Well, the shirts worn at the IC included a Sao Paulo and TWO from Stockport County! We were surprised to see Mark Battistin taking his girlfriend into Gambaro's at about 5.30.
Under the stadium it was abuzz with activity. The Junior STRIKERS doing good business in enrollments and the souvenir shop busy. Very encouraging to see and feel the excitement there again!
We had all forgotten that the game was to kick off half an hour late, which is a reflection of the times as, I assume, that is to accomodate TV. The Carlton game starts at 4.00 PM on a Sunday, presumably for the same reason - just like the big boys OS! Thus we were able to savour the delights of the pre-match entertainment which consisted of the kiddies five a side again and then three gentlemen in white and baggy suits (didn't catch their name) singing to prerecorded music some golden oldies from the disco era (I think). These same three then gave us a rendition of our national anthem which is always inappropriate (IMHO) at EC games and, in this instance quite profane. So much so that I unpatriotically sat through it as a small and futile protest.
We also cought the end of the QAS Sydney United youth game and there was some talent and good football on display there. It ended up with the locals winning 6 - 1, and deservedly from the 15 min I saw. On to the game. Th Kossie influence was once again there to be seen and one stroke of genius he has pulled has been to move the residual Crannie kiddie infield where he did quite well. I still can't understand the gushing enthusiasm of the TV folk for both Crannies, and wonder if I am blinkered by prejudice. Am I? In any case, his opportunity for those crap crosses were reduced to only a couple too deep in the late second half, when he drifted wide and the CC was a mere 5. Good one Kossie (Oi, Oi, Oi!).
There were 6115 in according to the officials (Bonnie will have her doubts) and this reasonable gathering will have been well pleased with what was on offer, apart from the two very late Glory goals. The STRIKERS were again, especially in the first 30 minutes, looking good and it was not a suprise when the Mad Bull, much subdued BTW, crossed to Crannie on the far post, and 5 metres out, to deftly control and score. (I've never said the Crannies don't have good skills - they do and that's part of the frustration). It really was end to end stuff with the Glory causing Clint Bolton to flap a few times; but, unlike Crofty (who is not Clint's greatest admirer) I thought overall he had a good game and could onlyshere the blamet for Glory's second goal. Kasey (with a K) worked as he always did and had quite a lot to say as acting (presumably) captain. Some nice touches and deft passing too, but not as influential, I thought, as he has been. The defence did well without Gwynnie and especially kept Santa very quiet for the whole game. The Tariga lads were chanting "Who you playing for next year? Fatty, Fatty" which was most unfair as he is a shadow if his former self and is possibly thinner even than last year - almost anorexic.
Our attack once again managed to penetrate wide, unlike last season, as did Glory's which lead to very entertaining game. So nice to be able to write that after the misery of 1997-8. Wayne Knipe (also with a K) buzzed and harried and chased and never stopped for 90 minutes. I think he needs to be just behind someone tall and good at holding it up rather than alone up front as he is not imposing enough. OHY, though full of running, did not seem to be able to fulfill that role and was, I'm sorry to report, more like he was last year thas he was last home game. It also seemed that we had been practicing long crosses beyond the far post and we executed them very well, except there was never anyone there to receive them. Thr Perth defence coped very well and there were a few last ditch interceptions which prevented dangerous passes getting through. Despite that, on several occasions STRIKERS' strikers were one on one with Milosevic and he did well. No STRIKERS ever seem willing to hit a potential net buster from in close and there were at least two chances to do that last night.
Our mid field started well, but lost it late in the second half - especially the Bull who was reduced to walking it seemed and we were all hoping Kossie would give him a rest.
Our second goal once again came from a set piece! Crannie seemed to obstruct the crippled keeper for Harris to head home his third in three games. I assume Glory came over with no sub keeper which could have been very costly had Milosevic been a little more severly damaged or if we could have exploited his immobility more.
Towards the end Glory were very stong and pressed and pressed with the resulting points sharing two goals. The first resulted from our defence ball watching and the second a scrappy affair in the six yard box.
The incedent in injury time, when the free kick was given inside the box seemed harsh as the alleged back pass did not look deliberate to me. The staush thet followed it was confused, but the TV showed some Glory defender rushing out and clouting Wehrman on the back of the nut then scampering up field. Kasey retaliated on someone who dod a Franc98 dive then moved of to confront the head banger. The ref, afte consulting his assistant, wisely decided 6 of one and gave a goal kick.
Before the game the discusion lead to predictions and we all agreed, funnily enough, we would accept 2-2. In the event, I felt the STRIKERS shaded the Glory, and certainly had more scoring chances. Good entertainment, but who likes dropping points when 2 nil up with ten minutes to go?