Well…where does one begin? It’s tough to fit all the great things from the weekend into this article but we will give it a go…
The weather was perfect for the weekend away when the Parkers headed down on Saturday morning to the Mornington Peninsula. They were taking on the Somerville Eagles in three trial games and it was sure to bring some drama.
The weekend held some special significance for a couple of reasons. One, the Parkers were lucky enough to have the support of many of the player’s partners who were joining the weekend’s festivities and two, it was Michael Johnston’s birthday…28 years young, and still running down the wing like Mo Salah (not scoring). Well Eugene seems to think so…
It was a solid start from the Parkers in the first of the three trial games, taking the match 3-1 and dominating in all facets of the game. Coach Gravy even gave himself some minutes and added a touch of experience and class gifting Yann Parmentier two beautiful assists. When asked about the performance coach Gravy said “It was nice to be able to demonstrate to the lads how to pass and move”. In assessing his own performance, Gravy stated that “Sir Alex Ferguson once said – Put Gravy on the pitch with 10 pieces of wood and I’ll win you State League 5!”
Full Time Score: 3-1 Parkers
The Parker’s Reserve Grade squad carried on their impressive run under the guidance of Nick Heather. Once again Alessio Zungri was a midfield maestro but credit also needs to be given to the dominant performances from Felipe Cardenas and Andy Reid who both looked to have plenty of composure all game. Michael Johnston played in goal for the first half but asked if he could be brought on in the second half to try and get a birthday goal. Late in the half when Somerville were run off their feet Johnston got his chance as he cut the ball inside onto his left foot and took a swing at it from the edge of the 18 yard box…by the time his shot reached the keeper’s gloves Mark Wright had managed to neck his whole beer and do a handstand. It’s safe to say Johnston’s left peg couldn’t kick over a jam tin. His older brother Chris won quote of the day with “That legs for standing on champ”.
Full Time Score: 2-0 Parkers
It’s fair to say the Parkers weren’t switched on defensively for the first 25 minutes of the last game. They went behind 4 goals and it looked like it was going to be a long afternoon. To their credit, they didn’t argue or point fingers, but instead took on the collective responsibility of changing their style of play in the second half. Coach Gravy instructed the lads to forget about the scoreline and just enjoy the football, and it turned out to be the perfect remedy. The Parkers looked to be creating more chances and getting in behind the opposition defense several times, courtesy of Matthew Novak’s shear pace. But it was “Bubba” who opened the Parker’s account with a thunderous strike from roughly 25 yards. This spurred the Parkers on and had the travelling fans a little more interested in the result but no less interested in who could sink the most $5 VB tinnies in the last 45.
Less than 10 minutes later, Bubba bobbed up again, but this time receiving the ball on the half way line during a counter attack. Andres Gerreda was wide open and screaming for the ball down the right wing so where else was Bubba supposed to play it…over the keeper’s head for a goal from 40 yards of course. It’s fair to say Andres wasn’t joining the Robbie Keane celebration from Bubba.
With roughly 15 minutes to go, Albert Park still looked the most likely to score and they did just that when Dan Porter Managed to head the ball with his chest from inside the 6 yard area. It was game on with 10 mins to go…and the home side were looking worried.
Somerville were out of other ideas so they looked to try their own luck at scoring from halfway, and to be fair they had some cracking attempts. Goalkeeper Michael Johnston tried as best as he could to look calm and make it appear as though he knew all three attempts would miss by the slimmest of margins (one hitting the crossbar)…but he wasn’t fooling anyone.
All this did though was inspire Bubba to go back to the well and try his own luck once more, and in the 85th minute he again attempted to lob the keeper from just inside his own half… Having not learned his lesson from the first one (or how well Johnston dealt with halfway attempts), the keeper was caught off his line and he despairingly watched another David Beckham like shot sail over his head.
Full Time Score 4-4
Coming back from 4-0 down…Bubba with a hat trick; one goal from 24 yards and two from 40 yards…Nuff said. What a day of soccer.
The Parkers started early with many a folk staying back well after the game to cash in on the $5 VB tinnies. The players and fans all sang Mouse Johnston happy birthday which customarily prompted the “We like to drink with Michael, cause Michael is our mate” chant.
But when we drink with Michael, he apparently gets it down in 48…so that was an anti climax.
After spending some time with the opposition, the Parker crew made their way back to their respective rooms, got changed and headed out to celebrate three well fought games and one another’s company. The Royal Mornington Hotel was the destination and it had one of the more spectacular views. Well, when you’re used to Somewhere Bar on Chapel street it looks a million bucks…
“Yeah sick view but wish the beers were as cheap as somewhere bar”.
Shortly after Chris Johnston received his Burger 2 hours into the evening, the Lads and Ladets made their way inside to the dance-floor where a live band was gearing up to rock the show. There was this buzz around the place, and the old folk seemed to know something that we didn’t…then the band started giving some bloke by the name of “Eugene” a grand entrance that The Rock would have been proud of…
“If you smelllllllllllllllllll what Eugene….is…Coookin”
Eugene’s hip swinging had the oldies salivating and the Parker’s contingent ready to kick on with some more “modern” day hip thrusting at the local club. After Andy “The Rock” Britton finally got let in to the after party, Michael Johnston found his bank card to pay the cover charge, Chris Johnston got a 40-Year old vixen’s business card on the d-floor, and Novak did his hammy for a second time to “Pony”, it was collectively decided that the Mornington Migration would now be an annual affair.
Players and partners alike had a fantastic time, and an even better day after…
In all seriousness though, the weekend was a huge success for the club and Albert Park SC would sincerely like to thank all partners, friends and family who came along and supported and partied. It is sure to be the first of many.