Kogarah rules

With our Saturday night now football free, it’s time to look back on Sydney FC’s latest game, through the eyes of a fan. Double header too, but the 4.30pm kick off was totally unachievable with school, work and a cross Sydney journey getting in the way.

We did make good time though, Michelle‘s uncanny knack of finding the quickest way from Ryde to Carlton via the backstreets of the Inner West getting us there at half time in the W-League opener. We got a great spot a hundred metres from Gate C and met up with Siobhan, but comically Gate C didn’t open til 6pm, so we found our seats after walking around half of the stadium and entering via the main stand.

The A-League game was finely poised at 1-0, the crowd was growing, and Sydney were dominant against high flying Canberra United, with Michelle Heyman, the gazelle, in a rich seam of form. Remy Siemsen somehow smashed the ball off the bar from close range when it looked easier to score, and from our angle it did have a touch of the Frank Lampard v Germany ‘goal’ from the 2010 World Cup. It was the Sky Blues who scored the next, and it was a neat finish from the W-League player who looks the most like a member of the royal family, the elegant Cortnee Vine picking her spot from just inside the area. Canberra offered at least some resistance before collapsing to two Siemsen goals, the first a follow up to her own blocked shot, the second a close range header after she was left completely unmarked from a corner. It could and should have been more, but the 4-0 win served as the perfect appetiser to the A-League encounter that followed.

With Michelle and Aurelia both selected for jobs on the field, there was a different vantage point for the warm-ups. It was interesting to see just what goes on before the game, the players warming up, the admin and fussing, the cameras and interviews.

The players came out to applause, followed by Michelle who did the coin toss with the captains and the refs, and Aurelia who presented the match ball to Chris Beath. A big thrill for the girls and they were both a bundle of nervous energy. One of the perks of being a member!

Plenty of pantomime as the sprinklers caused their now familiar carnage on the sidelines. The groundsman used his tricks to divert the spray from the Fox team and the cameraman tracking Harps was saved by the quick-thinking Blanket Man.

The game was made a lot easier by the fabulous beer choices on offer at Netstrata Stadium – 4 Pines and Balter a nice change from Iron Jack. The action on field took a while to get going to be fair as we reverted to our spot next to the Cove. A great chance early on for the visitors was spurned, and the game looked to be following the same pattern as the first encounter in week 1. That was until Alex Baumjohann’s radar spotted the run of Kosta Barbarouses and he played in a magnificent through ball for Kosta to tease in a right foot shot in off the far post at the far end of the field. Get in!

The second half saw Sydney create opportunities, but were again sluggish in the final third. Up the other end they let former Chelsea man Ulises Davila romp through to crash a shot off the bar, the bank of Mexican fans in a frenzy at this stage. To be fair the Mexican contingent gave the atmosphere a more lively twist, cheering and jeering the goal kicks and raising the volume whenever their man got the ball. Sydney then got their second, a goal straight from the Jack Charlton book of tactics, route one, the flick on, and the devastating control and shot from Kosta to make it two nil. The relief all round from the Sydney fans was obvious, and we could finally sing his name with conviction after a very lean spell.

Both teams had chances, and the home team made subs that showcased their depth. Unfortunately it was one sub too many, and when Chris Zuvela went down under a routine challenge, the result was the stretcher and Sydney down to 10. That led to a twist at the end. Davila somehow scored from way out, the ball bouncing past Andrew Redmayne up the other end, and it was game on for an extended injury time. The Sky Blues looked shaky, and when a looping cross came in with the Phoenix keeper joining the attack, the ball was nodded over Redders and onto the bar. Thankfully away to safety. The ten men held on and the players joined the Cove in celebration, the old 2 Unlimited tune to the chant of Kosta, Kosta Kosta … great to hear that again.

So, it’s the policeman who works the scoreboard?

Game over, and in the car moments later to join the snaking traffic to King Georges Road and to home. Not too late for a school night, and we look forward to our next game here. Six points to Sydney!

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