BY HIS admission, Michael Beauchamp doesn’t score many goals, so when he does they’re worth celebrating. When he scores them in a Sydney derby, however, against his old club, it qualifies as one of the great moments in his career.
His 76th-minute strike to seal a 2-0 win wasn’t much more than a simple finish but it still required him being in the right place at the right time, something Beauchamp has hardly been known for, at least in attack.
Since beginning his career at Marconi in 2000, Beauchamp had scored only three goals until Saturday night and only one – with Sydney FC last season – in the A-League.
Even though he’s been to two World Cups with the Socceroos, make no mistake that Saturday night’s goal was important.
“For me to score in any game is a great achievement. I was very happy,” he said. “At training I’ve missed plenty from close range, so I was happy that one hit the back of the net.”
While Sydney FC repeatedly refused to consider extending Beauchamp’s contract last season – despite having the option for a second year – he holds no bitterness towards his former employers. It does make winning that little bit sweeter, however.
“I don’t have any ill-feeling against them as a club,” he said. ”I’m very happy where I am now and honoured to be playing underneath the boss [Tony Popovic] and it’s a great achievement in itself to be captaining the side. I won’t look back in anger.”
Asked if it was a blessing in disguise that he had been able to change clubs, the 31-year-old was adamant it had proved exactly that. “Some things in life happen for a reason and moving across to Western Sydney, every session I’ve learnt something,” he said. “I’ll continue to learn throughout the season and I’m a better player for it.”
The only player apart from teammate Ante Covic to have played in Melbourne, Central Coast-Newcastle and Sydney derbies, Beauchamp keenly lapped up the spectacle in the stands as much as on the pitch.
“Overall, the derby, the atmosphere, us getting the win – for me, looking around the stadium, there were plenty of red-and-black jerseys and it was a great achievement by the club overall. I think it’s another stepping stone for us,” he said. “The spirit that the boys showed, it was great character again and there were times we were under pressure and we dealt with it and kept going forward. It was fantastic.”
The Wanderers skipper praised his teammates for not going into their shells after the first goal and for continually pushing in search of a second.
“We’ve talked about that in the past as well. There was a game this season where we lost our way and just knocked the ball long. We didn’t stay to our structure,” he said. “[Here] we showed that if we stick to our structure, we can get the right result. We believed from the first minute that we can get the win and that’s credit not only to the boys but the coaching staff who instilled that in us as players.
“It just shows the unity that we have as a club. It’s another step forward for us and something to remember.”
The Wanderers’ defence has been a cornerstone this season and Beauchamp said he was proud to be part such of strong rearguard.
“That’s the thing we’ve been working most on now for 20-odd weeks and it doesn’t happen overnight,” he said. “That’s credit, again, to the coaching staff for instilling that belief in us. That’s what we’ve been training for since day one, from the forwards to the backs, and overall it’s just a great achievement from the whole team.”
Although the Wanderers will still be considered outsiders to challenge for the title despite their good run, “anything is possible”, Beauchamp reckons. ”Teams are starting to realise that we can play football and we’re not here to make up the numbers,” he said.
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