Venue: H.A. Smith Reserve, Hawthorn
Score: 1 - 4
Match report by Paul Salmon
It was a day of startling revelations as the Stallions looked to end a disastrous run of 8 games without a win; the Asian mafia wouldn't be here on time, Jason hadn't washed the kit all season, and Brian, although selected, wasn't in the country.
Down to business then as Old Scotch stood between the Stallions and a much needed victory. With Paul suspended, Ken called away to a Labour mining tax crisis meeting, and MJ practicing his golden boot speech, it was a threadbare squad that travelled. Talk from the Stallions elders centered on Paul taking on a new identity in order to dig the Stallions out of a hole. This was quickly put paid to with the revelation that if this route was followed Konrad would put Paul in a hole…..
The starting line-up went as follows: in goal was the on-form Reza, right back was Mr dependable Pana, centre backs were Glen and Jack, and George at left back. The midfield saw Kon making a return on the right, JJ and 2IC Jin in the middle, and Jason left midfield. Up front, going with blistering pace, were Lou, back from injury and looking for goals, and golden boot wannabe Arnie. With a decent playing surface on offer and an air of confidence, Monash were keen to get down to business.
Buoyed by the late arrival of the Asian mafia, held up after an evening of high stakes money laundering at Crown, Monash were quickly out of the blocks. Kon, Pana and JJ were linking up nicely down the right hand side opening up opportunities to get ball into Old Scotch's box. JJ and Jin were seeing a lot of the ball and the defence were looking solid. Possession soon turned into chances…..after some neat link up play, Lou went agonizingly close to latching on to a cross from Arnie. Shortly after, Glen tested the keeper with a sweet 25 yarder off the outside of the boot. Monash were dominating proceedings, with Old Scotch not having a look in during the first 10 minutes. Things were looking good. Paul, multi-tasking as coach, ball boy, physio, linesman, kitman and crowd, was preparing his winning speech.
Foot off the gas, however, and Old Scotch slowly began to see more of the ball. After a few scares, a seemingly innocuous free kick from the right wing somehow floated over Reza and into the net. Inexplicably the Stallions were behind again and a comeback was needed once more. After a lackluster response; however, and two more sloppy goals, the Stallions found themselves 3 down after 30 minutes. Paul, last heard muttering 'MJ where are you?' took an urgent phone call. The committee, unimpressed with the state of play, offered the dreaded vote of confidence…………
Armory soon arrived in the form of Konrad and Dave (hastily borrowed from the Colts, thanks again Dave!). Paul and Konrad exchanged Stallions and Colts scorelines. Paul noticed a tinge of relief in Konrad, Konrad noticed a tinge of relief in Paul; both would live to fight another day in the website poll (although rumor has it a betting sting between the Mafia and Konrad may dictate the end result). Having to change something, Konrad and Dave were thrown on to give a bit of urgency and bite. After a much improved 10 minutes the Stallions deservedly got themselves back in the game with a neat volleyed finish from Jin. The mafia were alive and kicking and sensing blood….
The message at half time was that we were very much still in the game…..play our passing game, pressure the ball and give 100% and we could beat this rabble. Pana and JJ added wisdom to the talk, and it was game on. Monash again started the half as the better team, and with Kon and JJ introduced shortly after half time, were looking to quickly get back into the game. Monash dominated but once again lacked a cutting edge. Hopes were dashed on the 70 minute mark following an outrageously sweet volley from the edge of the box….Reza had no chance, the Stallions found themselves 4-1 down for the second week in succession.
The response this time was much improved…JJ was pushed upfront in a 4-3-3, and chances began to come Monash's way. Some fantastic interplay between Pana, JJ and Kon paved the way for a great chance for Lou. After tucking it away nicely Lou was dismayed to hear the referee blow for offside. Kon says Lou was on, JJ says probably off…..the only thing that is for sure is that the ref is next on the mafia's hit list.
The Stallions played out the half with more neat passing and possession play. After a much improved second half performance the boys can hold their heads up high. Undoubtedly in the votes for man of the match would have been the Asian mafia, JJ, Pana, Kon, Konrad and Jack. After the game Jason savored the foul stench of the worn kit for the first time. Paul begged for a turn out at training on Tuesday. With some key players to return it's onwards and upwards next week at home to Ashburton.