I think it’s safe to say that round one of the FNSW Futsal Super League did not go as planned. Four points from one win and one draw was extremely disappointing. Having said that, we as a club have to accept much of the responsibility for the results.
As said on facebook on the morning of the game: If you give everything your best shot, you will come out on top no matter what the score, and there is no doubt the players on show gave it their all.
What was evident was a lack of preparation in the form of trial games. Sutherland had two trial games against Premier League opposition and took part in the Phoenix cup, and it showed, as they were sharper in transition and ahead of us in their adaption from the outdoor game to the indoor. We the Taipans have to learn from this, and not let it happen again. As much as outdoor is king in the Illawarra, we have to ask for some sacrifice prior to season start rather than sacrifice the start of our season. It’s a short season and you have to be ready and at full strength. We only had two teams with all players in attendance, with the under strength sides including only three Youth Men and four Women available.
That said, there was very little between the two sides in most age groups with only the odd goal separating the teams, and with games under our belts, we will certainly get better.
Like most of the sides, the 12 Boys were slow to start and gave themselves too much to do going in 2-0 down at halftime. The second half was much improved, but goals from Dean Saverino and Jacob Gjorsevski were not quite enough as the boys went down 3-2. We also collected a ridiculous yellow card in this game which turned out to be a pre-cursor to what we are going to try and come to terms with this season, as a drop in the league also appears to mean a drop in the standard of officials.
Many of the 12 Girls were playing their first competitive game and competed well against Sutherland going in 1-1 at halftime thanks to a goal from Rebekah Hutton. Only one goal was scored in a tight second half, but unfortunately for the young Taipan girls it was for the opposition. Final score 2-1.
The 14 Boys were also behind the pace from kick off, and before they had a chance to settle into any sort of pattern were already two goals down. Second half goals from Kyle Kirkland and Jeremy Flanagan were not enough as they finally went down 4-2.
Our 14 Girls were up against it with only five players available, but assisted by three girls from the 12’s, put on a gallant performance to only go down 2-0. This was no mean feat, as Sutherland was well drilled across all the girl teams.
There had been a fair bit of facebook banter between the two 16 Boys sides leading up to this game which expressed itself in the slightly over-exuberant goal celebrations throughout the game. Although all in good fun it certainly wasn’t the norm. The rivalry definitely had the Taipans up for the game, who raced to an early lead, but Sutherland was not going to let us have it all our own way. Halftime came with the Taipans leading 2-3. Goals from Aiden Breslin, James Brodnik, Kyle Del, Nelson Reid and a brace from Matt Mazevski gave the South Coast side a comfortable 2-6 win and our first points of the day.
The 16 Girls came up against an excellent Sutherland side that was clearly much more experienced than our team. Sutherland quickly took the lead and nether took their foot off the gas throughout the while game. 6-0 at halftime became 11-2 at full time with Catherine Bullivant scoring both the Taipans consolation goals.
The one Youth Men goalkeeper and two court players went into their game fearing the worst, but ably assisted by four 16’s boys, more than held their own in another game where only one goal separated the two teams. 2-1 at halftime ended up 3-2 at fulltime with goals from Sam Davies and David Stojic.
Of the four available Women, only one had played for the Taipans last year. So with help from the 16’s that had already suffered a heavy defeat, we were asking a great deal for the girls to compete with another very strong Sutherland side. But compete they did, giving their all through to the final whistle. 3-0 down at halftime finished up 5-1 with a debut goal for Phoebe Fraser. A special mention to Taren King who stood in as makeshift goalkeeper at the last minute and did a fantastic job.
The Open Men’s game was always going to be a tight affair with a lot of familiar faces on both sides. And so it panned out as tit for tat goals had the two teams locked at 3-3 at halftime. More of the same in the second half and it looked like the Taipans had snatched victory leading 4-5 in the final minutes only to have the win snatched from them with an equalising goal that was assisted by a blatant handball that only the officials seemed to miss. This injustice capped off a bewildering performance by the referees that saw both Ricky Zucco and Sammy Mehrkhavari sent off. The Taipan goal scorers were Sammy Mehrkhavari (2) and Andrej Gacesa (3).
And so only four points, but some great effort, especially by all those players that stepped up and played above their age group. Overall the games were played in great spirit, so how we managed to accumulate 12 Yellow cards and 2 Red only the referees can answer, but we can regroup now and prepare for our first home game against Sydney Futsal Club.