Almanac Soccer – Melbourne City v Sydney FC: So, I finally attended an A-League Grand Final… and left with a migraine



I have a migraine.


This migraine could be down to the immense screaming when City scored their three goals over the course of the ninety minutes, including towards the referee who pointed to the spot as a player was tripped in the box.


I sat smack bang in the middle of City Terrace in Bay 17 with a Nikon FM2 film camera as I usually do, to document and create photo library for the boys and girls within the small family that we are in the stands.


I conceded weeks earlier that City would not win the Grand Final due to the fact that three of our starting eleven were away on Socceroos duty, Nabbout is still recovering from a significant injury and Craig Noone has not been included in the team sheets after his announcement to play for Macarthur Bulls next season.


I only ever witnessed one form of success with this club prior to this season and it was the FFA Cup final where City came out 1-0 winners against Sydney FC with a trademark Tim Cahill header. It felt so surreal that on the 23rd of May, Melbourne City mathematically secured the premiers plate after a 1-0 win against the Mariners during the regular season (Round 22 to be exact).


That game in particular felt as if weight has been lifted off the fans shoulders and they wouldn’t have to bear the outsider’s perception of a failed and disappointing club. Of course, the Mariners were awarded a penalty in the 89th minute and people conceded that it was just typical bad luck of the club that we will miss out on witnessing them lift the premier’s plate on home soil.


It suddenly went to the VAR for review and it was the most agonising minute to ever experience at AAMI Park. The supposed foul looked too soft for it to be a penalty, but it suspiciously could be upheld as it occasionally is given over the slightest contact or shove from past experience. The referee ran back to the field and ruled it to not be a penalty and the whole stadium celebrated like it was another goal. The end result we have seen grown men in the terrace cry and some stripped off their shirts whilst high on euphoria.


You could spin it to be a poetic moment as Melbourne Heart played their first ever fixture against the Mariners at AAMI Park in a 1-0 loss, and they have finally triumphed on winning the league for the first time in history against the same opponent with the same scoreline.



Credit: Wiseman Sports




Credit: Wiseman Sports



The Grand Final itself would bear witness to grown men experiencing a mid-life crisis from Sydney fantasizing the conspiracy theory that the referee wanted City to win the final. I guess it is the cultural cringe we read from numpties from the AFL circles on social media where they love to blame umpires for their defeat and it overlaps into the football sphere. Of course, it is almost as if they choose to live in denial or believe in their own lies or jokes. It is ridiculous to pretend there is a conspiracy of a rigged result orchestrated by the referee but I guess they just live through ‘Kayfabe’ – a wrestling term.


Sydney’s coach Steve Corica refused to take it on the chin and accept the result for what it was due to their own failures but decided to go out kicking and screaming that the referee ruined the game. Poor sportsmanship and no class. Doesn’t help by living up to their stereotypes that the rest of the football communities think of them.


You would have Kosta Barbarouses score an absolute belter of the goal to take Sydney the lead only for Olympian-to-be, Atkinson to equalise within minutes by belting the roof of the net at the near post in front of City Terrace.


The game changer that lays reference to Sydney’s tears is the red card given to Luke Bratten in the first half, a double yellow in fact. Through the fault of his own with reckless fouls from his own ill-fated decision making.


City earned a penalty just before half-time whereby the captain, Scott Jamieson, not known for scoring goals or taking penalties, took up the responsibility while dragging his 20kg balls of steel to the penalty box in order to secure vindication against the critics and take pride for the club he plays for. The ball rifled in and sent the crowd into delirium. The natural born leader has reinforced belief within himself, in the squad and the in fans to grab the god forsaken toilet seat by both hands.


The second half it was just as expected to have Sydney play on the backfoot throughout the game with incredible goalkeeping and defence to keep the score 2-1. As we have been approaching full time and Sydney developing a rush of momentum and urge to throw themselves forward for an equalizer, Scott Galloway found some space on the wing to cut inside and score from outside the box to confirm that City have all but won the Final.


And there you are, City have won the double, and won each silverware for the first time in one season that all just seems like it was just a dream.















To see the full album that I have organised, click HERE


If you don’t have Facebook to access the album, the photo archives are found HERE


  1. Nice round-up. Thanks, Luke

  2. Great stuff Luke, the photos really help to paint the picture.

    I was also lucky enough to be there with a few mates, City being my quasi-side in the A-League (long story, but it involves South Melbourne) meant I was wrapt, but seeing the passion in the die-hards was extra sweet.

    My fave scene after the whistle were some of the boys wearing the DIY metallic painted toilet seat in their celebrations with the terrace. During the game that third goal was magic from my view point – you could see the shot was on mere moments before the other parts of the stadium.

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