Venue: Monash University
Score: 3 - 2
Goals: Roberts 2, J. Jhoomun
Match report by Jonathan Jhoomun
Following a resounding thrice-come-from-behind victory the week before, the Monash Stallions pitted their wares against Old Camberwell Grammar. Eager to make it two wins in a row, co-coaches Panagiotopoulos and Jhoomun (Snr) had sent each other a flurry of emails as per usual in the days leading up to the clash. Perhaps dazed by the incessant email or suffering from a computer virus, it wasn’t until 9:10 AM on Sunday that both coaches realised that Grant Davies was not playing. Panagiotopoulos had even forgotten to remind Jhoomun (snr) that he needed to fill in the team sheet but JJ, unencumbered by the demands of work now that he was on holidays had filled in the team sheet days before, excited about the prospects of playing with Davies, who, as a prodigious Haileybury 17-year-old, had played thirds in 1998 before progressing to senior striker two years later and who was on JJ’s definite ‘can play’ list.
With the minor hiccup of no Grant Davies, JJ filled up his ice table with beer for the men and soft drinks for the under 25s en route to Monash, thinking what formation could be best adopted to maximise winning opportunities. After discussions with coach Panagiotopoulos, it was decided that the following team would start the game, with Monash keen to continue on last week’s victory with another against Old Camberwell, the team that had stuffed a weakened Monash side 4-nil in the opening fixture of 2011.
In goal was Reza who was excited enough by the arrival of Grant Davies to email me mid-week to enquire ‘who was Grant Davies’ to be told by JJ that Grant could ‘play’. The back four was another ex-Haileybury student and about half Grant’s size in Richie Huysmans who was on a short term contract loan from the Thirds of a week’s duration. In continuing the Theme, Richie could only play a half as he is only half the height of Grant Davies who is on track for a record number of mentions for a match report without playing. Centre-backs were Benny Rowlands and George, the team’s defensive lynchpins. Benny was shocked to hear that Tigers Airways had collapsed the day before with people wanting refunds for flights, saying he saw the Tigers collapse at the MCG the day before and he saw no hope of Refunds, aside from Martin and Deledio. At left back was the man who had not heard of Chairman Mao, Jason Weren. Midfield was our most consistent player in Richard Bain with Michael Pogrebnoy, our most consistent 2.0 web man. On the right was Christian Almeida who forgot to bring his shorts while on the Left was the man who brought his shorts, Christian’s shorts and the beer, Johnny Jhoomun, eager to play. So much so that he didn’t sleep much the night prior commenting to Both Richie and Pog that he was over-aroused, causing Richie to ask if Nadia was ok. In the attacking midfield role , replacing the typically absent Grant Davies was Andy Roberts. Upfront was Kaibil Velazquez who brought his own entourage with him. On the bench was Peter Panagiotopoulos and Mike Jhoomun. Mike was heard discussing his new business venture with Huysmans of which the main point of enquiry was IT and whether Monash could fill a team with IT geeks. When told probably not by Mike, Richie’s face saddened but piped up when Mike said ‘ I recruit IT geeks’...Sweet !
Following JJ’s instructions to play into the wind, Monash got the result they wanted and kicked into the stiff gale blowing across the Number 2 pitch where the Stallions were undefeated all season. Huysmans was happy as he could face the newly constructed Halls and remind himself of his Presidential legacies and get ideas for upcoming renovations at Catesby Close. Old Camberwell (in name only) started sprightly with a fresh faced bunch of youngsters all under 22, playing well and over-hitting passes with the wind at their back. Monash struggled to get the ball and retain possession but while coach Pana was barking instructions, the left side could not hear him in the howling wind amid Huysmans exhortations to tuck in. Thinking Food, JJ and Jason were distracted. Christian cleaned up one of their players and almost apologised. Benny got cleaned up by the lanky no.33 because he had issues with his Dad or something. Who knows......Old (?) Camberwell got their reward when a player was allowed to turn in the box and rifled the ball into the net to make it one nil.
We were not playing particularly well but I wasn’t too worried. It was windy, it was scrappy and they weren’t much so I figured if we could pinch a goal or keep it to 1 at the half we would be right. Reza made some saves and we had a couple of small breaks that almost promised rewards, but like the absent Grant Davies , we needed to be better organised if we wanted success. Near the end of the half, Jason got his nuts kicked and after checking that he still had two, he continued. Right near the end, a defensive mistake allowed Camberwell Grammar to score a soft goal which caused them to celebrate. Typically the writer said loudly for the ref and the opposition to hear “ don’t worry we will overrun them in the second half....... ‘. The ref looked at me but I really did believe it and as the half ended , we went in to the sheds 2 down to have coach Panagiotopoulos read the riot act to some senior players. A few changes were made and with the writer’s supreme confidence in his own ego, he turned to the nearest defender and said ‘good luck you will be chasing me this half’...
Monash started brightly with Panayiotopoulos dropping into defensive misfield and Pog going to left back. Jason went to right back. Huysmans went to work on some tenders. A couple of half chances ensued with Pana doing some excellent dead ball stuff. Roberts became more lively whipping in shots from short corners. Richard Bain started pressing forward and linking more. Christian started to grow in confidence. George just missed a header from a corner. Andy then created some space and left fly with his LEFT foot to score a goal. Yes, his LEFT foot thrashed a rocket which gave Monash half a chance. It shows that goals can be scored by left footers or even by right footers using their left foot.
1-2 and game on. MJ came on to replace Kaibil so he could have material update his Facebook status with possible assists. To Andy. In his dreams. 25 minutes to go for Monash to turn it around. A couple of half chances for Camberwell ensued, one was cleared off the line by George, and Reza made some more saves. From one save, Reza launched a long diagonal ball to the corner flag . Anticipating the ball would bounce high, JJ sprinted past a young defender aiming to chase the ball down. Fuelled by something other than his own ego, the 39 year old beat another defender to the ball in what was a sheer contest to the ball. JJ won, shielding the ball with his back to goal from the young defender. The young defender dived into JJ who sensing the dive, turned the ball past him, ran into the box and before the defender could recover, hit an early shot that raced into the bottom corner to make it 2-2 and game on with 12 minutes left.
Old Camberwell were deflated but still created chances and had a shot that could have easily landed in the bottom corner but just missed. Ben Rowlands won a ball and like Dustin Martin a few weeks ago, stamped his mark on the game by hitting a ball to Andy Roberts via MJ’s head, apparently. Andy won the ball twisted and turned and because he had used his left foot earlier the Camberwell defenders, dived in, allowing Andy to shift the ball to his preferred right and shoot the ball past a despairing keeper. An absolute cracker. Andy appeared to control the ball for hours, going one way before shooting the winner. 3-2 . 2 minutes left and in an attempt to win the game, Old Camberwell made some subs which were designed to slow the game. It worked and they ran out of time. Monash won 3-2.
Three good goals in a good 2nd half display. Driven by the relentless passing of Pana and the tireless defensive work of Bain, Rowlands and George, the Stallions had a great second half to make it 2 in a row. Tops off Ziggy ensued with George leading the chant while Andy and MJ updated and compared the winning third goal.
Everyone popped up some stage with Andy using his pace, strength and skill to hit two great goals. But while plaudits often go to the scorers when the team wins, I think our defence and central midfield played well, allowing others to play very attacking games, confident that our defence would do the job. Enjoy the week off and say hi to Grant Davies if you see him.