Well it was rained and rained and rained, and it was windy. We didn’t all move to Australia for this! But nevertheless, there was a game of football to be had, and we we’re expecting a tough game. Coogee on the otherhand, after hearing of our ongoing goalkeeping issue had decided that we were there for for the taking, and insultingly had a shot straight from kick-off, which amused everyone on the pitch.
Against the wind and the rain, the first half was always going to be a bit tough, and so it proved to be with 60% of the game played in our half. But we defended well, Marcel had a max of two shots to keep out, which he did, but all Coogee could do was win corners, and then do nothing with them – though if we could knock the same balls in as they were, i’ve no doubt we’d be scoring a few. What Coogee did do, a lot, was complain, about everything, tackles, headers, free kicks etc etc etc, eventually, after 6 marginal offside decisions went against us, and we realised every single Coogee appeal was being accepted by the referee, we started a bit of complaining of our own, though Baker got a bit confused and started complaining at his own team.
But before that happened, we were playing well, working hard for each other, Stuey and Mac both getting up and down the wings, Ian with his champagne football, Jonesy winning absolutely everything in the air, Chris Neale and Adam defending well, Barry and Abdul working hard up front and Baker in behind them absolutely causing havoc. We were playing well, and at the end of the first half we walked off the pitch at 0-0 with our heads held high and secure in the knowledge of a job well done, and surely an inevitable couple of goals to come during the second half. No changes during half-time, so happy was the manager.
But as with all good plans, sometimes they go awry and this was to be no exception. Someone forgot to tell Coogee that they’d had their chance and were now supposed to give up. Needless to say, they didn’t. They immediately started to apply a bit of pressure and we had to resort to clearing our lines. Alas at this point Baker went off with his fourth season ending injury in two seasons, and this proved to be somewhat important, as within 10 minutes we were 2-0 down.
The first Coogee goal came from down our left hand side, a good cross towards the back post and the unmarked attacker had a free header on goal from about six yards. 1-0 Ouch! So we pushed on, and then all of a sudden the ball is lost in the middle, it breaks to their forward who lashes the ball just inside the post, leaving Marcel with no chance 2-0 – how did that happen ?
From then on Coogee sat back and defended well, mopping up pressure and keeping us restricted to corners and long shots. Of course on a different day, we would have had at least one penalty, and possibly two, but the referee being unsighted ignored our appeals – much to Coogee’s delight and our dismay. One of them was absolutely stonewall penalty with the defender stopping the ball with his left hand from getting to the line, but sometimes that’s just the way it goes. And then, the incident that saw our chances of salvation walk off the pitch. Abdul is clean through, just on the edge of the box and is brought down by the defender, Abdul ignores the fact that we got a free kick and puts his hands in the defenders face – which leaves the referee with absolutely no choice but to send him off, so off he trudges and we’re down to 10 men.
We keep pressing but can’t muster any clear cut chances, and apart from a few long range efforts from Adam – and that previously mentioned stonewall penalty, it just wasn’t to be. Still, not to worry, it’s a long season, and from a team currently decimated by injuries, we can look forward to the return match with confidence. Personally, i can’t wait.
MoM – Jonesy.