Wednesday, 30 March 2011

If midfielders were made of sugar, we'd be diabetic

A Fawkner supporting poster named 'benzema' posted this on soccer-forum.

But the 2 biggest signings are the two new midfielders from Belgium and Argentina. They won't be cleared for a couple weeks but South Melbourne will be signing them in the next window and will be with the club for half a season with an agreement between South Melbourne and Fawkner as they were training at South Melbourne for a couple weeks. The boy from Belgium captained his national team in the Under 20's and has played for Genk easily A League material from all reports.

Have no idea about the validity of these claims, but one must add that it's a good thing these boys are midfielders, because we need coverage in case something happens to the 20 other midfielders we have on books.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Needs More Cowbell - South 3 Knights 1

Amongst the questions that we pondered on the bus trip to Northcote - if Romeo and Juliet were around today, would they die their hair raven black, dress up in mourning clothes with the pale makeup and black eyeliner and sit under the clocks at Flinders Street Station on a Friday night? Gains, Steve from Broady and me also discussed the merits of Chekhov, Gogol and Vonnegut. We discussed the ceaseless contest between youth's faith in using the rare example over the elder's preference for basing their judgments on a form of experience which seeks to negate the improbable, yet possible?

What could bring up such weighty topic of conversation. Gianni De Nittis of course. We fought over both his legacy, whether he had any untapped potential, and the thought only occurs to me now, whether he simply managed to have scored in two massively important games in the space of two weeks, cementing his status as a VPL South legend but unfairly burdening him with expectations which he would seldom be able to meet in future.

We watched the majority of the under 21s contest. We don't talk much about the under 21s on here - after blitzing the field last season, this year has seen defensive frailties creep into their game. De Nittis had been relegated to the 21s, and opened the scoring with apparently a ripping goal. I couldn't see it from my vantage point inside the social club. I did however see him try to be tricky, lose the ball, and retaliate with tackle from behind. The offence saw him get a red card. As Vonnegut's Tralfamadoreans said, 'so it goes'. The game finished at 2-2.

The main event was an even affair for sixty minutes. Which is to say, the Knights played well without creating too many chances, while we were forced onto the sidelines with very little room to move in the middle. Our short passing game was non-existent, and we seemed to be clueless as to how to work out something which might get us a goal, other than Mick Malthouse style chip kicks along the outer side, which almost inevitably had Jesse Krncevic, turning and shooting off balance into the side netting, or straight at our old foe Martin John.

When Steven O'Dor gave away an obvious handball in the box, the world paused as the referee seemed to lag behind the rest of the crowd in acknowledging the /infringement. But once his consultation with the corresponding linesperson was done, the Knights got their penalty and a deserved lead despite Zaim Zeneli moving to the correct side. The Knights kept up the pressure, and probably should have made it 2-0, but for one slightly convoluted explanation, which is as follows.

During the game one of the many Georges at South Melbourne suggested that the Knights were of the same ilk as the South of 2008. That is, they could fight and scrap and even dominate a match, but their inability to score goals would always come back to haunt them. People like to see parallels between the past and the present as a way of making sense of the world, but that particular George may have been on to something there. Pound for pound the Knights were the better team for seventy minutes; they even had the lead - and yet they just couldn't jag the result.

South finally woke up, having made use of its substitutions in an effort to win the game. The most important of these was Daniel Vasilevski, though both Kyle Joryeff and Kamal Ibrahim added something for which Gasparis, Petrovich and Taseski had not. Still, for about ten minutes we spent most of our energy on trying to snag an unlikely long range effort. But then Vasilevski - the only player who should be allowed to take our shooting free kicks - put one away into the top corner where even the valiant efforts of Martin John could do nothing about it, and all of a sudden, we felt a draw would be a good result after playing so poorly.

But that plan was ruined when we scored again, Ibrahim setting up an easy finish for Krncevic, the prodigal son continuing to put goals away. And then we scored another one, Joryeff putting his name down to become the new Yusef Yusef by scoring a junk time goal to rub pure iodine into the open wounds of the visitors. The Knights deserved at least a draw, but such is the game of football that even relative dominance is nothing without putting the ball in the back of net.

We don't have the wood on too many sides these days, but the Knights for some reason continue to find ways to see us get the three points more often than not. While I was disappointed with the majority of the performance by our boys, there's a certain satisfaction in getting a win over an old rival when they gave it more than a good shake and it still wasn't enough.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Highlights from Ljubo's first match

Two things. One, as with the 2011 Hellenic Cup Final, I was first up to celebrate what would be the winning goal. On that occasion I realised it even at the time; this time Gains had to tell me after watching the video. Two, what's the go with Joe Montemurro wearing sunnies on his head? That's hardly the right place for them; and it wasn't even sunny out. People .

A Glorious Night of TELLING IT LIKE IT IS! (or maybe just how some people see it but with the use of an authoratative voice so people are more likely to think you're being a realist and more knowledgable)


Reading Slaughterhouse 5 before rocking up to events celebrating the past and the future can alter perceptions in ways probably entirely intended by the author.

This entry has the usual wearying digressions.

I missed the 2010 jersey presentation with the least troublesome of my many medical emergencies of last year. I was in recovery mode after having my wisdom teeth taken out. Insert corny joke about that being less painful then such events; it'd have been true anyway, as unlike many dental themed horror stories, I was under general anesthetic for the entire procedure.

Anyway, the 2011 version was back at Kinisi for the first time since 2008. Almost the entire crew I would have normally attended and fraternised with in the past was absent. The reasons were many and varied - illness, hatred of Kinisi, disillusionment and being halfway through a nervous breakdown, the last of which I learned this week is not an actual medical term. Even I probably qualify for several of those categories, but I'd already committed! Blast!

I was with Gains and Hellas Johnny though, which made the evening more than tolerable. I'll say this about the seating arrangements. Not that I wish any sort of harm to those in the bliss of romantic entrapment, but being on a table filled with single people and one obviously very much in love couple makes one feel like a recalcitrant of some sort.

The player auction didn't seem to really take off. Indeed, the majority of the evening seemed muted, as if, after the recent celebrations of the past and the apparent end to life on the slow train to financial oblivion, there was no more need or energy to be fired up about the club anymore. That perhaps we'd found a niche we could survive in and that perhaps everyone was emotionally spent. Or maybe it's just a transition year. No home ground yet, the major battles won but the war not quite over. A 50 year old suddenly feeling the full force realisation of its best years behind it?

There was also the panel discussion. There was no Q&A segment, which was just as well I suppose, as I had been shunted into the back corner of the room facing away from the stage. They perhaps should have put me behind a curtain just to make sure I didn't do anything stupid - in the past I had an awful habit of rolling my eyes at almost anything, such was my teenage cynicism. I'm better at that these days, I have a little more self-control.

Too much talk about the EPL and pandering to the imagined loyalties of overseas allegiances forged in the heat of a suburban loungeroom. Koutoufides and Christou had some interesting anecdotes - did you know they were both Collingwood fans growing up? - but for the most part their presence on the panel was more of a fifth wheel. For all Ljubo's theatricality, there is an eventual one dimensional aspect which comes into his rhetoric. Still, it was interesting to hear about how while he was in Switzerland, he was getting half the wage of his time at the Glory.

Unlike Les Murray in the past, Mark Bosnich at least had the courtesy not to humour our delusions of grandeur by being unapologetic about his and/or the FoxSports team's stance that change was necessary in the game and that we should be relegated to the toxic waste dump of Australian football. Nor was he sorry that the players reaped the benefits more than anyone of the television money revolution, even while the fans were frozen ever more out of accessing the teams they love. His point had some merit - players, like other workers, had been exploited for generations by their employers. But has the ledger in some cases swung too far the other way? There wasn't any chance to ask that question, or any other.

After all the formalities were done, we stuck around for a bit catching up with people I see on a weekly basis anyway. Hellas Johnny, being a starfucker, got a few photos taken with some of the luminaries. Then we left. East Richmond station is one of my personal favourites. In the heart of the inner city and yet skipped over so often. So it goes.

In all seriousness, I probably should be banned from attending such functions, since I seem to always miss the point. It's about the hobnobbing and fundraising, not about quarter-literate cultural critiques and the fact that the chicken was dry again.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Kiss of Death, Round 6, 2011

Scotch Watch
A big win for South last week coupled with a big loss for the Greens sees the Kiss of Death open up the gap on its opponent.
  • South Melbourne, 3rd place, 11 points, goal difference +3
  • Bentleigh Greens, 8th place, 8 points, goal difference -3

Bentleigh Greens vs St Albans
The rumour mill has begun. John Anastasiadis to be taking over Bentleigh after this week's match. Regardless of the result, he will be taking over from Andy O’Dell. Will this move save Bentleigh from being relegated? No chance. I put the mozz on them last season and they just survived. I have an even bigger incentive for them to drop into state 1 this season. SCOTCH!!! St Albans missed an 89th minute penalty last weekend and paid for it with a 90th minute equaliser. I still have faith in them. The Knights took it easy against the hapless Greens last weekend only putting four past them. This weekend St.Albans will bounce back from their draw with Springvale and beat Bentleigh 0-3.

Springvale White Eagles vs Richmond
Springvale will beat Richmond this weekend in what will be a very attacking game. More like one-sided. I can see Springvale ripping them to absolute threads. Richmond scrapped together a 2-1 home win against Gully last week, but frankly that does not sway me. They are yet to win away this year, and a trip out to Springvale is always a tough one. Richmond is only one point above Springvale but have only scored 6 goals to Springvale's 11. At home I can’t see Springvale giving Richmond a sniff. Springvale White Eagles 3 – Richmond 1.

Green Gully Cavaliers vs Hume City
Should be a close one. So close that it ends in a draw. Green Gully 2 – Hume City 2.

Northcote City vs Dandenong Thunder
7th v 1st. Northcote are yet to take the VPL by storm this season. Dandy on the other hand remain the only unbeaten team after five rounds. They have flown under the radar and planted themselves on top of the table. Can Northcote give Dandy their first loss of the season? I think they can. Northcote City 3 – Dandenong Thunder 0.

South Melbourne vs Melbourne Knights
I was proven correct with my tactical analysis of last weeks game between South Melbourne and Oakleigh. I am yet to see the Knights play this season and am looking forward to seeing them. Will they win? No. They will not be good enough to beat South Melbourne this week. What’s good enough to beat Bentleigh 4-0 is the equivalent of losing to South 3-0. South Melbourne 3 – Melbourne Knights 0.

Heidelberg United vs Oakleigh Cannons
The “Derby”… LOL. Heidelberg 1 – Oakleigh 1.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Ljubo! Classy Drinking! Crunchalor! Oakleigh 1 South Melbourne 2

What an eventful evening that was. You know it's going to be one of those nights when you're walking down a city laneway and some drunk with a drink in each hand stumbles out of some hole in the walling singing Billy Joel's Piano Man - for some reason Steve from Broady looked quite confused by the spectacle. Probably too young to be a connoisseur of drunken classics of yore.

After killing an hour or so at the Charles Dickens Tavern, the Public Transport Faction was joined by some interlopers for the trip out to Huntingdale. Except we never got that far, because we got off at Oakleigh instead so the interlopers could buy some more booze to drink by the railway tracks. And isn't it always great to see some runt with a rat tail try to heap abuse at you from 50 metres away? Stay classy Oakleigh.

Getting into the ground, it was obvious there was a bit of a buzz about the game. Later we find out that Ljubo Milicevic's papers have come through after the FFV was allegedly bombarded with media inquiries about why he hadn't been allowed to register. Add to that a near brawl when he tried to get into the ground, and a top three clash which has a bit of added spite to it, got even more an edge.

And three minutes in, we scored, a wonderful volley by Marinos Gasparis who is having a pretty good season so far. But not too long after we're penalised with the first of several mystifying free kicks around the area - Ricky Diaco putting away a low drive which got through or around the defensive wall far too easily.

The game then settled down into the following pattern - South would try attack with quick short passing, both through the middle and out wide with overlapping players, while Oakleigh mostly went wide, trying in particular to exploit Steven Topalovic on their left hand side. Milicevic's inclusion was pivotal - while not completely negating the defensive frailties of this season, at least Oakleigh were unable to win a ball in the air, nor were they able to get behind the defence.

Some may have been disappointed with the spectacle, but I felt that the first hour or so was excellent to watch. Oakleigh almost took the lead towards the end of the first half with a deflected shot which hit the post. 1-1 at half time was a fair outcome. The second half started off much the same way, but once we got ahead, with a Steven O'Dor header from the six yard box, the game deteriorated, as both teams resorted to long balls along the wings.

Peter Zois apparently lost his cool at being called a traitor by fans behind the goals, and was probably at fault when they conceded their second. If there's one area of the game where Zois struggles, it's in commanding his six yard box on high crosses, and much like the equaliser we conceded against Bentleigh early last season, he let rip into the defense rather than take responsibility. Perhaps the video footage will vindicate him though.

Gasparis should have wrapped the game up after he faced an empty net, but succumbing to a rush of blood to the head, he blasted it over. The ceaseless free kicks around the box, often for reasons I couldn't fathom, had us all on edge, but for the most they were harmless. Zaim Zeneli had an adequate game in goals, but wasn't tested too often. Jesse Krncevic came through the middle late, but delayed taking a shot, with Zois smothering the ball, but we still got the win, and after several years of struggling to win at Oakleigh, that's now two in a row.

Still no cleansheet, and one wonders what might happen once Ljubo goes. But going forward we look good. Sebastian Petrovic has started passing the ball sideways and backwards too often, and just doesn't have the pace need to win balls even in his preferred middle of the park position. Rama had a quiet game, rarely noticed him out there.

There was one bitter individual standing to the side of Clarendon Corner (who had an excellent game by the way), heaping abuse on Ljubo - it was all sour grapes though, as Oakleigh had tried desperately to sign him before he'd put pen to paper with us. And during the second half I somehow ended up in a conversation which involved comparing NBA and NBL players of bygone eras. Mark Price or Sam McKinnon? Michael Jordan or Andrew Gaze? Clyde Drexler or Shane Heal?

Anyway, that difficult two week stretch is over, and we're back at our home away from next round against the Melbourne Knights. Could we possibly get a clean sheet? Will we be as switched on as we were last night? What random conversation will sprout up this time? And what's going to be for dinner? So many questions and too much time to think about them.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Kiss of Death, Round 5, 2011

Scotch Watch
Bentleigh's loss and South's draw has seen the bottle of Scotch move closer to the Kiss of Death's side of the wager.

  • South Melbourne - 3rd place, 8 points, goal difference +2
  • Bentleigh Greens - 5th place, 7 points, goal difference +1
Oakleigh Cannons vs South Melbourne 
Much talk on the forums about this week's humdinger. For me it’s going to be a one sided affair. I have seen all of South and Oakleigh's games this year. Everyone is carrying on about South's defensive issues, yet no one has said anything about Oakleigh's. With all the popstars they have down at that club, they might only have conceded five goals, but their crossbar and posts have been rattled four times, they’ve cleared two shots off the line, and the opposition has stuffed up about four one on ones. All this and yet everyone is harping about South's non-existent right back. Yes, I agree, we are a bit flimsy in defence at times, but right back is not the issue. South's defensive lapses stem from an all out attacking mentality. The midfielders come deep to collect the ball from the defenders creating a shit load of space in the midfield. We have dominated every single midfield this season by employing that come and collect policy. Our full backs push into the midfield space leaving two centre backs to man the defence. Souths game is all about short passing and fluid movement. We seem to break down when our full back positions are exposed due to a stray pass, or over zealous full backs over committing. Oakleigh on the other hand play a flat 4-4-2. Their full backs don’t overlap, and their two centre backs are slow. Their midfield works, but their long balls go straight down the opposition's throat, and they can’t string more than three short passes together. 95% of their goals have come from keeper errors. No disrespect to Rama, but I think even if he was at South this season, we would still be copping goals from the full back positions due to the system we are playing. Oakleigh Cannons 0 - South Melbourne 2.

Dandenong Thunder vs Heidelberg United
Dandy recorded their fourth straight win of the season and the Bergers held South Melbourne to a 2-2 draw last weekend. The Bergers look like they are struggling this season. I don’t know why, don’t care, but for the good of the game, I hope it continues. Dandy has the best defence in the league with only three goals conceded, while the Bergers have the second worst attack with five goals. Dandenong to continue their unbeaten run. Dandenong Thunder 2 – Heidelberg United 0.

Richmond vs Green Gully Cavaliers
Last placed Richmond will be taking on 10th placed Green Gully. Both teams are playing boring football. If anything Green Gully is playing a less boring brand than Richmond at the moment. Sure to be a bumper crowd down at KB Reserve so be there early if you can. Richmond 0 – Green Gully 1.

Hume City vs Northcote City 
Down at windy Broadmeadows, Hume usually dominates their opposition. Northcote though are good travellers. This game is sure to be a cracker with plenty of goal mouth action. Hume City 2 – Northcote City 2.

St Albans Saints vs Springvale White Eagles 
St Albans will win their first game of the season and jump Springvale on the ladder. It has to happen this week or else they might as well start planning for next season's state 1. This will be a test for the Saints. If you can’t beat Springvale then you shouldn’t be in the VPL. St Albans Saints 3 – Springvale White Eagles 2.

Melbourne Knights vs Bentleigh Greens
Ahhh it’s scotch time! The boys down at Sunshine will wrap up my little 'on the side' wager against Bentleigh this week. After this week's loss, the Greens will buckle and their slide down the ladder will continue. Melbourne Knights 2 – Bentleigh Greens 1.

Heidelberg vs South highlights

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The 'you've already got your jersey' presentation on next week

What with all the hilarity of everything else that's been happening, I've almost totally forgotten that the jersey presentation is on next week. And apart from being held several weeks into the season it's also got an interesting little twist on the usual goings on. Details below

  • It's at Kinisi, it's $50, and it's on Friday 25th
  • And it will have a panel discussing Australian football!
  • The panel will include Eddie Krncevic, Ange Christou, Anthony Koutoufides and... Mark Bosnich! Very exciting!

Too bad it's a football discussion because there were some kickass questions that could be asked. Should be interesting regardless.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Now that's what a derby is all about - Bergers 2 South 2

Still five years and counting. We got there early as per usual, but the reserves were called off due to the rain. I had nothing to do for an hour and a half except the usual chit chat and marveling at how Steve from Broady managed to just walk through the gates without paying - his argument about Maccas overs souvlakia with one of the gate attendants seemed to mesmerise everyone and no one realised he'd managed to walk through even going up to the ticket booth.

The match went on its predictable path of us spurning chances and having the misfortune of every save off McMaster landing in exactly the wrong spot - except for Topalovic's shot which was goal bound but headed off the line. Having said that, once again we gifted the opposition some goals with comical defending - the second goal will go down in history as one of the worst goals South Melbourne has ever conceded.

After letting Osagie walk through the defence and letting him have a shot, Sardelic at least managed to save it, only for the entire defence to then just ball watch for an eternity and let him follow up with another shot to put them 2-1 up. Still, we managed to fight out the game and earned a well deserved point after Fernando's pinpoint cross met either the head of Gasparis or Krncevic - I'm not sure if it's been decided who got the final touch on it - and Heidelberg Harismidis who was doing his usual thing of running up and down the line in his guise as a field marshal.

Stefaan Sardelic, who apart from getting in the way of shots had a poor game - his kicking proficiency at an all time low, so much so that goalkicks eventually started being taken by one of the defenders. That didn't last long because Sardelic soon got injured in a nasty clash in the six yard box and had to make way for Zaim Zeneli to make his South Melbourne debut. Didn't have much to do, as by that stage the home side had started parking the bus, but everything he did oozed confidence. Or perhaps we were unaccustomed as to what an adequate keeping performance was supposed to look like.

Afterwards, in an attempt to get to the bus stop in Northlands without going around the long way, we took a hitherto uncharted route through shops, down a ramp, through the underground car park and back up again only to find out that we still had to wait like ten minutes. Then back in the city I had the worst Chinese food ever, and corrected some group coming home on the train from FutureSounds music festival about the title and artist of Father and Son - oh yeah, and one of them was wearing a penguin suit for some reason.

All in all, it could have been worse. At least we managed to score again. Maybe one day we'll even get a clean sheet.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Kiss of Death, Round 4, 2011

Scotch Watch
After last week's gutsy 2-1 win by South over Bentleigh, the Scotch Watch wager is now carefully balanced.
  • Bentleigh Greens - 3rd place, 7 points, goal difference +3 
  • South Melbourne - 4th place, 7 points, goal difference +2
Bentleigh Greens vs Oakleigh Cannons
I’ve got a side bet involving Bentleigh Greens’ progress this year, but I can’t separate these two teams. Both have been what I believe ordinary. A 2-2 draw here.

Green Gully Cavaliers vs St Albans Saints
Picked Gully to lose last week, and I was spot on. St. Albans were a tad unlucky against Northcote. I expect Gully to win this one. A hard fought game with plenty of action. Green Gully 2 – St.Albans 1.

Northcote City vs Richmond
Northcote had a surprising win away at St. Albans last week. Richmond flopped. I don’t know what’s wrong with Richmond. Has the money dried up? Has Chatz lost his touch? Have the off field changes finally caught up with them? Northcote City 3 – Richmond 1.

Dandenong Thunder vs Hume City
Dandy had a great win away from home last week, while Hume beat the Bergers.
Another tight one, but Dandy will be a tad better beating Hume 3-2.

Springvale White Eagles vs Melbourne Knights
Springvale impressed me at Oakleigh last week, and the Knights always seem to impress me. Will be a tight one for sure. Springvale 1 – Melbourne Knights 2.

Heidelberg United vs South Melbourne
Bergers struggled at Hume last week. South had a big, 10 man win vs Bentleigh.
Kliment Taseski has received an Auto + 2 week suspension over the phantom tackle last week against Bentleigh. Only the ref saw something nasty in it. Will definitely be a tough game for both teams. South’s on a high at the moment. But can they take that to the Village? Traditionally a tough trip for South. Heidelberg 0 – South Melbourne 3.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Halcyon Days of Making an Idiot of Yourself

Once upon a time we had a sort of intern here by the name of Cliff Hussey, who was initially inspired to create a rival or complementary South Melbourne Hellas blog, before we roped him in to do match reports and provide shaky, nausea inducing videos. Does he still come to games? I don't know. Where is he nowadays? Lighting up the Melbourne social scene judging by his Facebook ramblings.

Apart from the disturbing memories of his bizarre emo dress sense, Cliff did leave us with some great artefacts, the pick of the bunch being this video of the now banned fan known as 'Columbo', doing his usual abuse the keeper shtick before making making a fool of himself by falling over the fence and making some random kid laugh.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Lakeside redevlopment update March 2011

Hello people, today we have another little update on the stadium's transformation. These two photos are the pick of the bunch taken on a camera phone by a Melbourne Victory supporter who goes under the alias of 'a mac', whom we thank for sharing these images.

In the first photo you can see the new stand, which is looking a lot like a new stand nearing completion should. You can also see the brilliant blue of what will be the running track. Yes, one of our requests has seemingly come true. The angle, while perhaps being deceiving, seems to suggest that the view from the new stand may not be so bad - though the view from behind will, as expected be atrocious.

The second photo has the merest hint of our stand, with its new seating, but as you can see, the more prominent object is the 1926 stand undergoing its refurbishment. There's still a long way to go on that front. But the faintest rumours have begun circulating that we may be back for the last three games of the season. I'm finding that a little hard to believe, but we'll see I guess.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

No Ljubo, but a win anyway - South 2 Greens 1

Lots of things to talk about today. Let's start with the simple stuff.

Late in the day, I was told by a mutual friend that some twit from Glenroy said that he didn't understand why I take public transport around the grounds, despite my ownership of a car. Well, Mr. Twit, as I have explained on this blog, I have poor eyesight, which while more than adequate to get me around my main destinations in the western suburbs, is not good enough to give me the confidence to drive around unfamiliar roads, especially at night.

I also like public transport for its positive environmental qualities, the light hit on the hip pocket, and the lack of a struggle to find a parking spot. I also find it a more sociable experience. Sure, journeying in a car is fine with all its creature comforts, but a half hour trip from the city with ample opportunity to talk about such weighty subjects such as: the origins, purposes and use of deities; the quest for immortality, including the technological problems associated with it, especially the preservation of the mind; and even the risk society. Steve from Broady may be a deadset plodder when it comes to traditional forms of learning, but he does have an inquisitive mind, which is good, as I like to bounce around ideas like this.

The polo tops aren't ready yet, but they should be ready by our next home game. I bought a scarf, because for years I'd criticised the designs as being too busy. This year's is a simple, classy, royal blue and white striped or barred number, and my old one, the wrong shade of blue and looking the worse for wear has now been relegated to the day to day scarf. Now for the game.

First of all, it was a shock to see active Bentleigh fans behind one of the goals. I don't know where they came from, what they're calling themselves, whether they'll stay the distance, but even though there weren't that many of them they had a couple of flags and they had a go. Should be more of it. Somehow we managed to score a goal from a corner - Seb Petrovic back in his usual central midfield spot with that goal.

While we still don't look that good defensively, it's a damn sight easier to defend against an opponent who is content to sit back very deep, with lots of numbers in defence, and ping plenty of long balls forward. That kind of method generally suggests you're going to be doing most of your better work from set pieces, and that's where the Greens got their equaliser from. An extraordinarily poor decision from the referee - I thought Rhodri Payne was well within the legal limit of how he used this body to win the ball - saw Bentleigh get a free kick wide on the right, and a glancing header into the back corner just made me angrier.

Still, their tactics didn't change, and we were for the first time this season up against a team which with an overdone defence and our side seemingly a little flummoxed as to how to go about breaking that down. We kept possession, trying to find the openings and little runs, but it was a moment of swift wing movement which got what turned out to be the winning goal. The ball was moved quickly out to the vacant right hand side, Jesse Krncevic - who otherwise had a disappointing game I feel - crossed behind Kyle Joryeff who, take your pick of either a poor first touch or a good one, managed to control the ball enough to then hit a shot which went in off the post.

We rode our luck a bit more for the first half, but deserved our lead. The halftime break was the chance to get an orange slushy. Quite refreshing, but I wish people wouldn't be so finicky about picking a flavour - it's sugary coloured gloopThe second half was different story, as Bentleigh pushed numbers forward and played further up the field. Kliment Taseski was sent off with a straight red card for a challenge I felt warranted a yellow (which would have seen him sent off anyway I believe), and thus we were down to ten men for the last half hour or so.

Both teams had plenty of chances to score in the second half - South in particular butchering several counter attacking chances. Bentleigh upped the physical intimidation factor, which for the most part went unpunished, with the worst of the offences being Fernando being taken out behind play and receiving what looked like a serious arm injury. But despite the numerical disadvantage and extended playing time, we held on, and got a much needed three points heading into difficult away games against Heidelberg and Oakleigh. Ljubo was in the stands today, but it has been reported he'll be right to go next week. We'll see I guess.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Kiss of Death, Round 3, 2011

This week the Kiss of Death has a new weekly segment, Scotch Watch - details below.

Scotch Watch
Last week at the Serbian Sports Centre, two heavyweight movers and shakers of Victorian soccer agreed on a bet. The prize - a bottle of whiskey. The wager - that Bentleigh Greens would finish higher than South Melbourne this season. A perfect time to introduce this segment, now that both South and the Greens have played the same number of games, and are also due to meet this Sunday. At present the situation is thus.
  • Bentleigh Greens - 1st place, 7 points
  • South Melbourne - 5th place, 4 points
This should be a lot of fun. And now the Kiss of Death brings you this week's Johnny Walker Judgement.

Melbourne Knights vs Green Gully Cavaliers
It’s about time the Knights started putting things together. One loss and a draw means that all they need now is a win. Green Gully has a draw and a loss. With both teams chasing their first win of the season, I expect the Knights to be just a tad better this weekend. Melbourne Knights 2 Green Gully 1.

Oakleigh Cannons vs Springvale White Eagles
A match of two very different teams. Oakleigh two wins from two, White Eagles two losses from two. White Eagles are a state 1 team, no doubt about that. Oakleigh will not struggle to put White Eagles away. Expect a big, ugly score. Oakleigh Cannons 4 – Spingvale White Eagles 3.

Richmond vs Dandenong Thunder
A few people have said to me leading up to the start of the season that Richmond will struggle due to some off field changes. I beg to differ. The season is still young and Richmond are traditional slow starters. Richmond 2 – Dandenong Thunder 1.

Hume City vs Heidelberg United
The draw of the year. Hume City 4 – Heidelberg United 4.

South Melbourne vs Bentleigh Greens
Gonna drink it up at this game. Gonna get absolutely whacked on some Johnny Walker. South beats Springvale White Eagles 6-4, then lose midweek to the VTC 3-2. Bentleigh draw with the Bergers after copping a 98th minute equaliser. This game will be drama filled from go to woe. South was not the best vs the VTC. They seemed to underestimate their opponents. Everyone is panicking about the backline. I’m not really fussed. We actually copped one goal more at the same time last year. Bentleigh will get relegated. South Melbourne 4 – Bentleigh Greens 0.

St. Albans vs Northcote City
St.Albans gave Dandy a good run for their money last week. Northcote struggled against the Knights. In what will be a close contest, I can’t split these two teams.
St.Albans 2 v Northcote City 2.

Last night's score - South 2 VTC 3

Another Glorious Day in the History of South Melbourne Hellas!

Talk about the game? Why would I do a stupid thing like that?

I want to talk about other things.

Sure I live in Altona North, but as self-appointed South Melbourne FC public transport guru and informal tour operator I decided against taking my car to the ground and instead chose to help a couple of friends make their way to this irregular location.

With one of those being my mate Steve from Broady, a young man with a hearty appetite, we ended up at the McDonalds on the corner of Lonsdale and Swanston Streets. Me, I didn't want anything, so I just stood back and waited for his large Quarter Pounder Meal to get ready.

While waiting in that line, some guy with an obviously shaky grip on reality walks past me, then turns around and asks 'what did you say to me?', when I hadn't said anything at all. After an attempt to break me down psychologically by looking at me with a mean shifty stare, he decided that maybe I hadn't said anything after all and walked off.

In any event, I reckon I could have taken him down if necessary, which isn't saying much, and besides, Steve from Broady would have given me a hand if anything happened that required his intervention. We decided to go upstairs because 'it's mad', but being a fast food restaurant in the city, it's full of sparrows which is totally hygienic of course, which didn't seem bother Steve from Broady as much as the initial spot being messy.

After his finishes up, we head out to the bus top to meet Gains. Except for some reason the bus stop is not where it usually is and we have to walk back in the opposite direction. The bus before the one I had scheduled us to use is actually waiting there and we get on. As the bus winds its way through the thoroughfares and avenues of Port Melbourne, Steve from Broady brings up his usual complaint, 'oh, look, Paul's got us lost again', which only happened that one time, and soon enough the parklands were in view and we got off the bus.

I hadn't been to Port Melbourne's SS Anderson Reserve since early 2006 where we lost the Hellenic Cup final to Oakleigh in extra time. Nothing much has changed. The lights are still good, the field is still immaculate by Victorian standards, but I was confused by two things. Firstly, in addition to the usual beverage fare, they also had Magners. That's right, Port Melbourne is turning into a hipster club.

Secondly, where were the souvlakia? They had hamburgers, steak and sausage rolls, but no souvs! I made do with an (overcooked) steak roll and king size Mars bar, but it just wasn't the same. The rest of the evening, with its twists and turns, injuries, quick starts, fightbacks and unnecessary answers to rhetorical questions, just wasn't as interesting.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Ljubo Milicevic to join South - your correspondent left almost speechless

FourFourTwo is reporting that the one and only Ljubo Milicevic - at least I hope there's only one of them - is joining South Melbourne. Yes, our South Melbourne. The club has not officially confirmed it as I go to print, but certain peoples with more authority have indicated that he has signed and will be start on Sunday against Bentleigh.

It won't be for an entire season, but he should add value to our defence if he doesn't break down with injury, as he is somewhat prone to doing. And while I'm normally not for these short term arrangements - especially leaving before the end of the season - the Ljubo Experience is so ripe for gimmick value that I'm sure whatever way it falls, there'll be laughs for everyone.

And he did say he wanted to go to a real club after all.