage of the two or three half-chances that we had, proceeded to fall apart at an alarming rate. Roganovic standing flat-footed for the second goal was almost as alarming as the fact that Stefan Zinni's goal was the third match in a row he'd scored against us since leaving us, putting him in the Joseph Youssef class of ex-players doing us over.

And it's not like we weren't trying - we were - but we just weren't good enough on the ball, off the ball, and even just in general fitness which is a really big concern. Getting sucked into fights in the tunnel doesn't help either, and not starting Sylaidos seemed to backfire, because by the time he did get brought on the game was already cooked.

For all of Schroen's heroics against Port, he wasn't much chop against Avondale, but I suppose in a losing cause it was good to at least get some run in his legs. Playing two defensive mids looks like a dead-end tactic once we fall behind, and so either Gage or Bereveskos is probably to going have to make way for Schroen as a full-time mid.

George Howard continues to work hard as a makeshift forward, but it's not working. You'd be better off playing Pep Marafioti as a forward or even Manny Aguek, who'd all be killing time until Builly Konstantinidis gets fit enough.

Now seeing as how we all probably had the Bentleigh game and this one as losses before the season started, and that there's little to be gained from trawling through that muck, we may as well pad out the rest of this piece by talking about what an awful experience everything outside the result itself was on Saturday.

Considering there was some sort of signage at the Reggio Calabria last year about how Avondale were going to build some sort of stand, I was disappointed not to see anything even started. Not that I expected them to have finished, but here we were on a warm day, and almost zero shelter for spectators. The limited shelter choices were a small tarp canopy, a small and rapidly diminishing patch of shade in the south-east corner of the stadium, and some shaded area in the shadow of the Reggio Calabria Club.

Oh, and I suppose the Reggio Calabria Club itself, assuming they would let guests sit on their balcony on a match day without a two or three drink minimum.

Speaking of drinks, Avondale had three alcoholic drinks on tap; a cider, a Belgian pale ale, and their own signature beer, something called 'Avenger Ale'. The bloke working the bar at least had the honesty to admit that the Avenger Ale was actually just the pale ale under a different name, just in case an opposition supporter didn't feel comfortable ordering it. No word on whether the cider also came from the same tap.

As for opposition supporters, well this week that would be us, but going off the live streams and highlights packages of Avondale games, I'm not sure that'd be such a problem most weeks. One bike-riding #sokkahtwitter identity who was there as a neutral openly speculated that 90% of the crowd was South fans; an observation which, as I noted to him at the time, would be no surprise to any South fan who has spent any time following the club in this competition.

That's not to cast aspersions on the validity of a team like Avondale or Bentleigh or Hume and their two men a dog supporter bases being in this competition and having success despite the low turnouts. And anyone who is a supporter of the meritocracy of promotion-relegation, as I famously am, must allow for teams who have earned their way up the league pyramid by winning championship or being promoted through conventional means to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

And we must also make the allowance that income from crowds is not even close to being the main income source for any club at this level and that, if anything, actually having supporters in this league is a liability, not just for the mischief they might get up to that could cost you points and fines, but also just their rank, desperate neediness.

That absence of fans does mean that vocal and visual support has to come from somewhere else, and that means the only people left to do it at supporter-less clubs are either committee members of the players and coaching staff themselves. And when players decide to take that mantle upon themselves, it usually just ends up in them being outrageously and tastelessly obnoxious to their opponents or opposition supporters, as was the case on Saturday.

You're up 4-0 against what is at best a middling team, and you still want to act like knobs? That's the nature of life choices I suppose, and you can choose to please yourself first I guess. There were plaudits for the general good humour of Chris Oldfield in goal in dealing with the supporters behind his end, but my riposte to that is it's easy to be good humoured and genial when you're up 4-0.

Next game
Monday night away to Kingston City.

On the couch
Why would you even want to leave the house anymore?
Now that every NPL Victoria game is streamed live, why would you dare risk the demonstrating the ignominy of your status as a dateless wonder to all and sundry by actually leaving the house and attending an NPL game? Stay home instead, keep the gate money, avoid the stadium music, drink your own beer, eat your own food. It's like having a cut-rate pay tv subscription. And really, what would you miss from attending? The c-grade surliness of the security guards? Overhearing the ressies - those few that have stayed back after their game to watch the seniors - talking about chick on Tinder? The inane ranting of the competing coaches, which carries across the whole stadium (and I use that term loosely), because there's no crowd or competing atmosphere to drown it out?

The last of these you can still get on the stream anyway of the coaches are near the broadcast side, if you're still one of those people who is entertained by that kind of carry-on. For the rest of us, we can just sit at home, flick between whatever game happens to take our fancy, or just ignore them all and do something else. Where I would normally have gone out to Knights Stadium even though it's less fun now that Knights look like a competitive side again, I got home late from some other business and watched the final ten minutes of the first half of their game against Bentleigh. Tyson Holmes coughed up a very poor turnover in his own half which led to Bentleigh falling behind. Soon enough it was halftime, and the opportunity presented itself to switch to the other game.

Paco vs Port was irritating for the fact that there was no atmosphere except for the coaches yelling, and a game that was kinda meh. But at least when I turned it on it was still 0-0, and thus 'competitive' by default. Paco had more of the ball, more territory, more corners, but since they only have one avenue to goal and he was being triple teamed, nothing meaningful was being created on their front. Port looked ordinary, and struggled to get the ball for good portions of the first half, but still missed the best chance of the first half when their West Ham youth team striker who scored against us the week before missed an open goal. These things happen.

At half-time of the Pace game, I switched back to the Knights game, where I saw Knights double their lead, at which point I switched it to something else because who wants to see Knights fans happy? Answer, no one. The Paco game resumed, they kept winning corners but did nothing with them, and eventually Port used slightly underhanded play - a short corner played to a substitute, who played it to the back post where an unmarked Michael Eagar received the ball in part because two Paco defender took each other out. But Eags' control and finish were class, and that pretty much decided the game.

The next day after an overly greasy chicken katsu and rice dinner, on the train I watched only bits and pieces of Hume vs Heidelberg, and Dandy Thunder vs Magic. The next day I watch Nortchote vs Murray United until the former close out the game, and then the last five minutes of St Albans vs Moreland Zebras filmed from the opposite side to which they usually do, which is disorienting I have to tell you, and it must have affected Zebras too because they just stopped and spent the last five minutes giving the ball back to Dinamo who did the right thing and took advantage of that generosity.

Was any of that as enjoyable as actually being at a game. We'll never know.

At the desk
Through gritted teeth
Watching Kingston grind their way to a draw with Oakleigh doesn't fill me with confidence for next week, because they couldn't be that ordinary two weeks in a row.

Final thought
I can't tell you about the quality of the food at Avondale, because I stopped by the Vic Market and bought a weisswurst before the game, but Dave had some very strong opinions about one of the offerings at Avenger Park.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Fanatic of the Week no. 6 - James Belias

Last time I posted one of these back in 2017, I said that it was the last one that I'd found on the Wayback Machine that was still in working order... but I was wrong! I've found another one, and bless, it's from someone who still goes to games!

James Belias


Buxton (home of the ‘Buxton Burger’). Actually, I live in South Clayton.

Becoming the world’s greatest DJ and being the music editor of Lots Wife, the Monash Uni newspaper.

Racing Genk, Torquay United, AEK Athens, Hamburg and Oubasi Goldfields and Border Security. But South Melbourne are the number one priority and interest.


No idea, but I think I was going to the soccer before I could walk and my first words were probably a chant of some sort. Seriously, dad used to take myself and my two brothers to Middle Park as a weekly outing. Fanatasicm grew steadily…

I remember going to the Grand Final in 90/91 and going bananas as a little kid, and repeating the process against Carlton in 97/98 and Sydney United in 98/99. Surely that is the pinnacle of supporting a club? Another great memory is seeing Paul Trimboli and Micky P at Chadstone Shopping Centre

Also, the World Club Championships was incredible too. Wish I went, but I went nuts at the TV. I’ll never forget the Vasco supporters before kick off against South. Amazing scenes.

When we played Perth Glory at Lakeside on a Wednesday night. I forget which season, but it was a battle for top spot and we scored 2 goals in a couple of minutes to take the lead and finally win 2-1. A great night, and Jimoin the comedian was there going nuts for South!!

Another favourite game was against Marconi at Middle Park years ago. No idea which season, but Tsolakis scored a penalty and Awaratife added a corker seconds later to seal an impossible victory. (The Clash of the Titans – Season 1992/93).

I can only speak of who I have seen actually play and all I need to say is that there’s only one Paul Trimboli.

There are too many things to list, but I like the way South caters for soccer fans in Melbourne and competes, I believe, quite well for the very competitive Melbourne sporting dollar. I think there are some great supporters doing great things for the club too.

I get annoyed at the way certain parties at South (both internal and external) cling to the Greek heritage of South. Sure the club has an ethnic history, and we should never forget that, but still referring to the team as ‘Hellas’, which means Greece, has been played for too long.

I also dislike the seats opposite the grandstand. They encroach upon the remaining standing area too quickly for my liking. I hate sitting and watching the football.

I won’t dignify that with a response.

Coz South Melbourne are the pride of Victoria and the most famous Australian sporting club in the world! GO SOUTH!!!


Monday, 4 March 2019

Take the points and run - Port Melbourne 1 South Melbourne 2

I can't tell you about wet bulb temperatures, but I can tell you about when it is too hot to wear a pompom beanie, and Saturday afternoon/evening it was too hot to wear a pompom beanie. That in itself proves nothing, but it does make you think; if Port Melbourne has lights - and it does - why did they not change the kickoff time of this game to an hour or two later?

Knowing well in advance that the temperature was going to be very hot, I am told that during the week South suggested to Port that the game be pushed back an hour or two, only for Port to refuse the request. I cannot understand why, if not for the comfort of the spectators, than at least for the comfort and safety of the players, especially the under 20s who would have to cop the brunt of the heat.

And goodness knows what was going on with the thinking out at Keilor, where the women's teams were playing even earlier in the day, and two players from the under 19s game collapsed during the match. This in a week where the Tasmanian soccer authorities pre-emptively postponed a triple header at KGV Park on the opening week of their season, because of anticipated extreme weather conditions.

That the worst of the heat had fallen away by about 7:00pm - or half-time of the senior game - only served to further emphasise the fact that the senior game and its curtain raiser could have been pushed back an hour or two and we'd all have been the better for it.

Anyway, enough complaining about irrational approaches to dealing with playing in predictably hot conditions. An unchanged starting line-up, with the only change being Alastair Bray listed on the bench. The game started off with the teams swapping ends after the pleasantries were done, catching the crew behind the Plummer Street goals out, and necessitating a trip to the Williamstown Road end of the ground.

But which way to travel? 30-40 people going en masse through the pavilion side of the ground doesn't seem convenient. Going around the back of the pavilion means we'll miss a ton of action. So, on through the famed forbidden zone we go, which just goes to show the insanity of the forbidden zone, because all you to prevent anyone coming into the area was a security guard, Port Melbourne Jesus, and a couple of pieces of string.

Anyway, we eventually camped at our attacking end, trying to find what little shade there was, as well as trying to see through two or three nets. From what I could tell, we were doing pretty in the first 25 minutes or so. We even got a goal, with Pep Marafioti finishing off some good work by Brad Norton and Nick Krousouratis.

Just on Krousouratis, I know it's only been three games, but I cannot for the life of me remember any player of ours in recent history who has slipped over so much in attack. Maybe just an unnatural sequence of events

Then came the drinks break, and then after that for who knows what reason or how, we slowly lost the initiative that we'd show up until that point. Now it's not like Port utterly dominated the remainder of the first half - and I do admit I probably exaggerated their overall dominance of the game on social media - but their equaliser felt to me like at least like something approximating a just moral outcome

Then when the second half started, we just disappeared. There was no midfield. Every clearance up the field was just walked back by Port. There was no player of ours seemingly able to take control of the game, or adjust the tempo, or even properly waste time. The goal which would see us fall behind seemed inevitable, and all that was keeping us in the game was Nikola Roganovic and Port's sloppy finishing. But as good as Roganovic was in terms of keeping the scores level, his distribution often invited Port to launch another attack with us having barely touched the ball.

Another thing which compounded the problem was that we looked gassed earlier than usual. We haven't exactly looked like the fittest team early on in the season, but the heat compounded the issue on Saturday.

Taking Gerrie Sylaidos off was a good decision. He was struggling even when we had our ascendancy early on, and Marcus Schroen's introduction at least offered fresh legs, a bigger body, and the kind of player who specialises on turning games on their head. A couple of other changes - Lamproboulos off Konstantinidis, and Howard off for the other Konstantinidis - also helped, not just because of the fresher legs, but because the team looked closer to full strength. What our eventually proper, fully-fit starting eleven looks like still remains a mystery.

We managed to slowly work our way back into the game, with Krousouratis having a rocket of shot hit the bar, but still it was almost out of nowhere that we got what would be the winning goal. Our corner was cleared, poorly, and Norton began the process of recycling the ball into an attacking area with a terrible, tired, shin-height pass to Schroen, Schroen passed it back to Norton, and Norton put in a great cross to SS Anderson Reserve goalscoring specialist Luke Adams who controlled the ball on his chest then volleyed it home.

Then the sickness of waiting for the goal that we see us fall behind turned into the sickness of waiting to see the goal that would turn our three points into one. But it, too, never came, and we somehow came away with our second win of the season. A bit like last week, we didn't play our best, but we got the points. We played better against Bentleigh, and got squat from that game.

Two weeks in a row, the goal comes from a poorly cleared corner. It's not exactly thrilling build up play, but bread and butter stuff is just as good. And there have been moments where the side looks like it can thrill as well as do the simple stuff. Right now though every win - especially against teams around about our level - counts for double. And in a season which is as much about rebuilding a shattered playing and club culture as it is about surviving and hopefully thriving, every point we earn now is one less we have to scrounge out later on.

Next game
Avondale away at the Reggio Calabria Club on Saturday afternoon.

On the couch
Bizarro Hellas
Friday night was spent on the couch, with the option of three games. These were the "one of the these teams has to wear their away strip" derby, the ongoing saga of "will someone other than Davey van 't Schip score for Pascoe Vale", and "let's see how many ex-South players can fit into the Oakleigh Cannons clown car". I decided to go with the last of these, and spotted the following at various times on the night: Milos Lujic, Nick Epifano, Matthew Foschini, Luke Pavlou, legacy characters like Ramazan Tavsancioglu and Tom Matthews, as well Goran Zoric making an appearance off the bench, and Rory Brian listed as substitute keeper. One also can't help but think that not being able to get Matt Millar, that Oakleigh settled on one of the brothers leftover in the Millar family mini-van. Of course the other point of interest was seeing if Oakleigh could somehow fail to pick up a win, giving them three losses to start the season. It seemed unlikely, what with the quality Oakleigh has at its disposal, but half an hour in and Oaks were 3-0 down, even with Thunder missing a penalty due to the unbridled greed of Peter Skapetis.

It wasn't that Oaks were that bad - the ball could have fallen their way on a few occasions, but didn't - it was how familiar some of the deficiencies in their play looked: the exaggerated slacker vibe of Lujic, the sometimes clumsy defensive midfield play of Foschini, and Epifano still trying to recreate that goal against the Knights from the 2015 FFA Cup. To be fair to the last of these three players, his efforts in the second half were the main reason Oakleigh even got close to getting back in this game - that, and Milos getting benched - but it was a bit like the Kingston-Thunder game from a few days earlier, with one side being (mostly) ruthlessly efficient in front of goal, and the other squandering opportunities at will. So Oaks remain pointless, which is not a situation I expect to last long, but which for the time being does provide its own degree of prurient interest.

Final thought
It's meant to be a winter sport, so can winter hurry up and get here already?