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Central League - Miramar vs. Olympic

Olympic vs Miramar, nothing like a local derby to get the boys awoken from their slumber sleep! As coaches we really didn't need to fire the boys up at all. Miramar have had the wood over us for many a year and I was told it has actually been 10 years since we have won at Centennial, nothing like a bit of history behind the game as well.

The day arrives and everyone is fired up and feeling good about what lies ahead of them. We all know we need to play well and be smart with our decision making. A slight change in formation sees Mikey playing out wide left and Jimmy out wide right with Scott back in the squad taking up the right back role to mark B.Little while Anthony secures another start at left back. With Micky out due to an operation Churchy starts up front.

The warm up started with us needing our waders, due to the sprinklers coming on, for what must have been a long period of time as the far right hand corner was a foot under water and it's not even winter yet!

I feel we had the better of the first 30 minutes with the team working together as a unit with good ball speed and movement off the ball. Jimmy made several good runs down the right hand side and Scott matched Brian for speed in several long balls Miramar threw out left. Jamie and Barry both defended well with Shaun cutting a lot of ball off to Dom up front. After some classy work down the right hand side a pin point delivery was put in for Mikey to side foot (with his right foot as well) into the net great cross meet by a great finish. 1 nil. Not too long after that a one on one chance saw Churchy weave his way down field around the keeper and again a right foot finish into an empty net. 2 nil Olympic. This made G ring some changes, first change bring off their left back and replace with a midfielder, he also changed to a 3-5-2 formation. Obviously we had the upper hand and decided we didn't need to counter anything apart from Jimmy and Mikey needing to work harder defensively as well as get forward to maximise the space they now had.

Second half and yet again we start with a 2 nil lead against Miramar. I think this is the third time since being at Olympic we have gone into the second half with this score line. G made other changes and brought himself on up front and within 5 minutes and it paid dividends. There is a lot of debate over was it a foul, then was it inside the box but I will leave that to those that know what they know and for the rest of us to speculate. 2-1. Miramar continued to build pressure but we also had patch's where we controlled the game. The turning point was the sending off of Mikey, again I will leave it up to those that know if it was a red or a yellow but it changed the game the pressure from Miramar built and built and I think we would have held on if not for a free kick some 25 yards out. No issues with the free kick, the issue arises with the goal that came from it. In the first half we were awarded a free kick and were told by the Ref that we were unable to take a free kick as the ref gave a mandatory 10 yards no problems with that, he is the one in charge so follow his rules the fact that when Miramar had the free kick and it was taken quickly while a) he was between the ball and the wall that he was moving and talking to b) that Woody (very smart on his behalf) picked the ball up and moved it away from the wall are the issues I have. When asked by our now captain and a senior player why, the ref froze. If he had made a mistake fair enough reverse the decision and move on do not just let it go. As a team we get a lot of flak from the footballing fraternity for blaming everybody else but ourselves and to an extent this is true and it is something that we are working very hard in changing but it is very hard to defend something when you are unable to and show respect in situations that you yourself cannot understand.

We as coaches are held accountable for not only the results of the team but also the behaviour of the team. If we as a club are going to change our ways we as coaches have to be tough and enforce the rules that the club have set. These rules are strict this year and the players involved have agreed to adhere to them. How can we stand up in front of them and explain the situation over the weekend, how can we say it doesn't matter lads you tried hard and that's all that matters. I wouldn't want to be a referee and thank them for the effort and time they put in, like players though I am sure they want to be the best they can be and they want to put on a good performance. I doubt any ref goes out there saying that they are going to have a nightmare of a game and make lots of mistakes but they like players have to own up to their mistakes and be willing to discuss and work with players and coaches so that we all learn. There are some referees that are fantastic and will sit with you and explain their thinking and reasoning allowing you to debate it backward and forward in a social way, this is what is required, this is how we all learn and move forward. It is tough, they have a split second to make a decision to make the right call but that is what all the training and practice is for so as to be able to do that. When reports are made re a referees performance it shouldn't be hidden it should be out there so everybody knows what happened did they get it wrong or am I being one sided (we try not to be but deep down everybody knows that those 50/50 calls you call your way) this is what needs to happen, this is what other codes allow to happen so that everybody is accountable for their actions.

I have digressed away from what by all accounts was a fantastic game of football, played with a lot of passion and desire by both teams. These sorts of games, as G said in his speech, is what football is all about, this is why people come to watch. I want to thank yet again our fantastic supporters you are amazing and you are what makes this club special even if the police had to be called out, the flare was awesome.

Obviously we will move forward and we will all work harder to make sure the result goes our way next time. On the bright side 4 games in and we are undefeated.

Craig H.

(please note these opinions and views are my personal ones and not those of the club)

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