Saturday, 11 May 2019

Beanie weather - Doveton 0 South Melbourne 1

Another perfunctory report.

After a long, hard day's work making sure people put their votes in the correct ballot box, I walked home from work, picked up my car, drove to Nick's place to pick him up, and together we made the long trip out to Dandenong. Thankfully everything went very smoothly, no delays on the trains, and smooth connections between different transport modes. Were it ever thus.

Another day, another bit of proof of how much pompom
 beanies resonate with (checks non-existent commerce
 textbook),  the consumer  demographic known as
 "ordinary people".  Photo: Luke Radziminski 
Got to the game in time for something approximating dinner, a rubbery sponge of a bread roll filled with marinated chicken not worth the $10 price tag in terms of its serving size. Beggars can't be choosers though. More gladly, even while we all complained, it was the first proper cold day of soccer for the year. Not just a bit a chilly, not just "I regret not bringing a coat", but actually biting cold, wet socks, reconsidering life decisions weather.

One expected Doveton to hack and slash, but perhaps not quite so early. Maybe they thought they were just being vigorous? Certainly the referees generally seemed to think so, applying a lighter touch than I would've liked. It was good (and surprising )to see Gerrie Sylaidos back on the park, because he makes a modest world of difference. Even if he tends to float in and out of games (which may be as much to do with his inexperience as it is to do with team structures), he's one of the few players who (cliché alert) seems likely to make things happen for us.

Also, opposition players seem genuinely in awe and/or afraid of him, as Australian players tend to be of any player than can dribble the ball.

The team otherwise wasn't quite at full-strength, but who even knows what that is and whether that even makes a difference. We managed to create some good chances, but mostly on tight angles which were easy enough to clean up by the Doveton defence. Doveton would seemingly make some promising forays of their own at the other end of the ground, but who's to say how close they really got when you're watching the game from 110 metres away.

At halftime several South fans congregated around a mid-sized sedan and drank moderately upmarket hot chocolate poured out of a thermos into Styrofoam cups. I apologise to the environment after the fact for not expecting the possibility of away days hot chocolate to become a reality, and forgetting all of my novelty mugs (Star Trek, Brian Griffin, South Melbourne Hellas) at home. Apart from warming the body and soul, it did remind me of the behaviour of Green Gully's elderly fans back in 2009, which is a bit sad; but the theme of South supporters aging alongside their near pension-age club is at the heart of what this blog has documented.

The second half was more of the same, us doing more of the attacking, but not being able to really create the killer chance. Enter Billy Konstantinidis and his one-man mission to relocate the club to George Andrew Reserve because "he scores at this ground". Having Billy start on the bench seemed risky considering our paucity of scoring this year, but at least this time the strategy paid off. Mind you, it helps the situation when a) Kosta Stratomitros was given a quarter-acre block from which to send his cross in, b) Konstantinidis was left without a marker for who knows what reason, and c) Billy knows how to head the ball well proper.

Some sympathy for the Doveton goalkeeper "Josh". He'd done his bit up until that point, closing off angles, coming off his line, and generally cleaning up our half-dangerous moments with confidence. Unfortunately for him, and fortunately for us, Billy's header was too good for even the greatest of goalkeepers. Thus the singing of one of the (even by the lyricist's own admission) worst chants ever heard at a South game.
Foreboding mood turned into indiscriminately optimistic joy, and more stupid chants such as:
We're coming for you,
We're coming for you,
Darwin Olympic,
We're coming for you!
And the even worse:
What else you gonna do,
On a Wednesday night?
Darwin away!
Darwin away!
Darwin away!
Of course all of this mirth was premature in the sense that there were still 20 minutes to go, the opposition had already managed to create some chances, and they were playing against team that somehow managed to collide into and dispossess each other, something I've otherwise only ever seen in a State League 5 game, where a mate happened to be coaching the pound-for-pound worst team I've ever seen.

One possible VAR moment aside, Fate's cruel hand seemed to descend at the worst possible moment in the worst possible way. Promising right-back Ben Djiba, who had performed mostly admirably during the game, inadvertently had his arm hit by an awkwardly bouncing ball. Thankfully, Nikola Roganovic guessed the right direction and made the crucial save from the spot kick. Thereafter not even "Josh" going up for a corner could make up for that missed opportunity for the Doves, who conceded a foul on Roganovic before the corner was even taken.

Winning the game was nice, but it doesn't solve our immediate on-field problems, all of which exist in the league, and in which we haven't won a game for many weeks. Indeed, the previous game we'd won before this one was the previous cup game against Essendon Royals. Key players are out of form and who's even sure whether they're on an upward or downward trend. Ditto for certain players who have been around for a very long time.

I assumed we would get done on the night. Not because we are bad (which we mostly are) or because Doveton are good (which, as it turns out, they aren't really, or at least not as much as I expected of an undefeated team), but because that's just the way things seem to be going for us this year. And yet therein lies the possibility that we yet very well somehow fall over backwards into an FFA Cup round of 32 spot with one of our worst ever teams.

FFA Cup draw news
However, all those dreams of national cup glory will have to be set aside for the time being. We've been drawn as the home side against NPL 2 side Langwarrin. Even at Lakeside, I doubt that anyone thinks we're better than a 50/50 chance.

Next game
Altona Magic at Paisley Park on Saturday evening. In other words, today. Rug up.

Final thought
Thanks to Johnny again for another lift back to civilisation from Dandenong.

1 comment:

  1. Forgot to note that (among other things) that even though the penalty was saved (obviously) someone operating the electronic scoreboard got trigger happy and changed the visuals to "1-1".


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