Hume City did themselves proud in their FFA Cup semi-final clash with A-League champions Melbourne Victory with a fighting display that kept them in the game until the 88th minute, when Victory was held to a slender 1-0 lead.
But two goals in the dying minutes of the game gave the big boys a 3-0 advantage, a scoreline that rather flattered them and did not reflect how much trouble the NPL Victoria side gave the A League standard bearers.
The only downside for Hume, which was looking to make this match a money spinner, was the crowd – just on 6,500.
Victory fans, for whom this was an away game, didn’t turn up in anything like the numbers that might have been expected – perhaps saving their cash for the final against Perth Glory, which will be played at AAMI Park on November 7.
Hume, as a NPL club, has a much smaller fan base; many of their supporters did show up and make a lot of noise, creating a good atmosphere.
But the question has to be asked: would this game have been better being played at Hume’s small ABD Stadium at Broadmeadows?
When the team from the northern suburbs first qualified to play Victory there was talk of the match being staged at Etihad Stadium, although that was contingent on Hume being able to sign one or more of a wish list of big name foreign players on a one-off basis.
Had they been able to secure the services of Ronaldinho, Arda Turan, David Trezeguet or Giorgios Karagounis the numbers would undoubtedly have been far greater.
But they didn’t, and there was a feeling, when the adventure ended, that their chances might have been better had they just stuck to their knitting and played the game in their ownenvironment, which would in the circumstances have turned into an anti-Victory fortress.
It is easy to be wise after the event, as Lou Acevski, the Hume coach, acknowledged.
But he also admitted that his team might have had a better shot at pulling off one of the biggest upsets in the n domestic game had they stayed on their own pitch.
“Playing on your home turf, its small, its compact, I believe it would have been fantastic, but the FFA did not let us do that. The crowd of 6500 has done us no favours; at our place 5000 would have been capacity and the atmosphere would have been fantastic.”