February 1, 2012

The Rise of the Phoenix and demise of the Melbourne Heart

Last Sunday I took a couple of friends to watch the football at the Cake Tin – the Phoenix versus Melbourne Heart.

I like to be there early, must be my age, so we got to the ground about 4.00 pm and watched the teams warm up in lovely sunshine – it wasn’t sunny like that when I played golf much earlier in the day!

There was a big crowd of over 13,500 people, a number who arrived looking for their seats when the game was already underway at 4.35 pm.  To make matters worse some of those who had arrived earlier got hot and moved into the shadows to get out of the sun.  Whoever said Wellington doesn’t have lovely summers!

There was real excitement just after the game started with the Phoenix scoring just on three minutes after kick off, a lovely constructed goal, appreciated by those attending.  As the first half went on, Melbourne Heart got a little more possession and created a goal of their own late in the half.

There is a saying that it was a game of two halves which this certainly was with the Phoenix dominating the play in the second half and scoring another three goals, one of which was disallowed for a marginal offside, but then, I’m slightly one eyed in favour of the home team.

Which leads me on to the officiating which in my view, left a lot to be desired.  From memory, there was only one yellow card issued during the whole game and yes you guessed it, it was to a Phoenix player for a clumsy challenge.  Yet the Melbourne Heart players got off scot free for a number of serious offences including a hand ball when the Phoenix players were charging up field on a clear break followed by a sinister tackle in very similar circumstances.   I have to admit that I like the game to flow which the referee did in allowing free kicks to be taken when the ball had not stopped completely and not in the correct spot etc (a number of the referees in this league can be quite pedantic at times) but the ref let himself down by not issuing cards to the Melbourne Heart played for the two offences mentioned above, both at least yellow but the hand ball could have justified a red card!

Overall an enjoyable afternoon’s entertainment, a Phoenix 3 Melbourne Heart 1 result, pity our preferred café was not open for dinner that night which would have capped off a great day.

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