Venue: Princes Park, Parkville
Score: 2 - 2
Match report by Michael Jhoomun
Another big week off the park for the Stallions with pressure mounting on the Mafia. The Mafia have not been happy with results of late. They Mafia were rumoured to be losing large amounts of money through their Karaoke Bar and their 'agreement' with Reza for Trivia which also fell through on Friday night.
Kabil had also been missing and was last seen ordering only long rolls from the Monash canteen. The canteen staff asked if he wanted a sausage with the roll but replied that he has plenty of sausage from his hairdresser. A bewildered look from the staff member was responded to with a quite whisper of “read last week’s match report”.
A tough week at training on Thursday with Konrad stating section 6:3 Clause 2, section B, paragraph 8 of Club Rules that stated, "Thou shall wear shin pads at all times or otherwise feel the wrath of committee-coach-players with a drag down studs up tackle followed by public verbal lashing and poor seating allocation at all future Monash award nights". This had Pog thinking about more documentation, survey questions and website upgrades only to be snapped back into reality and remember that most players are still getting to grips with start times for home games even through it has been the same all season.
On to the game… It was a glorious winter day but the Princes Park pitch actually made the Monash training pitch look good. Pre-game banter was relaxed with several latecomers including late entry Lou who had been rumoured to inform Brian overseas of his initial non-selection. This was followed up by a mysterious dozen of fine wine landing outside my front door late Thursday evening with the note of ‘pick him’. The change was made.
Arnie and Jin still came late and would require the game to be played in their bedroom to have any chance of being there on time. Andrino Roberts was also confused but was a still recovering from his Friday party. No invites were made to his coach or any members of the mafia. This has resulted in several fans of the Stallions debating why such an exorbitant transfer fee was paid for this striker who does not score. Intense public scrutiny was taking place with my nightclub spy informing me that Andy was refused entry. When questioned what he was doing out on the eve of an important clash he responded with “Have you seen my goal scoring record?” with the bouncer responding “it’s this season that counts”. Andy was eventually let in briefly where his glamour wife was demanding why she was left alone in the club waiting for him. They made a quick departure with a wink of acknowledgement from her to the bouncer that his comment was fair enough.
The line-up was as follows Chendi ‘all I want for Christmas is clean sheet’ as keeper. Mr Technical Pog, Big Jack, General Konrad and Quiet achiever who likes his women the same way George. Designer T-Shirt Steve, Pana, Jin who only rides with Arnie and smiling assassin Glen. Up front was Andrino Roberts and still golden boot MJ. On the bench initially was underage Jason, Mining magnate Kenny, Lou the magician and Alex ‘Beckham’ McLean.
Now really on to the game… The game started quite well with the Stallions intensity and movement both on and off the ball at a high standard not seen in previous weeks. It was still a tight affair where Monash were starting to generate genuine passages of play that even Fossie from SBS would not fault. The dominance in play was bringing Designer T-shirt Steve in to the game to start showing his game day potential. Steve owned the right flank and was linking up well with Pana whom the ref somehow knew on a first name basis. Play was quickly switched from Steve to Pana who in turn passed forward quickly to myself. The call was made to play left where a quick whipped through ball was delivered to Glen. A long range effort was saved by RMIT keeper resulting a corner. Glen took the corner to expertly find Big Jack who with the outside of his foot guided the ball into the bottom right corner for Monash to go 1-0 up.
More chances were to be created with the move of Glen to left midfield paying dividends. A great cross from Glen found me just inside the box. A well taken first touch had the crowd anticipating another goal. The shot was taken low and hard but just missed the bottom right corner in what should have been a goal.
Substitutions were made with Lou the magician quickly linking up with Jin only to skim the cross bar and having Lou curse the post again. Kenny was also introduced and was able to nearly have a 1 on 1 opportunity but ended up being confused and tackled the keeper expertly without scoring. Alex and Jason were starting to have an impact and Monash still looked dominant. RMIT were playing the ball to their better players and were now making fewer mistakes. They were also now starting to create some chances of their own and making the game more even. An opportunistic low cross found its way through several players to end up with the RMIT striker tapping in for a 1-1 equaliser just before the main break.
A few minor changes and rotations were made at half time with the message of get back to what we were doing well and we can take the lead again. Pana was to return back on but was seen giving a ‘handshake’ to the ref about the benefits of Greek players becoming refs and he wanted to become just like the ref. I did not question this at the time and thought nothing of it.
The 2nd half was unfortunately predictably poor by the Stallions first half high standards. This was putting the committee selection of MJ as coach - who follows the 'Superstars only train once a week' philosophy - under scrutiny. It also had Jin worried who is yet to find the goal this season.
RMIT for most of the 2nd half looked like the only team likely to score and score they did. A well taken shot had Chendi thinking who he has to bribe to get a clean sheet this season. Monash did start to pick up after this point with Alex also going close to scoring only to curse the pitch in a shot over the top. A few more chances were created with Glen again finding myself in a well taken cross only for myself to have the shot on target but not trouble the keeper.
Monash continued to press forward and were rewarded with another corner. A well taken corner found Kenny only for the ref to have judged an infringement. Penalty! A lucky break and it was time for the captain to step up. A big pressure moment that required a leader to deliver. This was not easy for most players as the toll of playing midfield, 86th minute, and score or lose were the pressures of the moment. Pana coolly slotted the equaliser to go 2-2 with minutes remaining. It was now Monash looking more likely. Another chance was created with Jin just outside the box shooting. Arnie was waiting to run on the pitch to celebrate but the shot went over the bar in the last shot of the game.
Once again Monash were to be left ruing what could have or should have been a victory, with respect to RMIT putting up a much better contest than the previous encounter.
A hard week at training anticipated with Paul due to coach his first game for Monash as ‘head coach’.
Pana was seen at crown casino post game shouting ouzos and souvlaki to a bearded man with no teeth who was responding to "Uncle" calls by Pana. FIFA are looking into this.