Friday, December 15, 2006
Ten Man Terry
There is one particular situation, however, in which Butcher has truly shown his mettle this term. And that is, significantly, when his side has gone a man down.
The big Englishman loves talking about fighting spirit, backs to the wall, siege mentalities and the like. It’s not surprising, then, that he appears at his best when facing an uphill struggle.
Four times this season Sydney have gone a man down. In two cases they did eventually lose, but did far better in the circumstances than one would have had reason to expect. In last night’s game, Butcher’s acumen in 10 v. 11 situations finally paid off.
In the pre-season semi-final against Adelaide, Alvin Ceccoli was sent off for dissent at half-time. The game had been pleasingly even up to that point; after the break, perversely, Sydney were dominant.
Butcher had wisely stationed the players who had done the least running, Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Mark Milligan, in wing-back roles for the second half; tearing down the flanks, they allowed the midfielders to remain fairly central, preventing Adelaide from building too many attacks through the middle.
This tends to be Butcher’s method when going a man down; to man the flanks with hard runners, allowing the numbers in the centre to remain there.
Against Melbourne in Round 2, Butcher reacted similarly to Mark Rudan’s dismissal, compressing the midfield while leaving the full-backs to patrol the flanks in their entirety. It worked well, and Melbourne were given a run for their money despite already being two goals to the good when the sendoff occurred.
Last night, the introduction of Ruben Zadkovich – whose brief was clearly to roam the length of the right touchline – was ultimately the turning point of the game. Carney was having a poor night overall and not contributing sufficiently in defence; after Zadkovich’s arrival, Sydney’s back three were able to cope with Perth’s feints at goal with little trouble.
Not that I would hope for a Sydney FC player to be sent off in subsequent games, but…
You ain't wrong. They were just woeful.
The ground also looked woeful on tv (compared to the football it was probably comparative). Was it really that bad, mike ?
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yawn. Whatever. Second in the league.
...The ground also looked woeful on tv (compared to the football it was probably comparative). Was it really that bad, mike?...
Yeah, pretty bad, especially in the penalty area at the northern end.
Plenty of discussion at present on SFCU et alibi re an alternative venue to the SFS.
But worse than the changes to the pitch was the fact that we need to be treated like children with the carpeted area of the supporters' end being barricaded off. Ridiculous.