vostoklake: (joss)
Mt Albert-Ponsonby 1 - 0 Beachlands Maraetai

A top of the table clash to be relished! I was back from suspension but our two fast centre-backs / holding mids were away for personal reasons, so we had to repurpose our fast winger. We expected it to be a tough, hard match, but in the first 20 minutes we made it look easy. We had been guilty of not waking up for the first 5 minutes in previous games, but our passing game today was fine from the get go. For the first time in ages, the other keeper got all the exercise in the first twenty minutes. And then our left back curled in an absolutely stunning corner which went past everyone and into the net. This we did not expect.

They got a bit fierce after that. Like many teams in our league, their game plan seemed to be simple: "through balls to our Star Striker" at every opportunity. I was kind of dreading how our ladies would shut down the Star Striker, but despite giving away a yard of pace and three boatloads of ANGRY, they stuck with her throughout the game.

Which is not to say I had an easy life. In fact, I think my game sucked. I had to come on runs to the edge of the area, or even out of it, on a regular occasion, but my feet just couldn't be persuaded to clear the ball properly. Thankfully the opposition couldn't take advantage - even the one time I had to run all the way out of my area and then jockey with an opposition striker, she couldn't put the ball past me straight. Coach gave me the hard word at half time to JUST DIVE ON IT.

They had a fine deadball specialist, but I managed to keep her out. I palmed a pretty fierce header over the bar just before half time. Soon after half-time, they got a free kick on the edge of the box. It went over the wall, and then dipped suddenly so it bounced right in front of me. I flailed at it, somehow got a glove to it, and once again it got over the bar.

The chatter got rowdier as the game went on - clearly the Beachlands ladies, who had been pretty much owning the league up until now, were not used to being behind. And it wasn't just us who copped it - they really were not best pleased with the reffing. Their Star Striker and our Tough Defender had a few words at one point, and I caught the tail end of the conversation...

SS: (something about what a sh*t team we are)
TD: Remind me what the score is again?
SS: Lucky goal!

Yeah, and I'll admit I had a couple of lucky saves, and a couple of lucky escapes from shocking clearances. And our team had clearly not been pushed that hard in a while, and we were not fit. We owned the first twenty minutes, and then it took all our luck and doggedness to keep them out for the next sixty. Thankfully, their one plan of through balls to the Star Striker couldn't work when their through balls were being intercepted and their Star Striker was marked out of the game.

So... I don't think I've been so amazed and relieved to hear a final whistle before. We are now 6 points clear at the top of the league (although Beachlands will have a game in hand). Can we hold it out until the end of the season and get promoted? Does my team really want to play in Div 1? We'll find out.

Next week: v Manukau City at home. Manukau City were until two weeks ago playing in Div 4, where their record read: played 5, won 5, 63 goals for, 2 against. Including one 24-0 win. Someone clearly f**ked up the grading the first time.
vostoklake: (punch)
Mt Albert-Ponsonby 1 - 1 Papatoetoe

Er... okay. First time I've ever been in a football game where someone got sent off. And it's me. >_<

Background: once again our team were really not on the pitch. Our touch was off, our calling was non-existent, only our fantastic sweeper was keeping us in the game against a tough, physical team. A terrible goalmouth scramble lead to their top striker putting a ball straight past my head into the goal. We got our act together in the last 5 minutes of the half, but then got the goalkicking yips something awful and pissed away some clear chances.

Second half, we came out and we were much better, knew what we were doing, were covering and passing, but still no goal for our efforts. About ten minutes to go, the opposition put a long ball clean between two of our defenders. Their main striker has the ball down the left wing, about ten metres outside the area, gaining fast, no defender within coo-ee. Nothing for it - I have to run out of my area to tackle because no-one else can.

Those watching don't think it was a fierce tackle, but I did collect her, and she was clever enough to go down like a sack of spuds. But then I turn around, and the ref is coming and putting his hand into his pocket and it's a freakin' red. I am so incredibly embarrassed. Obviously he thinks it's a "clear shot on goal" opportunity, but she was all the way over on the left hand side so that (my team assure me afterwards) is very dodgy reasoning. But I'm handing my shirt over to our midfielder and walking off very upset.

As it turns out, our midfielder does what is required in goal, and our flash winger scores the equaliser 5 minutes from time. I wasn't watching very closely at that stage, I was still a bit upset. I talk to the Pap striker after the game and she bears no ill will at all, which makes me think that she was kind of milking the opportunity, but never mind.

So. Unless we can pull strings with AFF, that's probably me suspended for Waiheke away. But that will mean I can get drunk before the game.
vostoklake: (emeter)
Onehunga Sports 0 - 1 Mt Albert Ponsonby

Gaaah! I'm not sure how many of these 1-goal victories I can handle. Okay, better than draws or losses, but still... Actually, a draw or a loss would have been fair enough today. We weren't on the field for the first half. We weren't calling, we weren't challenging for the ball, and - most damagingly - we were letting OSport's very aggressive playing style piss us off. We were yelling at one another and put off our natural game.

Thankfully we have a coach who knows how to calm a team down and build up their enthusiasm with their team talks. In the second half, we settled down and put some combinations together, and we finally clinched it with a 25-yard volley which bounced straight down off the crossbar, and before their keeper could get to it, our striker had pretty much fallen over on it to make sure it went in! OSports didn't give up, though. They made some great breaks past our backline, but I think the big issue is that their brilliant striker kept trying to dribble it all the way in, rather than take her shots. She was 1-on-1 with me at least five times in the second half and every time I could get to the ball first. I definitely got a far better work-out than I did against Ellerslie - they were very good at dropping it just short of the box and making me run out, and their crosses were dead straight. So, an escape from jail there.

At the aftermatch - great feed by the way, guys - their striker especially mentioned that Mt Albert-Ponsonby's keeper had had a great game and she looked forward to getting one past me in the return feature. There is no truer and more valuable compliment than one from an opponent.

So, that leaves us 3 wins from 3 games so far. A good start. A break for Easter, then away to Lynn Avon, newly come down from Div 1.
vostoklake: (otterly)
Tuakau 2 - Mt Albert-Ponsonby 3

I'm glad to announce that all of MAP's senior teams won on the first weekend of the competition - apparently our first team went through Cambridge for a short-cut, and our 3rd team won away to Pukekohe's 1st team (sorry Jag). But me, I had to bundle into a car for a huge trip out into the vast, untapped potato fields to the south. It's not even Auckland any more out there.

Tuakau were a very strong feisty team, but whose game plan was kind of one-dimensional - long balls down the centre into the box, "route 1 football". Luckily this meant that I really didn't have much to do, because our backs were usually fast enough to cover. I think I had to make one actual save all game, but quite a few times I had to run out of my box to clear. At my level you don't get many keepers who come off their line, let alone leave the penalty area, so I see myself as kind of a "secret weapon" in that regard.

1-0 to us at half time, and 3-0 soon afterwards. Our passing game down the middle was great and our wings were knocking them in with precision. And then we ran out of puff, and the farmgirls managed to get two back. The first one they finally managed to beat our backs and put it past me from the edge of the area; the second one, unmarked header from a corner. I admit I was terrified for the last ten. It didn't help that apparently there is nothing better to do in Tuakau of a Sunday afternoon than watch women's football, so they had a loud and rowdy fan base doing their best to get under your narrator's skin. I must admit the final whistle was a relief.

Best thing about coming to Tuakau - the feed afterwards. South Auckland and Franklin girls always put on a good spread, as opposed to certain rich inner city suburb clubs where you'd be happy to see a bag of chips after the game. And one of the opposition spontaneously came up to me at the aftermatch to say "good game". I don't think anything's better than that.

Next game: Ellerslie at home.
vostoklake: (penguin)
Harps 2-1 (7) - Paddies 1-4 (7) at full time. After extra time: Harps 2-1 - Paddies 3-10.

... yeah. That kind of tells the story. Obviously we couldn't keep the mental focus together to keep them out for an extra twenty minutes. Perhaps we were feeling a little battered and hard-done-by. given that these girls were playing some hard, fast, physical football, and their goal in regulation time came from a penalty that some thought a tad soft. Anyway, that's probably our last game of the season.

Oh yeah, I played. Some of the professional physios on the team were absolutely gobsmacked that our coach was supportive of me playing ten days out from dislocating / ripping open a finger. But our coach had played in that situation himself, and he told me that if I just taped the wonky finger firmly to the one next to it, it would be all right. Somewhat to my surprise, he was right. No pain - a little ginger in catching the ball, so I was put on defence where my job would be to knock the ball away from offensive players. And... I think I made a good fist of it, but I'll tell some of you some interesting stories later.

So... that's probably Gaelic season over. No damage and no pain to my hand. I'm beginning to get used to it. I'm valued by my team. I only hope that next year I can (a) learn the rules of physical contact sufficiently that I don't give away fouls; (b) find a specialist position. I have played all over the outfield AND as keeper this season. It's getting a bit old.
vostoklake: (Default)
Harps 4-7 (19) - Sláinte 2-2 (8)

Back in goal - my specialist position - for the first half of the game, and it was good to get back. I know what I'm doing there and I don't freak out. The ball came down a few times, and I gathered it and cleared it. Second half a different story, as they put me right up the other end of the field at full-forward. I got one point, but I gave away a bunch of free kicks just because I found it difficult to challenge for the ball without fouling in an unfamiliar position. Especially against a tight fullback line (and keeper) who were giving nothing away. Respect.

I'm not sure where my best position on the Gaelic field is now. I'll go where I'm put, I suppose, but I do look forward to being able to respecialise, perhaps next year. Keeper, midfield, full-forward... all are good.
vostoklake: (Default)
... that makes me feel alive, in my body, fully in the here-and-now. To some extent, even the minor injuries I get - today, scrapes all down my right leg from sliding along the rock-hard ground of Seddon Fields - are kind of pleasurable in a weird way. But although I'm generally nervous as all hell before a game - torturing myself with visions of bad mistakes - when I can get into it there is nothing more pleasurable than chasing after the ball, and if I get my hands/feet on it, doing something useful with it. It's more than just an exercise rush - I have no patience with exercise for its own sake. It's also the feeling of being part of a team, and the thrill of friendly but intense competition. The feeling when I actually beat a good player to the ball is wonderful.

The player marking me in yesterday's game said "you'll do anything to get the ball, won't you?" She meant it as a compliment, and I took it as one.
vostoklake: (emo)
Harps 1-1 (4) - Gaels 2-3 (9).

We're fit, we're fast, we're strong, but we're just not cutting it on the field yet. Hopefully it will come together for the championship. And I scored all our points. Amazing, but true. A couple of hopeful punts down the field, one of which cleared the keeper and one of which cleared the bar. Not quite enough, but we'll work on that next time.
vostoklake: (otterly)
In the last soccer game of the season, our 7-a-side mixed team won 5-2, earning us 3rd place out of 7 in the league. A respectable performance. The last Gaelic game of the year was cancelled today due to the ground being a churning bog of filth. (This is what happens when it doesn't rain for a month, and then you get a month's worth of rain over a weekend, as is sadly common in an Auckland summer.)

I am pleased with this year, in which I confirmed my position as a very competent Div 2 goalkeeper, and began learning the basics of being a handy Gaelic midfielder/half-forward. And I am very happy with the great people from both my clubs - Mt-Albert Ponsonby AFC and Harps GFC.

Gaelic season resumes on Waitangi Day... hopefully I won't have totally wrecked my health on tour.
vostoklake: (otterly)
Harps 5 goals 8 points (23) - Sláinte 1 goal (3)

A much better effort from the ladies this week. Yvo was knocking the points over at will and the opposition had no answer to Didi's runs.

The Harps coach is a liar. He told your humble narrator to knock herself out in midfield in the first half and she could have the more relaxing job as goalie in the second. This did not eventuate. Your narrator had to play all 60 minutes in the runningest position on the field, on the hottest day of the year so far in Auckland. It's a wonder I have any legs left. I have to work on (a) remembering that I can usually turn and pass to teammates if people get in my way; (b) remembering that it's a foul if I just attempt to run through the opposition.
vostoklake: (plath)
Gaels 2 - 8 (14) : Harps 3 -2 (11)

We were up by two points at halftime, and the opposition scored five unanswered points in the second half. Not a lot more can be said than that. Three straight losses in the season.

Your humble narrator played in the midfield for most of the match, and once the initial performance anxiety wore off, kind of liked it. At least I got a lot of ball and was able to make some storming runs downfield... even though I missed a pretty easy kick on goal near the end of the first half. I can tell I'm doing my job because the opposition start whining about my, er, aggressive style. :)
vostoklake: (Default)
Paddies 6-1 (19), Harps 4-2 (14)

Well, that was depressing, getting beaten by the team who were the cellar-dwellers of the league last year and couldn't even field a full team most of the time. We were muscled off the ball and beaten to it, and once again we went loose and floppy in the second half out of sheer lack of fitness. We're improving... just not quickly enough.

And once again I had to mark some scarily fast bitches, this time playing 75% of the game at left half forward. I competed well for the ball, and the two or three times I actually got hold of it I made a good run and some straight kicks... didn't score any points, although only a good save kept me from a goal in the second half. My teammates were fast to tell me that I'm adapting to Life In The Outfield quickly.

Got to play outfield in 7-a-side soccer on Friday, too. I wouldn't want to play there in the "world game", though, because I like catching the ball, and because my kicks from the hand are much better than my kicks from the ground. But I do hope I can actually get good at Gaelic soon.
vostoklake: (KATE)
You know what I love about both football and music? That they're (relatively) safe spaces to be loud and aggressive and to show off and use my energy and strength. I have a reputation for brutality (undeserved, I think) on the football field, and I realised today that my music can be described in similar terms. Really, what is Vostok Lake, but an attempt to prove that electropop can be aggressive and clever just as well as any guitar-based music? (Of course I'm not nearly as clever as Wendy Carlos or as aggressive as Atari Teenage Riot, but I just may be the missing link between the two, with some Tori Amos or Amanda Palmer thrown in in the middle there.)

24 hours to Hamilton. Time to make my preparations.

24 hours to Hamilton. Time to make my preparations.
vostoklake: (otterly)
In a pre-season Gaelic football friendly, Harps were kind of murderised by Emerald City. Well, to be fair - in a 3x20 minute game, we held our own for the first two periods, but then got something like 6 unanswered goals scored on us, which probably indicates something about fitness more than anything else.

A number of our best players sat this game out, and a number of players were played out of position, just to see what they'd do. This also proved the opportunity for the new coach to make good on his promise to put last years' second-string goalie (your humble narrator) in the outfield to see what she could do.

First period: played full-forward. Didn't get much of the ball, but had a couple of nice shots, and scored a goal from one. :D

Second period: played centre-half-back, marking a former NZ soccer international. I gave away about half a foot in height and three yards of pace on this she-behemoth, and to some extent I gave up chasing her. Nevertheless, I stuck close enough to get the ball on a few occasions (even charging down a kick once) and booting it upfield, just like coach said.

Third period: played the first two minutes in midfield, ended up being completely embarrassed by my opposite number's superior fitness and footballing brain. Spent the balance out at corner-back, where I did my job keeping the corner-forward away from the action at all times.

What I got from the game:
a) proof that I can spend 60 minutes in the outfield and not fall over or totally embarrass myself;
b) confirmation that I can catch the ball, solo it and give it a hefty belt upfield;
c) a few pointers on finer points of the rules (what, you mean I'm NOT allowed to dive on the ball and punch it away on the ground?)
d) some nasty bruises (mainly from attempting to dive on the ball and punch it away on the ground)
e) compliments from my teammates.

So it does seem that your humble narrator will be playing outfield for the balance of the season... interesting to see if they want me in the forwards or the backs. I hope the forwards because I'm goal-hungry and because I don't like man-marking.
vostoklake: (Default)
FRIDAY: After high and heavy drama involving the promoter just about coming to blows with the lead singer of one of the other bands, Vostok Lake finally took the stage for an abbreviated 5-song set and blew all the bad vibes away. Heavy cred goes to Scarlett Lashes, who followed up their fine contribution as performers by leading the audience participation for VL. As we always say, we are as good as our audience's attention allows us to be, and we had a lot of attention. The Sigue Sigue Sputnik cover worked; as did the new original song with the half-written lyrics. Going back on June 11! Let's make it a big turnout!

SATURDAY: A satisfying and productive counselling session in the morning, followed by an hour and a half bumming around the library, like I used to do before I started having important things to do with my life. Evening's entertainment: Terminator 3 with Rifftrax. Kevin Murphy does the best Governator voice.

SUNDAY: Three football games worth mentioning:

a) Serbia 0 - New Zealand 1. XD XD XD Glad I forced myself out of bed at 3 am to find a dodgy internet feed.

b) Auckland Womens Div 3: Mt Albert 0 - Otahuhu 3. Otahuhu, for those of you with long memories, was my old team, and while they haven't had a great season since they lost their goalie, she said modestly, they came out to play against our reserves. Fantastic goal from a long-range free kick from Emily, Polly was unstoppable in the midfield, and in general the girls in yellow and green owned our girls with strength and pace. A few cries of "traitor!" went up when they saw me at the game, but it was all good. My old coach told me to keep yelling and screaming on the field because it's my best feature.

c) Auckland Womens Div 2: Mt Albert 2 - Onehunga Sports 0. The O-Sports girls weren't very tactically advanced - they relied on what football nerds refer to as "route one", i.e. kicking it as hard as possible downfield and hoping your forwards beat their backs. But our backs had a fantastic game and covered it all the time - I didn't have to make a single crazy run out of our penalty area. The O-Sports striker attempted to troll the Mt Albert keeper by making loud comments about how she "couldn't kick" (half true - my ground kicks are nigh non-existent, but I have a very large punt kick). This only made the keeper more determined to keep a clean sheet. Which she did.

Then: off to Farmers to buy a few essentials, such as big pillows and facewash. Evening's entertainment: first two episodes of "An Unearthly Child", the first ever Doctor Who serial.

I don't mention the fine company I had all through the weekend, because I prefer not to make my readers violently and copiously sick. But... *smooches*, anyway.
vostoklake: (punch)
Note this report, from the opposition perspective, on a recent game of ours. I'm a little chuffed to note that I'm the only MAP player who made an impression. "Grunting and heaving and yelling" is perhaps a little pejorative, but fair enough.
vostoklake: (lolassrape)
Three Kings-Bohemian Celtic 2 - Mt Albert Ponsonby 1.

The winning goal came about 5 minutes from full time from a truly excellent long-range kick that the Mt Albert goalkeeper got a fingertip to, but couldn't push over the bar. Up until that point, MAP had done wonders to stay in the game against a team who were faster, more skillful and more aggressive (and full of the MAP goalkeeper's Gaelic football teammates, which added extra incentive).

The MAP keeper got Player of the Day for her efforts, which was nice.
vostoklake: (lolassrape)
...not if he stays that way.

Overdosing on musicals at the moment. Chess and Rent to begin with - can anyone suggest where to go from here? It's not quite the same as opera, but it's giving me good ideas about how to advance plot via song.

Yesterday's football results from a D. Lawless goalkeeping double-header:

Mt Albert Ponsonby 1st team 3 - Tuakau 0

Nothing very much to report from this game, apart from the fact that I saved a goal with my face late in the game.

Mt Albert Ponsonby reserves 1 - Onehunga-Mangere 1

The second game was insane. The O-M girls (mainly Samoan lasses resembling refrigerators with melons on top) came out hard and nasty in the second half, and our inexperienced reserves couldn't handle the biff and lost their half-time lead. I must admit I lost my temper a bit (at both the opposition and my own team for rising to the bait) but got a good line in against a rather foolish O-M woman who tried to put me off during my goal kicks. "Your mother dresses you funny!" probably won't win any prizes for original wit, but it shut that particular troll up and relieved the tension somewhat.
vostoklake: (otterly)
Auckland Women's Division 2: Mt Albert-Ponsonby 1, Pukekohe 1.

In general, Mt Albert totally dominated 80% of the game and were desperately unlucky not to win by a huge margin. Pukekohe scored first after the Mt Albert defence went to sleep for about ten minutes, after a desperately unlucky first half where the ball didn't go anywhere near the Mt Albert goal but just wouldn't go in the Pukekohe goal. Thankfully an equaliser came ten minutes later, and with five minutes to go - if she does say so herself - the Mt Albert goalkeeper pulled off a pretty impressive diving save to earn the draw.
vostoklake: (emo)
According to Auckland Football's website, at least five women's teams, including four in the Auckland championship (2nd tier of club soccer in Auckland - I play at the 4th) are looking for a goalkeeper. It's nice being on the right side of the supply-demand equation. If only I could kick the ball off the ground with any reliability - and if I had more self-confidence - I would be seriously tempted to take them up on their offer.

I am of course a rabid perfectionist, and it is difficult for me to take up any hobby or pursuit without seeking excellence in it. I know that I'm 35 years old - about the age when most women soccer players are retiring - but I am quite fit, quite strong, and because I haven't been playing since I was 11 my bones and organs aren't all worn out as yet.

Perhaps the biggest issue with wanting to play at a higher grade than I am now is that it would take up more time and energy to train, and that would really knock holes in my careers as rock star, Bolshevik pamphleteer, indexer, cultural theorist, sensitive girlfriend, and person who bums around on the Internet a lot. Well, maybe my team will kick ass and win our league this year and be promoted to 3rd tier next year, which I could happily handle.


This blog seems to have degenerated into the Going On About Football blog. This is because I tend to talk about my music on the MySpace blog or Facebook, and the angsty stuff in friendslock. Those of you who have absolutely no interest in soccer are welcome to suggest other topics of conversation.