2002 Round 2 - Reserves vs Dandenong

Author: John Jhoomun

Mark Bosnich contemptuously referred to the World Cup as his lover that comes every 4 years. I have a lover who comes every Saturday. 14 of them in fact. They are my teammates. For those of us who love the sky Blues, Monash Uni soccer club is the girl of our dreams. Or the one we leave to get down to the ground on time…………………..

Welcome to round 2 of Season 2002. The Monash reserves were eagerly looking to the first Home game of the season and the opportunity to put last weeks disappointing second half behind us. Coach De La Torre, on the brink of 34 and looking to win his bonus from sports and Rec, had extricated from his clipboard the following names and positions.

In goal was the Spiderman Brusch, the most acrobatic and affable goalkeeper I have ever had the pleasure to meet. The back four was Peter Pana at right back, who was in stitches after hearing a certain answering machine message. The treasurer is a serious man, with the club finances being in the position they are, so it is good to see him laugh. At Centre back was Cedric, via Port Louis and Mahebourg and the Mauritian All-Stars to Monash. In a complicated transfer deal which involved Gregory Loquanieux , Billy Kosta and Michael Jhoomun the ‘ball of muscle’ made his first league start for 2002. In a bid to allow Cedric to feel at home, the fatherly figure of Yogi, the man with the greatest Smile of all time partnered Cedric. On the left was the man who never smiles on field, Johnny Jhoomun. Despondent at playing his last game as a 29 year old before turning 30 the next day, the Irish/Mauritian/Australian was confused especially now that Cedric was playing. When Cedric revealed that he too took a handkerchief onto the field with him, a Johnny superstition of years, the self described ‘hard nut’ realised that he may be more Mauritian than he gives himself credit…….

In the middle was the elegant Tuan , who has recovered from his training debacles and inebriation. Tuan always cuts a majestic figure when sober. Partnering him was the feisty and talented Billy Giannis. The left footed maestro would be a welcome addition to the side. On the right was Dreamteamer Matt Mumme with a licence to attack. On the left was Mickey Thoman looking to add to his goal tally. Upfront was the Greek playboy and Canteen ‘ Volunteer’ Peter Kandyliotis. Partnering him was the ‘skipper’ Simon Serebryanikov. In an exclusive pre-game interview which simon gives me every week , the ‘ Belligerent Belarussian’ revealed that he was breaking in a new pair of boots and was looking to christen them with a goal. Simon is not a superstitious type because after scoring 2 and missing 3or 4 more last week, you would think he would go with his trusty toetappers. Loyalty is just not a concept that engineers understand. On the bench was the youngish Pete Hodkinson and the newest Resident of East St Kilda, swinging Stefan Tsardakas. Also on the bench was the ‘ El Presidente’ Timmy Smurthwaite.

Todays opponents were the Scots of Dandenong city. Things started promisingly when Simon passed a ball across the box for Peter kandy to slot home. Goal !!!! and it was only the second or third minute. Monash were in control early and should have scored with serebyanikov volleying over from six yards and Matt and Mickey dominant on their respective flanks. Billy and Tuan were distributing the ball well but the final ball or shot was lacking from Monash as chance after chance was blown with Jhoomun having a shot tipped over and Thoman narrowly missing from another. However as the half wore on, Monash became lazy and lethargic and dandenong had a number of successive corners near the end and could have scored. In the middle of this, Matt injured his ankle and his replacement, Pete Hodkinson sustained a knock that limited his effectiveness. Just before the whistle blew for the half,a brawl errupted on the edge of the Monash penalty box with Dandenong bearing down on goal. That they didn’t score was a miracle with about six Monash players involved in a shoving match which carried on after ray Messner blew the whistle for the half. As The team trudged into the half time break, Coach De La Torre gave a Monash Speech which was rattled all those who heard it. It was fiery, passionate but correct as monash had allowed themselves to be dictated to. Changes were made with Timmy coming onto the left of the midfield and stefan replacing pete at the back.

The change in attitude after the ‘ you are all playing for your positions speech’ was evident and Mickey T slotted home a great goal with a nonchalant flick to make it 2-0 early on. Johnny was starting to fire up after an ordinary first half and Timmy was creating opportunities via the left flank. Tuan was dominant and simon was starting to wreak havoc down the right. When johnny won the ball in the middle , he passed to Tuan and rolls did the rest playing a simple ball for Johnny to run onto. Timmy had taken a man out wide and johnny was inside the box again. Turning his opponent inside out , the emotional man was fouled and the penalty was given. Taking the penalty himself after some ‘ verbal encouragement’ from the crowd the ball was passed into the net to make it 3-0. Not a smile was seen though as he ran back to position.

Tuan beat the offside trap and ‘ Rolls’ did just that dribbling from the halfway line to roll the ball into the net. 4-0. Mickey thoman scored with a header to make it 5-0 and then Cedric scored with his left foot from the top of the box to make it 6-0. Simon missed a one on one and Johnny , Peter , Stefan and Timmy all had chances of varying difficulty as Dandenong crumbled under the onslaught. The whistle blew and it was 6-0, a clean sheet with richard making some fine saves late on to keep the sheet clean. Why didn’t we play like this in the first half. It was passion, fiery and skilful but it was only 45 minutes worth. Someone once told that soccer was for 90 minutes. We are only halfway there.