From shaking heads to shaking the foundations of AAMI park, it was a game filled with thrills and spills.
Conceding in the first 30 seconds, all hope seemed to be lost once again for the red and black. 1 – 0 down, and no surprise, really.
A heavily disappointing start earns a shake of the head from Manager, Markus Babbel, as the boys try to lift their heads from the shameful early performance and embarrassment, that is our defense.
We continue through the entire game, fighting for a lead, levelling with City on the scoreline, three times. An impressive performance from our academy graduates throughout the entire 90 minutes, as they teach our usual starting squad a thing or two about FIGHTING TILL THE LAST WHISTLE BLOWS!
I don’t think I have ever seen the team run around as much and attempt to block an attack in our half, more, than I did during this game. The way we played was better than our entire damn season put together, but what is our main weakness?
Well it’s quit simple, really, and has been pointed our more than once.
Our defense is a shamble and I’m not even gonna stick up for them anymore. The line up for our defense was almost mint, majority held it together for a full 90 minutes but turned into a bunch of headless chickens during every corner and in the dying minutes, GAVE AWAY THE THE ENTIRE GAME.
AND ONCE AGAIN, we give away a lead and 3 valuable points. Good times.
But I’m sick of talking about the negatives, hell, I have enough as is.
The positives I can pick out from last night was 100% our youngsters, the way that they played, their skill when they receive and release the ball, the way the read the game and their opponents, and how they fought hard and long to keep the game in their favour, no matter the result.
We had an A-league debut for 19 year old, Tate Russell a few weeks ago, and following not to far behind was 18 year old, Nick Suman. Tonight we welcomed our other Academy graduates, both new and old, Abraham Majok, Tass Mourdoukoutas, Matheiu Cordier and Marc Tokich.
One of our main youngsters that I was impressed with, was the performance of Majok and his skill to be able to get around the City defense in places on the field, where other regulars to the squad would have lost the ball within seconds of being pressured and boxed in. NOT for Abraham!
After finding a way through, he gracefully runs circles around anyone else who stood in his way, creating a chance to score for himself, or having the vision to pass it to another youngster who knows how to get into an attacking position. Unlike our squad regulars who usually have trouble doing so.
Another youth to point out is Nick Suman, who has stepped up very quickly over the last couple weeks, since the decision to bench first choice keeper, Vedran Janjetovic, after countless brain snaps during important games. Being young, the kid is bound to make a few mistakes that can cost us, but he makes up for it in the long run with his reflexes and ability to read the game. There is, of course, room for improvement but I’m quite impressed with the way he is holding himself up there between the sticks, and saving the team a number of time after countless stupid mistakes and horror marking, during corners.
Tass Mourdoukoutas scored his first for his side last night, a nice header to get the boys back into the lead.
Marc Tokich was introduced into the pitch on the 72nd minute to replace Roly Bonevacia and contributed to the midfield to ensure a nice flow continued between the squad.
Matheiu Cordier wasn’t granted a run this game but there is no way he wont be given a chance in future games. The kid is an impressive defender and so far, what we need. Next round, he is sure to get a chance to play.
Tate Russell, a player who continues to impress me, as a defender on paper but an all round contributor is what we need in this team. Players who are not afraid to run out of their position when we need them to, but also know that there is a line that can disadvantage the team if crossed. He knows balance, creates passes, crosses and goals, defends the fort and returns to position at lightning speeds when the team is in danger on conceding, refusing to give up. This is all Tate Russel, and if I could bottle his skill and sell it to the rest of the damn squad, I would.
These players are all keys to our future success at this club, what we saw during this game between City, is our youth bringing out the best in our entire team. Squad regulars like Llorente, Bonevacia, and even the short few minutes that Riera played, as he returned to the pitch after injury, was a breathe of fresh air. Majority of the squad contributed to creating chances and holding possession. The only negative was the shut down in extra time to throw the full 90 minutes of hard work, right away.
Nevertheless, our academy has grown an amazing set of players, both past and present, many can fight against me for saying this but after the goal that put us in the lead, an example of present talent for the red and black who was once an academy rookie, is Joshua Sotirio, now a regular senior.
We’re looking at former wanderers who have left the squad too, along the lines of Mario Shabow, Jonathan Aspro. We create great players, and god willing the club does whatever they can to hold onto them, unless they do something stupid like, I dunno, not use their skill to benefit us all, and SELL THEM TO OUR RIVALS! (Which has happened more than once)
Markus Babbel has the right idea to give the youth a shot, because it has changed this squad over the last couple of weeks and is doing wonders. If we continue this, we’re bound to get 3 points somewhere along the line. God knows when, but I’m looking forward to it.
If our youth are on the starting 11, there may just be hope.
By Christina Trajceska