Don’t ask me why but I really love Sunday football, maybe it’s the perfect way to cap off my “do the bare minimum and sit in pyjamas” day or to be honest any day that involves a football match is going to be great.
I wanted two things from the matchup between Melbourne City and the Newcastle Jets, City to lose and Daniel Georgievski to avoid his 5th booking for the season which would mean he would be eligible to play against the Victory next weekend at AAMI Park, (his first return to AAMI to face his former side). Not much to ask for right? Well…. Half of my wish list was ticked off so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much right? It all started according to plan when Eugene Galekovic had a brain fade/fart/what in the world was he doing moment in the 4th minute which saw Roy O’Donovan pretty much stroll into goal putting the visitors ahead.
Both teams were looking to get something out of this match with some great passing and pressure, and McGree was extremely unlucky to not score the equaliser in the 6th when he fired the ball wide. As a sign of things to come Ronny Vargas got himself into the book nice and early in the 7th minute and you could sense that there would be little tolerance by the referees today. Not ideal when your favourite Macedonian has a talent for picking up cards, possibly a case of defender problems or Danny’s knack for questionable tackles.
As the match progressed, it was the home side in City who was gaining momentum looking to equalise as quickly as possible and again with no Fornaroli (I doubt we’ll see him in City colours again to be fair) it was definitely up to the likes of McGree, De Laet and Co to find the goals.
The 25th minute saw some good old fashioned drama when City won a penalty following a Vargas handball. Vargas went completely off the rails earning his second yellow in the process for dissent (if you looked close enough there was definitely a swear word or two thrown in for good measure) and a VAR check in the process. VAR cleared it and Vargas was sent into the locker room for an early shower, personally he should know better and should’ve kept his mouth shut given he was already sitting on a yellow card.
Ex-Jet Riley McGree had no trouble converting the penalty!
And for his troubles, Vargas left his teammates having to play with ten men for 60+ minutes! Wanting to capitalise, Luke Brattan scored a screamer from outside the area past Italiano in the 32nd minute into the top corner and it was all on the Jets now to try and get something from their trip to Melbourne.
As was to be expected all the momentum was with Melbourne City having the man advantage and the Jets sitting slightly back looking to not concede anymore goals. I suppose you could classify me as a neutral fan but the Victory diehard in me loves seeing City lose and I think the Jets have a solid squad who should be higher on the ladder than what they currently are.
Don’t underestimate the Jets however, who earned themselves a corner in the 45th and then a free kick in two minutes into stoppage time to try and find a second goal but it wasn’t to be and City went into the sheds at half time 2-1 up.
The second half saw City pass the ball around the park looking fairly comfortable but the visitors weren’t going to sit down and not fight to get something. A chance went begging in the 55th when Brattan cleared a Dimi Petratos free-kick and I was starting to panic a little bit knowing the Jets would get frustrated, and frustration usually leads to sloppy defending, which in turns means the likes of Georgievski get a card for their efforts.
Suffering from a bout of low blood pressure, it was about to hit the roof following Ritchie De Laet’s challenge on above mentioned Daniel Georgievski in the 70th minute. Tempers were flaring, a bit or argy bargy and I was 10000% sure the Macedonian would pick up a 5th booking. I was mentally preparing for it and cursing everything in sight, picture me sitting in the living room losing my marbles and my very Macedonian Baba (Grandma) staring at me as if I’d suddenly grown two heads. BUT THANK THE HEAVENS it was De Laet with the yellow and NOTHING for DANNY. (Maybe it was that awkward “we can just hug it out” moment which to be honest I think was a strategic measure to avoid going into the referee’s book).
The momentum was swinging back in City’s favour thanks to a double sub giving the home side fresh legs, and Delbridge sending a fairly powerful shot towards Italiano’s goal but it was quite wide.
The 80th saw me celebrating as if I’d won the lottery when Ernie Merrick subbed Daniel Georgievski off who providing he is fit etc. is free to play next week. Lachlan Jackson on for the visitors, looking to keep the defence solid and avoid conceding another goal. It was quickly becoming a case of could the Jets equalise in the 84th when Ugarkovic sent a great volley toward Galekovic but it was just too high to cause any real trouble for the City keeper.
The fourth official signalled four minutes of stoppage time and I was keeping everything crossed for a Newcastle equaliser. I am sure I could appreciate City more if it wasn’t for my personal choice in football teams but there are just the select few sides whom no matter when they play I never want to win. City is one of them, Adelaide United and Sydney FC the other two to make it a nice looking three.
Third minute of extra time saw Jair’s shot blocked and then McGree hitting the post not even a minute later. How McGree’s shot didn’t get in is beyond me, it hit the upright and ricocheted out! Any other day you’d put money on that it would find the back of the net.
Full time and City took the three points.
It was one of those games where had Vargas not gone completely bonkers it would’ve been much more enjoyable to watch, but also I think the Jets would have at the minimum gotten a point. Sorry Jets fans, Vargas cost you the points today. See you all at AAMI Park next week when the Jets face the in-form Melbourne Victory which should be a heated encounter indeed.
One last request Ernie I expect to see Georgievski #17 on the team sheet thanks buddy!
By Jakie Manevski