Almanac Soccer: Comeback

by Angelo Amato


Could it be any worse? Veins popping out of his head and tsunamis of spit bursting out of my coach’s mouth. He was giving our Bulleen team a spray after a disastrous first half. All we had learnt that year had been flushed out of our minds and was showing on the pitch. Jim, our coach, told us that he did not care about the result but cared more if we went back onto the pitch and woke up. We had come into the game as favourites boasting talent and discipline. But as the game started we had been blown away by the attacking pressure and defensive work rate shown by the South Melbourne boys in Blue.

We were down 3-0 going into the second half after defensive blunders which allowed South Melbourne to capitalize. South Melbourne’s captain raced down the line with the ball being pushed just ahead of him to allow control and pace at the same time with a lethal left boot he placed a pinpoint Pirlo pass straight to the star striker’s chest which he controlled. Our defence had left the whole box open and the striker was able to tuck it away cleanly into the bottom left corner: 1-0! As soon as the game restarted, South Melbourne won possession again, winning the ball off even our best players, they were piling on the pressure and found a gap in our defence which they were able to exploit and put a powerful shot past the keeper. Again and again they were winning the ball and we couldn’t do anything about it. They got a penalty from a terrible tackle and converted.

This horrible half had taught us their strengths and their weaknesses but we knew that none of that would matter unless we got our heads in the game. We walked out of the change rooms with determination written all over our faces. The second half commenced and we were not letting South Melbourne rest. We started dominating and were giving the parents a show playing beautiful passes or making magical runs which were splitting the defence of the opposition. Suddenly, Dennis with a powerful boot, placed a pass through, cutting their defence in half, and meeting my run. The ball was set up for a powerful shot with a nice touch. Boom! The ball hit the back of the net and we were back in it. We were holding the ball and they just could not win it. Momentum had swung our way. I ran down the line, past players, cutting in, onto my mercurial boot and placing the ball in the top right corner where the keeper couldn’t reach it: 3-2!

We were starting to believe and we didn’t give up. Alex, a tall boy with a nice amount of strength, received the ball. He powered through their defence like Zlatan Ibrahimovi?. His red T90’s were moving so fast you couldn’t even see the tick as he sprinted away from the defenders. He played a beautiful cutback to Dennis who was the tallest and slowest but had a lot of power. Dennis on his first touch powered it straight at the keeper but it was too strong for the keeper to save with his strong hands which couldn’t even keep out Dennis’s monstrosity of a shot. The game was all tied up and we had the upper edge until the last five minutes. The parents were on their feet and even the South Melbourne parents were amazed by the soccer we produced in the second half. But tragedy struck an own goal we conceded and lost the game 4-3.

The fairytale was over and crushed and the excitement was lost as all our motivation and determination was gone. We knew their weaknesses but couldn’t capitalize. A few weeks later we played them again and were able to beat them 4-0.

Read other stories from our Whitefriars’ College scribes.


  1. I keep thinking about the ‘tsunami of spit’! Gross but so vivid. I felt like I was there and on the receiving end of… you guessed it. Super to see your name up in lights, Angelo. Sharing your work with others shows the faith you have in yourself as a writer with something to say. I am looking forward to reading more of your work!

  2. “Tsunami of spit” sure is a striking and gut-turning description, Angelo.
    Well played.

  3. Gee Angelo I thought I was reading a story of a great victory!

    Nice story telling. Is there a worse way to lose in soccer than from an own goal?

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