Cosmos v Carlton

Round 1 report by Chris Kunz
Canberra Cosmos v Carlton SC

Bruce Stadium, still fringed with its Sydney 2000 Olympic finery, welcomed another NSL season with the sort of start no home team wants.

Fireworks preceeded kickoff of a half initially dominated by Carlton, whose players like McPherson and Marth never seem to 'ale' and still have a thirst for football.

Indeed one, Archie Thompson, will soon be rarer in the NSL than an Australian World Cup qualification! Thompson skipped and danced his way across the neat and recently relaid turf; tucked home a loose ball from a corner after 13 minutes, then virtually sealed the game in the 48th after a cross from the left found him with more room than an articulated bus, to leave keeper Barney Smith a mere passenger in the Cosmos plight.

As if anyone might forget his virtuoso performance, Thompson head-butted Robbie Hooker in the chest (and knocked him down) after the Cosmos defender scythed him from behind. Archie waved affectionately at the referee's yellow card, as if it were his first overseas offer - but was lucky to continue tormenting the Cosmos for the last 25 minutes.

Marcus Phillips, relentlessly enthusiastic in the Cosmos midfield, was rewarded when his 69th minute shot from 25m curled inside the far post - leading to much celebration, continued firework explosions (they had prematurely ejaculated from behind the Eastern Stand on a number of occasions, as if triggered by a mad possum trained in pyrotechnics).

Resplendent in their new white socks/red shirts/white shirts with red shoulders strip, the Cosmos gave another debut - to New Zealander Brad Scott. The Kiwi was Cosmos' finest - twisting, turning, passing accurately and hardly ever losing the ball.

This was a reasonable game between an experienced team from Victoria whose players were familiar with each other and a local side of mixed acquaintence who will need many more such evenings before they are comfortable with each other.

On the way home I had to brake hard to avoid running over a possum (who looked like Archie) as he darted and twisted, trying to head-but my car bumper bar. I wished him well, sure in the knowledge that he would produce more spectacular pyrotechnics before larger and more far-flung audiences than Canberra's.