Nice sauna conditions here in Brisbane for a couple of days and a bizarre 6.00PM kickoff time (end of daylight saving schism?) made it unlikely we would have a big crowd in. Ted Mulder managed to follow my directions and turned up for his lift at the arranged time and it was nice, as usual, to have the chance to put a face to a name. Didn't see quite as much of him as would have liked as it turned out he was a VIP and spent the game either being frustrated at not managing to get security permission to cross the field to make contact with the Pride party or escaping the heat and humidity to enjoy the freebies in the air conditioned STRIKERS' box. Oh, BTW, he rated the fare quite highly. Nevertheless, we did have time for some chat to and from the game and it was interesting to hear from someone who has been deeply involved in the Moorwell/Gippsland/Eastern/Pride/Falcons story from the start. Let's hope that tale is not quite at its end yet.
We arrived about an hour early and were greeted by our venerable BSSA president with a little steam coming from his ears. As I understood from him that the STRIKERS' publicity officer had demanded the our free hand out, the Free Kick, be distributed even further in the ground because it is reducing the sale of match day programmes. This accompanied by the threat of expulsion from the ground. I can see that reduced income from losing programme sales may be very significant for our apparently cash strapped club, but I can't help wondering if programme sales cover the cost of the largesse extended in the official box?
There were lots of rumours about that Fernado has signed for another two seasons, he is off to Brazil to find a few mates at the end of the season. The club has passed the first criterion of being a going concern - and that it hasn't Time will tell.!
Little kiddies from the Sunnybank juniors stepped with Thor onto the field accompanied by the aforementioned BSSA president (another BSSA initiative), and we gave them a cheer as they came back to the grandstand. Out came the sides, Pride in a very fetching electric blue and us in our now customary hoops. We have a new chant that I like - "Come on you Hooo-oops!".
The game did not raise to great heights compared with some of the football the STRIKERS have served up recently, but they were the better side and they were soon ahead with a headed goal from Peter Bulyan ("You are my Bulyan, my only Bulyan....") and soon after the Pride keeper kindly supplied us with a penalty which Fossie, Fossie, Fossie, Oi, Oi, Oi popped in in the opposite side to the keeper's dive. Pride did have one attempt at goal and we missed a few, notably a screamer from Fernando which just shaved the left (keeper's right ) post. 2 - 0 at half time and coasting. Ted came down to say hello and thought we should be up 5 -1. A fair estimate.
In the second half Pride placed Bell on Fernando, man to man, and it took a good half hour for the STRIKERS to work their way around that. During that time the visitors scored from a set piece free kick wide of the box on the left (what I call left, anyway) and an unmarked header made it 2 - 1. It was almost deja vu a few minutes later when an almost identical sequence caused great turmoil at the far post. I can't recall when we last scored from a set piece, and we seem to create lots of them every game.
Then Eugene, the pride keeper gave us a lovely gift. A fairly innocuous long punt floated gently on the Brisbane warm evening breeze and he mistimed a punch, unchallanged, and the ball quietly rolled into the net. "Well see you on Red Faces!" we thanked him, but he still refused to give us a wave. Dean Fak, however, did! The second half was quite scrappy and it looked as if the STRIKERS came on feeling we had it won. We did step up a bit when they scored and after the gift goal Pride eased up - not that I blame them considering what's happened to the poor sods recently and their position in the table. Our position didn't improve as much as it might have due to other results and we rocketed up yet another place to be 8 points out of the six. Not likely we'll make it, but we can still dream on.