Almanac Soccer: South Raring To Go In Their Curtain Raiser Derby

Dandenong Thunder’s Grandstand – Photo by Luke Radziminski



I have finally returned to doing football photography on the Saturday that had just passed featuring an away game at Dandenong Thunder for South, who have previously been scoring goals for fun in their previous set of friendly games as the NPL season looms closer.


Marcus Schroen had definitely been finding his form again after a disruptive long-term injury, consecutively scoring free kicks in every game he was featured in and remaining an absolute menace on the wing with a bit of grunt and ferocity against any player that dares to man mark or get physical with him.


What was also intriguing is the acquisition of a new signing in the attacking department. Queensland’s Lions FC forward Max Mikkola had signed with South for this season, making 31 appearances and scoring 23 for the Lions earning the accolades of being part of Queensland’s Team of The Year and one of the most feared attacking players in that state. So of course, while South were up against Dandenong Thunder, he managed to score a brace.


The Dandenong Thunder game must also be recognised for their food on offer. I may have disgraced myself for not taking a photo but I did fancy myself a chicken roll, which was nicely marinated and cooked, the proportionately diced soft pieces mixed with cabbage and BBQ sauce would have made the cevapi run for its money and put Subway’s teriyaki chicken to shame.


I myself felt rusty and slightly disoriented of preparing myself for the job since football was absent for roughly 6 months. Quickly out come the players for the walkout and the photos turned out to be over exposed. Whilst adjusting the settings, 20 seconds had gone by from kick off and South had scored.




Missed opportunity.


The rest of the first half was somewhat uneventful, I decided to try and move to the midfield to get more action shots up closer as I did not bring my 500mm lens since it was an evening fixture and heading into the night.


Marcus Schroen bangs in a free kick on the opposite end.




Missed another photo opportunity again.


The second half, South have turned up the pressure on the attack so I decided to sit by the goal line and up close to the action. Maybe too close. Had second thoughts and maybe better off moving the stool a few metres further away. I waited for Dandenong to press for an attack to the other side so it buys me time.


My back was turned when South quickly pressed for a counter attack and scored.




I missed the third goal.


A number of expletives shared and the urge to throw my stool over the fence was unreal.


Fourth time lucky and I at least captured something, but it was mundane for my taste.


Overall South dominated their league opponent in the friendly. They threw in the towel after the third goal and exchanged the whole squad with their reserves in the last twenty minutes for a kick about.


South have displayed a strong and united team and soon after they announced the former Kiwi international and Melbourne Victory player, Jai Ingham, to their defensive department. A serious pull that was completely unexpected but a showing that the club want to redeem themselves from a mediocre performance from the last two season and challenge for the league title.


This would leave the question of what’s to come this Thursday. Heidelberg have gone through their golden generation period recently, being crowned minor premiers for three consecutive years from 2017 to 2019, as well as being crowned state champions in 2018 and the national champions in 2017.


The disruptive and premature season closures recently would raise questions of how clubs had managed to retain players and keep a positive momentum going and how have Heidelberg managed to compromise with their ageing championship material players.


Things could turn out to be different, will South come back to their best? They had thumped Heidelberg 6-0 in the 2016 curtain raiser and snagged a 1-0 snatch and grab once again last year in round one. History tends to rhyme where South get the better of Heidelberg in the early rounds of the season and a more different result reflects on the return game later down the track.



South’s Captain Brad Norton in action – Photo By Luke Radziminski




The 6-0 drubbing in 2016 may remind long time followers of a time back in the 1991/1992 season of similar nature. In celebration of the derby, and a token in celebration of Ange Postecoglou’s achievements with Celtic recently, we can travel back to this time where Ange, who captained this start studded team that was coached by none other than Ferenc Puskas, belted Heidelberg 5-0 at the old Bob Jane Stadium.


In retrospective, Heidelberg were down to 10 men early from a goal-line handball that obviously prevented a goal.


In the 6-minute highlight video, would capture some crazy goal mouth scrambled and multiple goal line clearances. A damn shame to witness a Puskas-nominee goal that never was, which consisted of Taliadoros lobbing the ball into the box with an overhead kick and Boutsianis performing a bicycle kick on the volley only to be saved by an outstretched hand.


Video Highlights of the game composed by Paul Mavroudis:





Match Day Programme of this fixture preserved and scanned by the great Mark Boric
Source link HERE






Luke’s Photography album of the friendly game can be found HERE



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