You can have a strong recruiting campaign, hit all your training targets during summer and go into the season after good form in the friendlies – but a season-opening loss can quickly dampen all that enthusiasm.
Just ask Brimbank Stallions coach Andrew Marth.
The newly-promoted Stallions had that deflated feeling on Saturday, beaten 2-1 by Yarraville Glory in state league 1 soccer at Club Italia Sporting Club.
“We’re a bit disappointed because I thought we recruited quite well during the course of the off season,” Marth said.
“I was probably pencilling in three points, but it didn’t come to fruition.”
The manner of Brimbank’s loss did not sit well with Marth.
The Stallions committed two similar defensive errors – one in either half – that proved costly. On both occasions, a long ball was played behind the Stallions’ defence and the Glory striker pounced to score.
“It was just a lack of concentration,” Marth said.
“We had three at the back and they had one striker and we were caught with a long ball over the top twice.
“Our three defenders made errors at crucial times.”
Marth felt that Brimbank’s best spell of attack came in a 25-minute patch early in the second half.
But the Stallions’ momentum was halted by the Glory’s second goal.
The positive to come out of the game for Brimbank was the performance of newly acquired midfielder Mike Cunningham.
The New Zealand visa player capped his Stallions debut with a goal from a goalmouth scramble.
“It was a good cross in the box, they fumbled a couple of clearances and it fell to Mike, who put it into the back of the net,” Marth said.
Baki Efe impressed in defence.
Brimbank will be desperate to pick up some victory points in its second-round battle with Essendon Royals away at Ormond Park on Saturday.
The two Italian-backed sides have already met in the FFA Cup, the Royals winning on penalties.
“There is a bit of animosity between the two Italian clubs,” Marth said.
“We lost to them in the FFA Cup on penalties, so they’ve probably got the edge on us, so to speak.
“But I’m quite confident the boys will bounce back and get a result for us.”
In other state league 1 games, North Sunshine Eagles got off to a flying start with a 2-0 win over Keilor Park.
Simon Tolli and Ajak Panek scored second-half goals for the Eagles.
Caroline Springs George Cross played out a 0-0 draw with Banyule City.
In state league 2, Albion Rovers scored an upset in a 1-0 win over Westgate, with Godwill Basha hitting a 90th minute winner.
Western Suburbs stalled out of the gates in a 2-0 loss to Corio.
In state league 3, Westvale and FC Strathmore drew 2-2 and Western Eagles had a shocker, losing 4-1 to Sunbury United.
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