|C's||5 - 2 loss|
|S Safralidis||T Whitwell|
|K Bock||K Nguyen|
|J Wilson||L Chandiok|
The C's opened their season taking on last year's div 3 runners up Mercedes at home.
Lev had a pretty strong squad to chose from, but stalwarts such as Pfitzner and Reid were still out, whilst Aspin was gaining fitness in the D's and Fairuz' knee was still sore from the cup game. So this squad will only get better.
The play started well, with the Whites employing their short passing game to good effect. Jay was beating players down the left wing and created out first chance, with his shot flashing wide. In the centre of the park the pairing of Bocky and newly appointed captain Manny were looking solid and up front Long was winning everything with his strength.
In the defensive end Matt was called upon to make a couple of saves, whilst Mercedes game plan was simple. Bomb the ball in to their bevvy of six footers and see if they could win the headers.
Mercedes were able to get the breakthrough from a corner, as the ball was flicked over to the far post and they managed to head the ball in.
Soon after they were gifted a 2nd goal, as Saf's weak back-pass was intercepted by the Mercedes striker, who then had time to line up his shot and slot it home. (I will take solace in the fact that Sylvian Distin did the same thing for Everton on the weekend also).
At the half time break though the boys were definitely not disheartened by the score. Lev was still determined to win the game and we talked about playing the same way, but trying to push our passing game up the field into the final third.
Disaster struck almost immediately though, as a corner was cleared, but we didn't get out of the box quick enough meaning their striker was still on-side (he hadn't moved) when the 2nd ball came in – allowing him to score the simplest of headers.
At 3 nil though the Whites played some excellent football. The passing game was starting to push Mercedes, with Manny, Long and Emran building a lovely piece of play, but Manny wasn't able to direct his strike in. Another foray up the other wing though caused a quick turnover. Unfortunately our midfield didn't track back fast enough leaving us exposed o the left. This enabled the Mercs winger to get behind our defence and score for 4 nil.
By then Bocky was tiring and was replaced by Kev Nguyen, whilst Saf was replaced by Tom at the back.
Kev had an immediate impact, as a Lev free kick was headed in by Kev, who just wanted the ball more than anyone else. Leo came on for Jonny and soon after another free kick resulted in a goal, as Leo's header flicked over to the back post, where Kev and Jay fought each other to slot the ball home (Jay got there first) for a 4-2 score line.
Late in the game Mercedes did manage one more (i can't recall the goal actually), whilst we had a couple of chances, but were unable to capitalise. A 5-2 loss is never fun, but the boys should know they'll improve from here – as we gifted Mercedes a couple of these goals and in general play things were actually pretty tight.
Uni SA next week, who are a bit of an unknown quantity, so let's see if we can turn things around there.