Saturday, 22 September 2007

1/2 ordinary play + 1/2 better play = another draw

Last night I went down to the Royal Melbourne Hotel to watch the game versus Newcastle Jets with my friend, Rosie. I had seen her in a while and she hadn't seen the Victory in action in a while so it seemed like the perfect opportunity. We got an early idea of what the team selection would be like as we spotted Kaz Patafta in the hotel, there to watch the game with the fans as part of the official Victory viewing. Was a bit disappointed not to see him take the field and to be honest I was a little starstruck, which is kind of odd because he is an 18 year old kid and certainly looks it.

When we finally settled down to watch the game we began to watch what was a pretty ordinary first half from the Victory boys and I am of the belief not much of it is worth talking about. Although special mention must go to Stuart Musalik of the Jets who scored a wonderful goal but should have never been giving the space and the freedom to take the shot in the first place. All is can say is that the defending was very casual and the midfield was giving the ball away far too easily and it looked like we were in for a long night as memories of the 4-0 defeat to Newcastle in the final round last year came flooding back.

After some half time entertainment where our host interviewed both Patafta and Evan Berger (who is even smaller than Patafta, Note to Ernie: we need to recruit some taller players.) and gave some sponsors a plug we got the news that Keenan and been replaced by Hernandez at half time. With the introduction of Hernandez our midfield appeared to have a lot more structure than the first half. He was playing deeper in the midfield and we were playing with him as our fulcrum. It was probably his best game of the season and he is threaded through some delightful balls. Two of note were the pass to Love who subsequently sent in a great cross to Thompson who nodded home our first goal (and 6 points for my fantasy football team), and to Caceres (who came on with ten minutes to play) who then slammed home a great goal from close range to beat Covic at his near post.

It was good to see the team fight back from a seemingly lost position and gain themselves another point. Hopefully this is a turning point for the team and we can rack up our first win next week against the Roar and bring some disappointment to both Hamish and Jessica. Standout players for me on the night were Hernandez, Love and Theoklitos. Special mention must go to Theoklitos as he made a number of stunning saves to deny the Jets from running away with the game.. He is definitely the standout goalkeeper in the league at the moment. So after a fairly entertaining match, both Rosie went and separate ways knowing that the Victory were still unbeaten and the our second half performance was much better than our 'crap' first half and next time we watch a game at The Royal Melbourne Hotel we hope to see Patafta on the field and not watching the game on TV.


Blogger Cecilia said...

Far more eloquent than anything I could have written Neil. I'm hoping the coming back from 2-0 down and not playing great football will lift the boys for our first win of the season on Friday.

I'll try to spot you on Friday. If I go down aisle 35, are you on the left or the right?

P.S. I'm aisle 36, row Q, facing the opposition bench.

22 September 2007 at 21:31  
Anonymous watt said...

Interesting, so people do go to the RMH?? Was it full?

As for Hernandez could it be that we are finally learning how to use him? I'm hoping that is the case

23 September 2007 at 16:24  
Blogger Neil said...

Cecilia, when going down aisle 35 turn to your right. I am pretty close to the aisle.
Watt, the RMH wasn't full but there was a reasonable turnout and were making plenty of noise, especially when the goals were scored. Will be interesting to see how many turn out for the upcoming Sydney away game. Where else are good spots for watching away games? I'm always interested in watching the games with other Victory fans in different locations especially on Friday nights. I also do think that we are starting to learn how to play with Hernandez. I see a Riquelme-like role for him in the Victory squad.

23 September 2007 at 17:24  

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