AA2 Grand Final Match Report v Dunbar (05/09/10)

Venue: Heffron 4
Starting line up: Brian, Chris, Dene, Potter, John G, Jonesy, Dan T, Adam, Baker, Ben, Barry
Subs: Mac, Ian, Abdul, Sean, The Spirit of Garnsey

BUFC were still smarting from a 2-1 defeat two weeks ago handed out by the opposition, but make no mistake, we fancied our chances and would be up for this one!.

Conditions were very tough due to the unseasonal blustery winds that threatened to reduce the game to a farce. Fortunately, the BUFC lads with their Northern hemisphere experience of playing in crap conditions rose to the challenge and coped far better than the opposition. The managers insistence that we play against the wind first half was greeted by some as a bit odd, but having let Abdul make the decision last time against Bondi and it backfired spectacularly, it was agreed by all that people could voice their opinion, and then they would do as they were told!

The first ten minutes, it was all Barnstoneworth down the right hand side, as dictated by the wind, with Barry starting off on fire (not literally) and combining well down the right hand side with Angry Adam to win multiple throw-ins and searching balls down towards the corner flag. It was looking promising, a ball is worked from the right, across the face of goal and it’s Baker on it to hammer a left footed shot, erm, skywards, actually it was a good effort from a tough chance and illustrated perfectly the domination of Barnstoneworth.

Finally Dunbar started to come into the game slightly, but long balls down the left were highly unlikely to stay in and so it was, almost every chance they had petered out for a BUFC throw in. And so it continued, Dan Taylor and Jonesy giving their all in the middle of the park and challenging for every ball in the air, which was difficult given the windy conditions.

Dunbar try the other side of the pitch for a change and in a slightly exuberant fashion Jonesy brings the man down. 25 yards out and with the wind behind them, this is dangerous. The wall begins to line up, Brian directing things from the left hand corner, and suddenly a quick free kick is heading into the gaping goal – step forward, the Mighty Brian, who just reacts in time, diving to his right and punching the ball clear to save a certain goal. That was very very close, and we were asleep. Good free kick, great save!

Time is moving on with Chris, Dene and Potter, marshalling the back line expertly without ever looking under any undue pressure we still needed to make the breakthrough. Jonesy off and Ian making his long awaited return from blisters, slips into the centre midfield. A couple of minutes later, Ben off, having played well so far, Abdul on, John off and Mac on. They were straight into the action, a good strong tackle from Mac, (as requested), the ball breaks to Abdul, who dwells on the ball, drawing men towards him, then he slips it back into the left hand corner, a cross from Mac and the ball reaches Barry who takes 17 touches, has a cup of tea and prods the ball home. 1 nil – and a big ‘f*ck you’ from Abdul and Mac to their manager for not starting them.  [:)]  A great bit of football, and a deserved lead. Great substitutions!

For the next five minutes Dunbar have woken up and are right back in the game, a great ball down the left channel behind the defender and the Dunbar forward is in, three yards out and with the goal at his mercy. He fluffs his shot though, and the ball rolls harmlessly into Brian’s hands, a bit of a let off that one.

Half time whistle goes and the lads walk off the pitch happy, and it’s time for the usual team talk that everyone ignores. In truth though, just as in most of the games this season, there’s not much to say, the lads are playing very well, couldn’t really ask for more, so we stick to the, “keep the ball down”, “talk”, “play it easy” and “concentrate”. 45 minutes to go.

The game recommences and it’s more of the same, but now the wind is behind BUFC and we’re looking in control. Baker is still harassing the defenders, Dan is proving that he’s the man that makes the midfield tick, Abdul is causing the opposition all sorts of problems with his pace, Adam is playing with the spirit of Garnsey, Barry is having his best game all year and Mac is still telling the manager to ‘f*ck off’ by battling for every ball.

Dunbar haven’t given up though, and after they stole the league championship from under our noses, it was hardly surprising. They’re applying themselves, but also starting to get a bit angry with and have started fouling needlessly. Perfecto!

After 10 minutes Ians blisters are threatening to explode and he comes off having performed well in his 20 minute cameo and can be happy with his contribution. Jonesy is back on after a well earned breather and makes his physical presence known immediately with a couple of nice and simple ball winning tackles and laying the ball off.

A corner to Dunbar, that floats harmlessly into the box, time slows down, and it looks as though no-one on the pitch was expecting it. Nobody attacks the ball, no defenders, no attackers, and it comes to Brian who looks as though he’ll pick it out of air…….and inexplicably, he decides to volley it out instead. Alas, he volleys it straight into the top corner of the net, the ball literally comes off his foot and travels backwards. To say the watching masses are surprised is an understatement. But it’s 1-1 and game on.

Fortunately, we have a man, who can change a game. He’s not a big man, but he’s got bags of skill, pace and an eye for goal, though simple things like turning up on time for games are often beyond him. Such is his mercurial genius.

The game kicks off again, moments later, in one of the quickest ripostes ever, the ball is played to Abdul on the right hand side of midfield, he brings teh ball down, turns, takes a couple of touches, accelerates, leaves the opposition standing and leathers the ball, hard and low, past the Dunbar goalkeeper. 2-1 !!!!!!!!!! Have some of that.

We’re so on top for the next 15 minutes the referee decides to get involved. First of all he tells the entire bench to sit down – even though we’re all wearing bright green tops and John Gordon is trying to warm up.

Eventually John Gordon is allowed to retake the pitch and Mac comes off again, he looks disappointed, and rightly so. But with it being his first season in 10 years, a trip to the World Cup and a metatarsal injury he can be pleased with his efforts this year. I have no doubt Adidas will be looking to renew their sponsorship of the young fella next year. Ben Grant also comes back on and his sponsorship with Burger King / McDonalds / KFC and Pizza Hut, may also lead to him being available for selection next year.

John G is immediately into the action with a ball down the left, it’s a big battle with the right back which he just comes out on top of and wins a free kick. It comes to nothing though and normal play is resumed. Then the referee berates John Gordon for not taking a throw-in and leaving it for our normal taker. Presumably the refs in the Premiership have the power to dictate who should take throw-ins….. ??

Dunbar are pressing, and we’re defending deep, a long ball over the top just as Dunbar are trying to make a substitution. Ben Grant is standing just inside his own half, the referees assistant, gets it completely wrong, and raises her flag. The referee, to his credit, gets it completely right, and play continues. Ben steams down the left hand flank, and pulls the ball back to Adam, who rolls the ball into the net with not a defender in sight. Inexplicably the ref who was 35 yards behind play decides that Adam is now offside and the goal is disallowed. Odd decision. Should have been 3-1 and game over.

It remains 2-1 and Dunbar are desperately trying to get something out of the game, but like waves crashing against the three rocks in defence, they’re not able to get the ball in the area, and their attacks are coming to nothing.

Ten minutes to go and there’s a contentious decision made, the manager brings himself on in place of Baker, will this be the managers last game, who knows ? Still, he puts himself about a little bit, getting in Dene’s way on one occasion and picking up a couple of loose balls around his own area. Then comes his moment….a great header from Adam and the ball breaks 35 yards from the opposition goal. He’s onto it like a flash, and blew it, completely and utterly !

I’m still having recurring nightmares, and likely to for the next 20 years until my memory falters – actually, by the time I’m 60 I’ll probably have convinced everyone I strode onto the ball and majestically smacked the ball into the roof of the net, just like I should have done. Alas I didn’t shoot, with the ball sitting up perfectly and instead tried to pass to Abdul, and didn’t even manage that properly. Never going to forget that moment – ever!

A couple of minutes later, Abdul gets injured and Barry comes back on.

There’s just time for a couple more aimless attacks from both sides, and the final whistle blows.

AA2 – Grand Final winners 2010

A deserved victory, probably the team performance of the year, and a successful season all in all. We could easily have won the league being 1-0 up against Coogee, Dunbar and Maroubra in the last few weeks of the season, but it wasn’t to be, and it does give us something to aim for next year.

Well done lads, be proud of yourselves.