Opening day shocker for the Parkers:
Mazenod 4 – 0 Middle Park
Following a promising cup run, the Parkers opened up their league campaign in poor fashion by losing at Mazenod.
New coach for 2016, Dave Helen, made his mark in pre-season by demanding improved fitness, attitude and attendance. Dave missed the first game to attend a wedding.
The squad is very different from the 2015 relegation survivors; strong centre half Nani has returned to his native Newry, dynamic international Nathan is unavailable due to wedding commitments, extravagant French duo Vic and Luka have both said au revoir, and combative “wee” Stevie has returned to Scotland. Gilles and Saul aren’t playing either.
New players for this term include left-back Sam, baby faced striker Blane and big Kev. No, not that one. This one is a big unit with red hair, tattoos and he likes wearing vests. That doesn’t help either does it? This one is Scottish, and is a centre half.
Fresh from a birthday celebration in Vegas, Matt Cosentino took the armband and lined up in centre midfield.
First half. Mazenod dominated possession, moved the ball very well and created space telepathically. A well drilled side. The Parkers soaked up a lot of the game without too much alarm, and at times, threatened on the counter-attack, with Blane having a couple of chances.
The game turned on a strange incident – the linesman flagged for offside as the ball ran away for a goal-kick. Marshall passed the ball back in-field for the free kick, when the striker nipped in, grabbed the ball, and knocked it into an empty net. A bizzare goal, and bemusement from all watching.
Mazenod grabbed a second before half time, despite the away side seeing a bit more of the ball.
Second half. The Parkers looked a better side when Danny Penfold dropped deeper, and controlled the play out of defence. Chances were short in supply, however, and tired legs in the last fifteen led to a further two goals being conceded.
FT 0-4, and few positives.
I blame the bobbly pitch.
Theme tune for the weekend – Things can only get better, D:ream
From bad to worse in round 2:
Brighton 7 – 0 Middle Park
Yes, you read correctly. Seven. Nil.
An awful day for the seniors, and spectators alike.
First half. 0-2.
Second half, +5.
FT 0-7, and many, many negatives.
Theme tune for the weekend – anything by Radiohead
Chat s**t get Blaned:
Melbourne Uni 1 – 4 Middle Park
The Parkers bounced back from a horrific start to the season to record an impressive win away at Melbourne Uni.
Young forward Blane netted a hat-trick (with many more to come on this evidence), with strike partner Damo scoring too.
For what seemed like a cross-roads in the season, the energy and expectation prior to kick off was high.
After watching highlights of any game before the year 2000, Dave Helen reverted to a retro 4-4-2 formation. Cries of anguish and despair could be heard all the way from Holland, and Canberra.
Matty slotted into the back four, with Sam moving to the left wing. Danny missed out with gout, centre-midfield was Eric Scales (after a few ales) and Mike, which I did quite like. New signing Kenji started on the right, with the big-man, little-child duo of Damo and Blane up front.
First half. The Parkers started with a good tempo – using the width well, and providing Kenji with a chance to run at the full back. The back four seemed settled – with Matty and big Kev leading strongly in the middle.
The first goal came from a long ball from the middle, with Blane beating his man for pace and lifting the ball over the on-rushing keeper. Ecstasy in the stands.
The lead didn’t last long however as the Parkers failed to deal with a corner. Somehow a slow, looping ball missed Brenton’s head and struck his outstretched arm (think “here’s my teapot, here’s my spout” body shape). A strange one, but a certain pen. Marshall stood no chance with the penalty, 1-1 after about 20.
The Parkers weren’t dispirited, which was fantastic to see. They responded by raising the intensity and attacking with more confidence. The second came from a wonderful cross-field ball by Sam, who picked out Blane to beat the keeper once more.
A third was to come before half time too – excellent build up play down the left, a brilliant ball across the face of the goal by Sam, where Damo was on hand to stretch out and finish excellently in at the far post. 1-3 HT. Sam was in Dorigo-esque form.
Second half. Following a relatively sedate start, the Parkers wrapped the game up around 55 minutes. Blane received the ball on the right side of the area, just outside the box. Rather than square the ball to his on-rushing partners, he chose to do what any self-respecting striker should do, and smash it in off the far post.
The game was won, punters had cashed out and the remainder of the half was played out with less interest. The Parkers controlled the game well, though rarely threatened. New signing Gibbo made his debut with an impressive 30 minute cameo, Marshall stayed alert to pull off a decent save and the BFG came on for cramped Kev.
FT, 1-4. The crowd cheered them off in nodding approval, as the ecstasy had clearly worn off.
The season may have finally started.
Theme tune for the weekend – I Swear, All 4 One.