Stallions v Strikers

Round 9 report by Fred Legget
Marconi-Fairfield v Brisbane Strikers

It was hot at Marconi Stadium last night, very hot, and I think that this affected the players of both sides, with many passes being overhit or otherwise going astray.

So, not a classic encounter by any stretch of the imagination, but an honest shift could be said to have been put in by both teams.

Over pre match drinks, I had raised the issue with some fellow Marconians that with Maloney and Spiteri suspended, Brosque injured, and Gullesarian also injured, that we were very short of fire power, and that I had concerns that we may huff and puff all night possession wise, but that we would have difficulty in actually scoring.

I did however, have faith that Nick Carle would score soon, and even handed down a prophecy that he would score in this very game!

So, as I watched the game, Nostradamus like, it indeed became evident that it would be a low scoring affair.

Lots of movement, but not many clear cut chances, and early on, it was the visitors who made most of the running.

Brisbane were no wall flowers however when it came to tackling, and early in that first half there were a few challenges, that had they been put in by Marconi, would have I'm sure, resulted in an automatic red card, with the relevant player taken to a spot behind the grandstand and publicly pilloried in full view of SBS cameras.

However, it was the coach of all people who crossed the line and saw the red mist descend, , when Mr Mclaren for some reason lunged two footedly at Shane Webb and left him prostrate on the lush Marconi turf.

The after effects looked bad, with the stretcher immediately being called.

Now, I'm not one to harp on, but a similar tackle at the same stadium saw SBS run numerous replays of the incident repeatedly, and caused near apoplexy among some.

So did the reported (falsely) 'high five' that the Marconi coach allegedly gave to the player as he was sent off.

So fast forward back to this game, and as Mclaren was leaving the field Marconi Assistant Coach (and former Brissie player) Andy Harper gave McLaren a supportive pat on the head...will Harper be hauled before a disciplinary hearing for this act of support towards a transgressing player, just as JP was?

Will SBS run and re run in slow motion the tackle, giving it more publicity than the Anita Cobby murders received?

Will it be bisected, dissected and any other thing that ends in ed, on TWG?

I think not.

And the only difference between Maloney's tackle against Power and Mclaren's one in this game being..because of the 'effect' of the tackle.

Webbie eventually got up, and played on.

Nuff said about that.

Just prior to this Marconi were once again refused a clear penalty (well, to me at least!) when Chad Gibson worked his way into the box, only to be pulled down by the Brisbane custodian.

At the other end, Brisbane really should have taken the lead, when they broke and against the run of play, Royce Brownlie (Judas with the white boots) found himself 20 yards out with a colleague on his left, and a colleague on his right, with only a solitary Marconi defender standing between the three of them and Michael Turnbull in goals..

The logical thing would have been simply to slip the ball forward for a colleague to run on to, but our Roycie was never one to be known for applying logic.

Instead, he opted to shoot from 20 yards, and a relieved Turnbull, easily gathered his somewhat, pithy shot.

So, half time came, and we were left to wonder how Marconi would counter this new experience - playing against a team that actually had less men than them.

Gilbert suggested that this would mean that two Marconi players would have to be ordered to take theiri turn at getting an early bath, just so our consistent approach of playing with a man less than the opposition could be applied.

11 men came out at half time though, so at least JP is prepared to take risks and try new things it seems..8-).

Second half much the same as the first with Marconi starting to press harder, as the extra man and heat took its toll on the Strikers, although why Marconi did not stretch them on the flanks more is beyond me.

One moment of danger for Marconi however, when the Strikers broke away and looked as if they must score.

So much of a 'must' that at least one of their players already had their hands in the air to acclaim the strike when somehow Michael Turnbull blocked the shot from six yards and it was hoofed away to safety...phew!

A goal at our end had to come though, and up popped Nick Carle in a crowded box to fire a hard low shot to the keeper's left, through a ruck o players, from about 12 yards.

Now being right behind the action, I observed that Scott Higgins, the Strikers goalie, *did* in fact get his hand to the shot, but the force of the shot bent his hand back and the ball crossed the line.

Obviously, the young chap needs to work on his wrist strengthening exercises, and we made sure he was appraised of this from then on.

Unlike Hendo of Spirit however, young Scott seemed to react to our jibes in the best way three minutes later pulling off what I can only describe as a 'world class' double save, and to our credit we applauded and laughed along with him.

By this time, a new bidder for our attention had entered the the Fray Bentos Can shape of number, 3 Shane Stefanutto....

While winding him up as a corner was about to be played in, he retorted back to us .."Crap Accent!"

Now, he may be right..but when will these so called "professional" players realise that indeed, his reaction (ie taking his complete attention off the game) was exactly what we were looking for!

Shane, Shane, Shane!

I intend to take nominations at season's end for the "Hendo Award"..and the recipient will be a player who has shown the most unprofessionalism during a game by becoming embroiled with the spectator's comments.

Hendo would be outright winner given his performance at Marconi a few week's ago, so seeing that it is in his name we'll make him ineligible, and Stefanutto, at the moment, is out in front at this early stage.

Full time came, Marconi got the 3 points in an acceptable manner, but had Brisbane had a bit more self belief, I reckon it could have been the other way around.

It was almost as if the Brisbane game plan was to 'contain,' whereas if they had went hell for leather, they might have went home with 3 instead of no points.

It is also my view that Marconi's acid test will come next week when we cross the pond to play the (currently ) pointless Football Kingz.

Our record there is quite horrendous, and a horrible wee man at the back of my brain is telling me that this could be the game that results in the headlines.."Kingz ride over Stallions to break their Duck" or similar...

Should we lose next week, then the wheels could fall off...if we win..well....I reckon we'll go on to bigger and better things..but let's wait and see.

I should mention in closing that Andre popped up behind the goals to say hello, but try as I might to contact my new chum Markian, who had said he would be at the match, I couldn't, and got fed up with a recorded message telling me that his phone was switched off.

Finally, just to show we are good sports, we chanted for both the Stallions AND the Strikers after the game, as both sides tried their best in less than excellent conditions..

It is after all, quite easy to be magnanimous in victory, is it not?