In the lead up to the round 2 opener, Mirko Boland outlined a challenge for the Red’s faithful- be noisier. Mirko’s wish came true as the sounds of the near 8,000 crowd united at Hindmarsh in a chorus of boos directed at none other than Shaun Evans and Glen Moss following a dramatic end to the 1 all deadlock between AUFC and the Newcastle Jets.
Directly after issuing his challenge, Mirko became unavailable due to a hip injury picked up at training, with Ken Ilsø assuming Boland’s position in the starting 11. The signing strategy for the new number 10 was clear following a string of short stays from previous players filling the CAM spot- sign someone who is single so they won’t leave after a few weeks once their better halves have had enough of Adelaide’s dry heat and the shops not opening until 11am on a Sunday. The new week also saw Baba return from Workcover as well as Mileusnic named in the extended 18-man squad.
Name a more iconic duo than Boogaard and a send off, I’ll wait…less than ten minutes for Boogaard to get halfway there and cop a yellow to be the first player into Evan’s book (don’t worry, you’ll never be the last). Could Nige stay out of trouble for the remaining 81 minutes of play?
AUFC were scatty in the first 45, with limited movement once getting the ball up the field due to a lack of pace with both Kitto and Mileusnic out of the final squad. Limited balls were successfully crossed into the box and poor attempts at fancy footwork led to the Jets regaining possession as quick as a 20-something white girl filming Boomerangs on a wine tour.
The Jets were able to make it count on the scoreboard in the second half, with Vargas capitalising on an United defensive error to give Newcastle the lead, whilst ten minutes later a pinpoint cross from Marrone found the head of Goodwin and the back of the net to even things up. Thank God for Goody.
In the dying minutes of the game, a clash in the box between Glen Moss and George Blackwood, with a little bit of Georgevski added in too, saw United players, coaches, and fans alike up in arms (sounds suspiciously like Ames) after Evans didn’t immediately point to the spot. In what was later described in Kurz’s presser as a “car accident”, we couldn’t look away from the multiple replays beaming across the Hindmarsh screen.
The inaction from Evans led to flares. No not the good type, but the tempers of AUFC players flared and a minor on-field melee ensued. Oh wait, this is Australian media reporting on Sokkah, not AFL. I mean an all out brawl erupted between the Hooligans in red and black on the field (probably the RBB), and all our lives were in danger. Mitch Austin was breathing a sigh of relief as arch nemesis Regan was safely locked away on the bench during this scuffle.
Evans reportedly consulted VAR through his earpiece who denied the pen, stating Blackwood fell. He fell so hard he broke his shoulder. The decision has split social media; some indicating that the right decision has been made as neither Moss nor Blackwood had possession of the ball in a 50:50 challenge situation, others say Blackwood’s foul against Georgevski came first and therefore was the punishable offence, whilst those who are right know that Moss’ actions were completely reckless, he was no where near the ball, and if that had of occurred anywhere else on the pitch it would have been a foul. What we can all at least agree on is that despite the aforementioned choices, Evans awarding the Jets a free kick after all of that was just plain ridiculous. Moss escaped any form of reprimand, whilst Evans preferred to show the book instead to Adelaide’s keeper as well as Kurz for stepping foot on the pitch to protest the fact that Evans did not take the chance to look at the pitch-side screen to make a decision for himself.
What makes the decision, or lack there of, harder to swallow is knowing that if we replace Blackwood in this story with Fornaroli, we know the penalty would’ve been given in record time, the keeper would’ve been sent off in a double jeopardy moment, and a gift-basket would be waiting for him back at his hotel for his efforts.
The final whistle saw the deadlock remain, with Adelaide completing their second of three games within a ten-day period. AUFC again go into the FFA cup final on Tuesday night with a striker down and complete confusion about what mood the VAR is going to be in. The only guarantee is that with all the A-league referees appearing to be graduates of the Ben William’s Academy, we are going to be grimacing at whoever the FFA decide to grant the match to.
Featured image from The Advertiser Sport.
By Hayley Leedham