Solomon Islands 2 - Australia 6

As the weather gets colder, the crowds get smaller and the resolution to keep showing up gets weaker, this game had disorganised Aussie play, unexpected Solomon determination and at times high farce.

El Tel wanted to give everyone a go (except Zdrillic, it seems). So tonite, the starters included Skoko (not too hot), Petrovic in goals (never to be seen again) and Tapai (Goose award despite 2 goals). Of the others, Slater, Lazaridis, Tobin did reasonably well, T. Vidmar was up and down, and most of the time Enes, Arnold and Mori wasted space.

We started all right - the first in off Slater's arse, the third goal defted headed home by the Solomons defender. The second half degenerated badly. A.Vidmar came on and again looked badly out of form. The crowd got a bit cheeky, generally razzing the Aussies and Aurelio in particular - which led to him telling the boys to "f*** off". Not a great professional response I thought, and reflecting his mind set at present.

Amongst the Aussie passes going astray everywhere, the Solomons had 2 breaks and scored from both (5-0 to 5-2). How the defenders let themselves get beaten is beyond me, let alone how Petrovic failed to dive and save the second goal. Bye bye Jason. Lucky it the Solomons home game, no danger to Australia on away goals :-)

At the other end, one defender saved brilliantly off the goal line. The ref (Mr Precious from NZ - yes that's his real name) thought it was all OK until the linesman politely flagged and informed him that the bloke had handled the ball. He then gave him a yellow, then remembered that red means send off, showed that one and awarded the penalty. At least Aurelio scored from something.

Along the way we had no scoreboard all nite, and a semi power failure in the second half. If FIFA worried less about getting the fans to sit down and more about niceties such as being able to see, we'd all be better off.

I hope Tel puts a rocket up their collective backsides tonite. I would assume he's going to give his final best 11 a start on Thurs, to give them 90 min together before Auckland (??Suva). It is the only incentive to return to a now very bleak Parra stadium.

written by Mark Bowman