Sunday, 4 November 2007

The Cruel Game

Last night's game against the Mariners was surely a case for the argument that football is often a cruel and unjust mistress. For me, last night was one of the best performances of the season by the Victory and they came with a totally undeserved zero points after going down 2-1 to the Mariners. To add to this misery, our already depleted backline will be further depleted by the absences of both Keenan and Vargas next week as they both received straight red cards in last nights game.

I had intended to go watch the game at the Charles Dickens Tavern because I enjoyed the atmosphere last time I was there but ended up at the Grandview Hotel in Fairfield as I was at a barbecue nearby. Its not a bad venue, to watch the football, although a bit of an old mans pub, and they have a big screen and advertise that they show every A-League game. So if there is anyone out there who lives in Fairfield and doesn't have ready access to Foxtel, the Grandview is well worth checking out and as a bonus they have Cascade Pale Ale on tap. There wasn't that many poeple in the establishment and of those that were that were over half were more interested in watching "Highway Patrol" on the TV above the bar. I also managed to drag a few friends for what was the most part a pretty exciting game.

As I said in my opening the boys put in a stellar performance last night and played some exciting football, but in the end all for nothing. The Mariners didn't seem to know how to play against the ten men of Victory and only they seemed to click into gear once the Victory
had gone a goal to the good. By that time you could see the Victory was running low on energy having played the best part of an hour with ten men and the Mariners exploited it cruelly. The absence of Brebner provided a blessing as it allowed Hernandez the freedom to run the show. He is getting better and better with each game and last night was probably his best performance of the season. Some of passing was sublime, picking out Thompson and Allsopp at will and I am sure fellow blogger, Cecilia will be happy that a lot of his passes were going to space and less to feet. Let's hope Merrick finally catches onto the fact that we only need two defensive midfielders.

Surprise of the night from a Victory perspective came from the peformance of Daniel Vasilevski, who was brought onto to shore up the midfield after the sending off of Keenan. He has only had limited opportunities so far this season and has failed to impress but against the Mariners he was a standout in the defensive half and then putting in some excellent passes to the boys up front. Allsopp and Thompson ran hard all game and performed brilliantly as they kept the Mariner's defence on the back foot for most of the game. It was also an excellent debut from Steven Pace, who after a few early nervy moments looked at home in the centre of defence. We will certainly need him in the coming weeks.

Much talk and debate will and has surrounded the two red cards that were handed out to Vargas and Keenan. Keenan's send off was probably warranted as it was a poor and mistimed tackle with the studs up. The incident involving Vargas and Petrovski was slightly more contentious and had throwbacks to the Pantelidis incident the week before. Shield should probably have pulled the play up earlier and Petrovski did milk it for it all it was worth (not that it did him much good) but a player such as Vargas should have shown more discipline in the situation. To be honest the Vargas red card had little bearing on the final outcome of the match but will have an impact on the team in the coming weeks.

This could be a season defining match for the Victory. If they build on the positives then the finals are a certainty but if they let the shattering nature of the loss play on their minds then the finals will not be a realistic proposition. I am looking forward to next week and the biggest clash of the regular season against Sydney. Not only is this a must win game for the Victory but it also happens to be my birthday so hopefully I will be celebrating in style with a win. Also don't forget to check out this blog at and vote for me in the Ole Ole FIFA Club World Championship Competition. However to vote you have to join


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