We welcomed Williamstown to Stead park for our round 17 encounter. After our good win against Melbourne Uni ,the boys were looking to back that up with a home win against our relegation rivals. The conditions were heavy and it was not conducive to entertaining soccer. Within 5 minutes we were forced to make a substitution, Paulie, our most reliable defender was involved in a bad tackle which we later found out to be a lot worse than first thought. The outcome being surgery for Paulie, a broken ankle and out for the season.
Young Alberto replace Paulie , on the right side of midfield ,Suga moved to central midfield and the ever versatile Sheldon Jones moved to the back. Our shape was kept intact and the first half was a slog to say the least, both teams creating half chances ,but overall I was glad to get the boys in at half time, still in the game.
Within 2 minutes of the restart we went a goal up, Alberto taking a pot shot from the edge of the box only to see the Williamstown keeper let it slip through his hands into the net ,a bit of luck ,but we’ll take it. Soon after, Matty exploited the slow Williamstown defense with his explosive pace and went through with a one on one with the keeper, only to be brought down in the box which resulted in a penalty and a red card to their keeper. Our ever reliable skipper, Steve Niko stepped up and duly oblidged. 2 nil up and cruising against 10 men, I honestly thought that it was going to be a good afternoon at the office and expected them to fold under the pressure.
It is often said that 2 nil is a dangerous score and that statement was oh so true.
With 15 minutes to go, their striker received the ball on the halfway line, turned his defender inside out and went past Ivica as if he wasn’t there, one on one with Romeo and cooly slotted ,bringing them back ino the match. As is the case, when 10 men get a sniff of the match, they all lift and make it hard to win back the momentum that had been lost.
We survived the onslaught that followed and for the first time this year had back to back wins albeit an expensive one with the loss of key defender Paulie. This week takes us to league leaders Sydenham, where our depth will once again be tested with the absence of Paulie and Aco, who is out with 5 yellows.