Sunday, 28 October 2007

An ill wind blows in Melbourne

There is nothing like a red card to get everybody out of their seat and on Friday night provided that opportunity in the Victory's 2-0 loss to the Newcastle Jets . It even raised the supporter groups on the third level out of their committed silent protest at their treatment by the Telstra Dome administration. That incident being a stray Steve Pantelidis' elbow supposedly to the face of Newcastle's Joel Griffiths (who is slowly becoming the most hated player outside of Newcastle). Griffiths' who went down as if shot (nothing new here) but as soon the red card was produced, was up and remonstrating with the Melbourne players. Replays clearly show Pantelidis' elbow connecting with the upper chest of Griffiths and not his face.

I'm currently reading the The Beautiful Game: A Journey Through Latin American Football where Argentinian Mauricio Taricco, an early import into the English game, who candidly talks about feigning injury to get someone sent off .
". . . If someone is really important in their team, I'll try to provoke him so that he retaliates and gets sent off. But that's an advantage that you can give the team because if you're playing against ten men, you've got an advantage. In Argentina it's accepted. If you get someone sent off, after the game the coach will see it as a good move."
I'm not saying Pantelidis is the most important player in the team but having a man advantage a distinct plus when holding onto an one goal lead. The incident which will obviously be hotly debated, took the wind out the sails of the Victory who were constantly on the attack until that point but not finding that killer finishing touch.

That probably was the real story of the night and should be discussed in more detail. The Victory dominated vast periods of the game possession-wise but were unable to find a way through the Jets' defence who were playing a competent counter attacking game away from home. For me, the reason for the inability to break down the defence was the inability of our wingers to draw players out of position and put in good crosses. Too often when given the chance, our wingers and particular Keenan, who had large amounts of the ball would cut back into the already crowded midfield when there was was an opportunity to take his man on and stretch the defence. Kemp, on the other wing was trying to take on the Jets but for me he never looks that confident on the ball.

The solution is not that difficult and its on our bench, his name is Caceres, a player who is not afraid to take on his man, can put in a decent cross and also possesses a decent shot as well. So Ernie, please put Caceres on from the start so we can get some decent width into our game. Its also my wish also to see Caceres and Hernandez have a decent spell of time together on the pitch as I believe it could be the making of key offensive combination. For me the better players on the night were Hernandez and Thompson, whom it appears are starting to gel as a partnership and are constantly on the look out for each other in the attacking third. Matthew Breeze, was in charge for the game, had a shocker and the boys MVFC Blog have discussed this in greater detail in their discussion of the game.

There was a lot of positives from Friday's nights game as well as a few negatives as already stated it will be interesting to see how the players and coaching react for next week's game against Central Coast at the Bluetongue Stadium. I will be most probably be down at the Charles Dickens Tavern watching the game.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It even raised the supporter groups on the third level out of their committed silent protest at their treatment by the Telstra Dome administration."

It did not. The protest was very disciplined and worked to plan:

A banner reading "Footbal not as you know it" followed by 70 minutes silence, then a banner "football as you have always known it" and chanting for the last 20 minutes of the fame and a good 25 minutes afterwards.

28 October 2007 at 22:33  
Blogger Neil said...

My apologies, it only appeared from my viewpoint that the chanting appeared to coincide with the red card incident. I was up on third level for the first part of the protest and I have now included some photos. After returning to the first level it was difficult to see both the first and second banner due to the glare of the stadium lighting. Keep up the good work.

29 October 2007 at 09:11  
Anonymous wes said...

I thought that the Pantelidis red card was fair although he was more or less provoked and hence the free-kick. However, I should say that overall the referee did not have a good game because he let somethings go and blew for other things and in the end he looked like he was now doing a balancing act.

I was impressed with Victory's performance and I think its now time we start with Leandro Love because something different compared to Allsop. When he came on he tried by then by then the team was down to ten man whereas I really don't see what Allsop did for most of the night.

The CCM match should be a real test and I am keen to see which team Merrick puts on the park.

29 October 2007 at 15:57  
Blogger Neil said...

Wes, the actions of Pantelidis probably did warrant the issuing of a red card although Griffiths milked it for all its worth. But as both Cecilia and The Football Tragic have both pointed out the referee could have blown the whistle a lot earlier in the play as it was quite clear Pantelidis was being impeded and thus avoiding the red card incident.

I am still of the opinion that Caceres is a better starting option than Love at this stage although either would take the pressure of Allsopp and Thompson. Where someone has to go is the centre of midfield, ideally one of the defensive midfielders.

29 October 2007 at 20:29  

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