The City boys have rounded their 2020/21 regular season by doing the honourable thing and handing a first wooden spoon to our crosstown rivals by losing 2-1 to Newcastle Jets last night.
Adrian Luna was able to put one on a plate for Stefan Colakovski nine minutes in, before 16-year-old Archie Goodwin scored one of the goals of the season to beat a diving Tom Glover from range in the 23rd minute. Apostolos Stamatelopoulos (had to correct that a few times, but we got there in the end) popped up to score the winner for the Jets in the 89th, heading home from a set-piece to hand Victory the spoon (did we mention that already?).
Here’s what we took away from the night:
The wheels are falling off VERY quickly
Here’s a stat: On a points-per-game basis, we’re in just as bad form from our past five as we were when it was #PKOut six games into the season.
There are just three teams with a worse form line than us currently… and none of them are playing Finals.
Has our form been affected by injuries and player unavailability? Absolutely.
But should we have been able to knock off the league’s woeful bottom two teams with the lineups we’ve fielded in the past two weeks? Absolutely.
We find ourselves at a significant disadvantage heading into Finals and it’s going to take a huge week from players and coaching staff alike to ensure that we’re back on a level playing field come next Sunday.
We need to find a solution up top
On the topic of player unavailability, our lack of experience up top is making for some frustrating viewing for fans.
We know that Marco Tilio and Stefan Colakovski are going to be stars, and they could typically slot into our usual starting XI and make an impact, but when the XI is in as weakened a state as it is, it seems they’re not quite ready to shoulder the attacking burden by themselves.
Following Andrew Nabbout’s departure from the field at half-time, City’s front three of Tilio, Colakovski and Atkinson was one that struggled for directness, with all three appearing to be looking to provide for the others, in the hopes they’ll have the same decisiveness in possession as the sorely missed Jamie Maclaren.
With Craig Noone set to return next Sunday and Andrew Nabbout’s half-time substitution hopefully just a preventative measure, we could see the return of a front three that has enough experience and quality in it for either Colakovski or Tilio to come in and have a proper impact in Maclaren’s absence.
Taking some positives from it
Keeping it positive has tended to be a theme of these post-match articles in recent weeks, but it certainly wasn’t all doom and gloom last night.
It goes without saying that the biggest positive from the game is that we successfully #spoonedtheVuck, admittedly in a less satisfying manner than we’d hoped. No matter what happens come Finals time, this will always be the season where City finished first and Victory finished last – all things in perfect balance.
Perhaps the hype around him has died down a little bit after getting that first A-League goal out of the way, but everybody’s favourite Heart fan Stef Colakovski scored last night! That’s a positive no matter the result.
In other news, Nathaniel Atkinson made a successful return from injury, having not featured since our 3-2 away win against Wellington earlier in the year.
And just to cap things off, Scott Jamieson’s busy performance at left-back last night now moves him level with David Williams for all-time City appearances at 103. Hopefully there will be many more seasons for him to keep adding to that tally.