WEATHER conditions were nigh on perfect- a zephyr of a breeze, sunshine and a firm deck, so how can you explain a three quarter-time scoreline of Prahran 3-6 to Glen Eira 1-8 at three quarter-time.?
That was the question everyone at Packer Reserve was pondering at the final break in Saturday’s VAFA Division 1 clash.
Glen Eira went into the match heavy favourite but the Two Blues matched, and at times, bettered the home team in what was obviously a defence oriented game.
Make no mistake this is a game Prahran could, and should, have won.
After a dominant third quarter which saw the Two Blues pepper the goals, a 1-4 return would prove costly.
Coach Brett Dickinson at three quarter-time called on his troops to deliver the knockout blow.
Unfortunately the KO came from Glen Eira which kicked 3-3 holding Prahran to a solitary point that came on the siren from Matthew Clifford.
Until the final quarter fade out the Two Blues tactics of keeping possession with short passes frustrating the zone defence of the home team had the desired outcome.
But as the pressure rating ramped up the Two Blues faltered, the mental toughness and dare to stay true to the game style suddenly vanished.
Players seemingly panicked dumping kicks in hope rather than with precision which played into Glen Eira’s hands.
Thus continued an unhappy trend of close losses against the better teams as was the round 1 clash v Oakleigh when scores were level in time-on only to lose by 13 points.
To be fair to hold the competition premiership favourite to one goal for the first three quarters was a monumental achievement.
The tackling pressure rating from both teams was sky high and credit to all on their collective techniques with barely a sling tackle in sight.
Goals were like gold with Shaun Chapman posting the first after a clutch mark 14 minutes into the first quarter.
Glen Eira kicked its first goal at the 20 minute make to hold a three point lead.
Ethan Plaza marked and goaled early in the second term then the controversy of the day when Glen Eira had a free kick set shot from 20 metres out which was originally signalled a goal.
But after a chorus of protests from players and supporters with a clear view behind the goals field umpires reversed the decision, made by a Glen Eira official, to a point.
On the half-time siren Glen Eira had a set shot from 25m out directly in front which scraped in for a point, which typified a first half of missed opportunities.
More of the same came from Two Blues in the third quarter when Plaza, Jesse Waters and Rory Brodie all missed gettable set shots before inspirational co captain James Musster converted from a free kick.
For the Two Blues it was another case of close but not close enough, they simply need to be better for longer if they are to defeat the competition leaders.
PRAHRAN 1-0 2-2. 3-6 3-7 (25)
GLEN EIRA 1-3 1-6 1-8 4-11 (35)
Goals. Chapman, Plaza, Musster.
Best. J. Musster, R. Brodie, B. Galbraith, M. Mayne, A. Maxwell, J. Simonetta.
SUPER accurate Glen Eira was much too strong in the Reserves.
PRAHRAN 2-4 3-4 4-7 7-10 (52)
GLEN EIRA 6-1 8-4 13-5 18-6 (114)
Goals:A. Perez 3, P. Pavlou 2, N. O''Sullivan, D. Marrows
Best :J. Matherson, J. Partridge, B. Graham, P. Rhodes, A. Perez, N. O''Sullivan
PRAHRAN 0-1 0-2 1-5 4-9 (33)
HAMPTON ROVERS 2-2 6-3 7-5 8-7 (55)