2001 Round 4 - Reserves vs Heatherton

Author: John Jhoomun

Welcome Lovers of Monash Uni Soccer Club

" The hardest part of a youngs man's life is the sheer dilemma of choice "

Another week in the life of a Monash Uni Soccer player is always an exciting one. In an attempt to lift the professionalism at this esteemed club after Johnny was spotted by Simon wearing two odd socks to training trying to emulate the efforts of the bohemian president Smurthwaite , a session of gym work was done on Tuesday. A bemused bunch of soccer players ( us) turned up at the conditioning rooms on Tuesday hoping to get some extra benefit. When Ray mentioned to bring a towel the boys with the stylish coiffure, Greg Costaras and Sergio thought that the extra benefit would be some free hair conditioning but alas it wasnt to be. Watching a group of twenty something males trying to show rhythm without a drink in hand is something I will personally never forget. Tommy Rice when told of the midweek ' gym session' had this to say " I never met Jim but its good to hear the boys are bonding down the pub' ..... I couldnt have put it better myself.

Pre-game rituals are an important facet in a sportspersons life. Everyone has a habit that they do, some more than others. This is not just a male phenomenon with one netballer i know liking to eat fried rice before a game. In Tommys day the pre-match ritual would consist of waking up, having a Guinness, and completing a strenous 5 minute stretch while listening to a Shane Macgowan Number. These men were athletes and treated their bodies with respect. In 2001 the tradition continues at Monash with its eclectic bunch of superstitious young men, all looking to get that extra 10% that would give them the edge.

A university club will always despite the efforts of Tim Smurthwaite, have players who treat soccer as a secondary pursuit , a weekend interuption dare I say. Stefan Tsardakas is one such individual who makes more passes on a Friday night than he could ever do on a Saturday. And he runs more on a Friday night too...............Stefans pre game ritual is to bribe the coach during the week and then hit the clubs with Peter Panagiopoulous , driving round Chapel Street in his Honda Legend waving a ' grey chequebook' . How did you finance that car ????

Other players are more resolute and more superstitious. With a strict regime of 1 beer and lots of broccolli the night before and not shaving on match day , Johnny Jhoomun is the most superstitious player to don the famous blue of Monash. After getting recalled to the twos with Tim Smurthwaite for the game against Brandon Park away in 1999 Johnny scored two and Timmy 1 in a 3-1 win. On that day a pair of pants and a Celtic top were worn for the first time. Those pants are still worn religiously every Saturday . Before a game the pre game brekkie is baked beans and muffins . On the morning of the 2001 season, ' Dirty Old Town' could be heard from a flat in Mordialloc .After scoring in the opening game, the Pogues classic is a another ritual much like bagging Simon Serebryanikovs pre-game ritual is to make sure that his left boot is more scuffed than his right. Simon pulls out a stiff brillo pad and scrubs his size 3 boots on a friday night. His theory being that opposition defenders will think he actually uses his left foot and thus they will think he is two footed , thus giving the little general an advantage. Others are more relaxed. Luke davies and his impressive Saturday sweater collection come to mind, while getting laid at night is one of Cedrics daily rituals that he continues with aplomb in the halls of Monash university.late on Friday night. Now that Cedric has won a first team spot I hope he remembers how he got there. Through sheer hard work on Friday nights.......

The Monash reserves have an interesting pre-game ritual that they use for away fixtures. To be totally behind the eight ball. At Beaumaris we had no strip and played in an unfamiliar Notts County strip while yesterday we went to the wrong ground. What is going on ??? Fingers were pointed at Ray Messner but this columnist will reserve his opinion. After last weeks nil all draw at home, Monash eventually travelled to Noble Park for the game against Heatherton. The side was : De la Torre in goal ( Michael Jhoomun has a strict contract where he doesn't play away from Monash) , Luke at right back, David Moody impressive at times in his debut last week at left back , and another debutant Al McCowan at centre back with peter Pana. Al has his own pre-training ritual, arriving at training one night with more alcohol in his blood than Georgie Best and for his debut he arrived at the ground muttering something about getting home 1 hour before. Such decadence. In midfield was the ' Poster Boy' Grant Davies and the epitomy of professionalism, David Downes who is such a professional that once a game is finished immediatedly leaves so he can prepare fot the following weeks game. Such committment. On the right was Matt Mumme whose pre-game habits were discussed last week. Coming from Old Scotch with Al, Matt's ritual is to watch replays of ' Boring, Boring Tottenham' so he can get a good night sleep. Johnny was on the left and Timmy and Simon were upfront. On the bench were Stefan with a BAC of .09 , Chris Peters and another debutant, Lim. After an extensive warm-up consisting of 12 sprints and 8 prayers, the Monash reserves were ready for battle before a large crowd. With Several of the crowd ready to heckle Johnny as he teaches them, battle lines were drawn.

You have to worry about a 'ref' who wears a 3 stooges t-shirt while doing the thankless task of refeeriing . The dimunitive little chap, cross eyed and with the fitness of Stefan was definitely an impact player for Heatheron. Like ' Colonel Klink' in Hogans Heroes this ref saw " nothing' and saw it continually. Heatherton were physical but after an impressive 10 minute spell they went on the back foot for the next 35 minutes. They defended reasonably well but Monash just couldnt break them down with the only real shots of note coming from outside the box with Luke Davies just missing from 30 yards. Monash put in a few crosses with Johnny running behind Pana, crossing flanks to put in a half decent cross that the keeper fisted away. Tim was a taget man upfront but was getting more fouled continually but like a single man on Valentines was getting nothing in return. Al after a somewhat shaky beginning but was winning the ball well at centre back in his debut and David D was on fire. Monash went to the break at nil nil, confident of overrunning the opposition. Perhaps it was the heavy pitch or the fact that Monash were uphill had an impact but Monash were under the pump for 15-20 minutes in the second half with Heatherton piling on the pressure. Grant,Matt and Johnny were subbed to allow Lim to make his debut and Chris and Stefan to come on. Heatherton finally got the goal that its pressure deserved with a bicycle kick that ignited wild celebrations on the pitch. What were Monash made of Stefan hit the post with a chip and Smurthwaite was manhandled outside and inside the box but the Colonel didnt see it causing Tim to launch profanities that would shame his children if they were there. This was the the first time this season Monash had gone behind and so it was an uphill battle. De La torre was impressive, diving around like a Greg Lougannis in goal. Perhaps he thought he was but it was a magnificient performance diving full length and looking composed under the high ball. When first McCowan and then Serebryanikov bundled the ball in net Monash thought they had scored but both were ruled out for fouls. Simon's was the more impressive, claiming to all and sundry he didn't use his hand then after confessing he had. Who would have thought such a little person could lie so much. What a captain !

However Simon and the battered Smurthwaite played pivotal roles in creating time and space to allow David Downes to shoot a great goal from 25 yards causing much celebrations. It was all Monash deserved to be fair and perhaps could snatch a late dramatic winner but it was not to be. Monash probably did not create enough chances to win and this is something that with a decent referee, De La Torre's boys can bounce back with a win at home against Braeside next week. And so it finished 1-1, all square allowing a certain young teacher a certain amount of dignity amongst soccer fans at Carwatha College. At the games end, a weary team had earned a point in hostile conditions. A good result but we need more goals.....