Monday, December 29, 2008

Roar 3 v Wellington 2: Let's hope for Jung rather than Wagner

Wagner is big and noisy, puts people through hell and can end in failure. Jung is continually challenging, putting people through a journey that has a failure, a small success, a major failure and then a major, live happily ever after, success. At least when Hollywood does him.

At first we were dominating at home but losing, then winning away but not at home. Now the drama is within the match. Going behind and then coming back to win. First, Perth dominated first 44 minutes then its all Roar (4-1). Then, Newcastle went one up against the run but the Roar weren't playing well, suddenly they got their act together (2-1).

Last night, the Roar dominated all night with up to 70% possession.

But they need more practice with three at the back, after 10 minutes a relatively poor cross was rewarded with De Vere leading with his head and not looking where he was going. At that point it was clear just how much youth there was for the Roar on the park. We started to get worried. The Roar switched to all out attack. And Wellington retreated to their penalty area with a two player thick wall of defence. The Roar haven't really ever looked likely from distance and their were plenty of shots into defenders and away for corners. But Wellington defence looked both rugged quick to resort to shirt pulling and fouling. In the crowd, we felt the ref and particularly assistant refs just were not keeping up. I was thinking that the Roar were looking very narrow, trying to run through the middle. Then I worked out what they were trying to do. Get the ball through and wait for the trigger happy defenders to give the foul away. Mitch Nichols got it right mid way through the 30s, pitching through Durante and got clobbered. We thought it was in the box. Then it was van Dijk. Now we can see why he was picked and kept in. Great kick. Moss pushed it onto the bar and tries to re-claim but can't hang on and McKay, who has been confusing the Wellington wall, runs forward and taps in with his left.

Wellington hang on for 1-1 at the break. Van Dijk is having his best game. Mitch Nichols is amazing. A lot of the time he is walking. Telling the team what to do. Tapping the ball around. He'll be 20 in the first week of January. He'll have to watch his diving-in tackles. But now the Roar have another player who always looks ready to score. Moore is showing that he is the best player on the park, we hear him say 'work Tahj'.

After the break, we sit back to see what will happen. Then bang. Wellington have scored. What. Through Reddy's hands, seems to come out as Reddy hits the post. 1-2. Seconds later Zullo runs down the left. He may have hear me 'come-on we need to get one back.' He crosses into the near post side of the 6 yard box, whooosh Van Dijk beats the defender with the same kick as his last goal, bending off the left side of his left boot. 2-2.

On Saturday my son and I had watched the youtude videos of van Dijk. The bicycle kick, the 10 goals in a game, a few others, this is why they bought him. The only thing is the Dutch second division defenders just seem to stand around. A bit different in the A-League.

The game is really open now, it is clear that Wellington feel they must win. Shane Smeltz is just about out of the game. Craig Moore is good. The crowd gets more cheesed with the ref. But in pushing forward, the brittleness of the Wellington defence is getting more and more exposed. And they rely more and more on shirt holding and fouling. The foul count was Roar 11 v Wellington 23, and key ones were missed or advantage played. Van Dijk sets up Mitch in the box on the right and he pulls the trigger too early - over the bar. Tommy Oar comes on for Tahj, and Tommy and Zullo swap, Tommy is running right in front of us. Frank has told them at half time to play wider. It is working, Matty Muscat hasn't got anything left and he is gabbing Tommy's shirt whenever he can. At last he gets a yellow card. Now 3 defenders plus McKain are on yellows. (McKain wanted to come back to Brisbane but he is now talking about going overseas again).

Keep running at them and one of them is going to go. 'Get it to Tommy, Tommy run at them, go on grab his shirt.' Van Dijk mis-kicks with the keeper diving across him - did the keeper grab his foot? Mitch breaks through, his shirt is pulled, its as close as they can get to him, but scuffs his shot - why not a penalty? Packer, on for an injured Josh, skys a free kick. Why is he taking that? Van Dijk is subbed. Durante pollaxes a rampaging Zullo on the right, he is off. 90 minutes are up. Free kick outside the box. Later we would here Fox saying it was Zullo taking the kick. But we knew it was Tommy. Plus we knew he oarsome free kick reputation. Bang, full pelt banana.

Another young Queenslander proves his metal. What are the other states doing?

It is funny that a game can look so different to a fan sitting in the stands to a commentator in a box, a fan in front of tv, or, especially, a ref.

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