Sunday 29th August, Mission Fields, Centennial Park, Barnstoneworth Utd Vs Coogee Utd
On another fine ‘Spring comes early’ day in the Eastern Suburbs, Barnstoneworth AA2’s arrived for their 2nd Semi Final in better mood than expected considering the poor showing last week against Dunbar. That mood may have had something to do with another team night out down the Tool Shed on Friday, a night that I was not able to make due to health reasons (no I wasn’t injured).
Amazingly, everyone turned up pretty much on time, considering that it was a car free day at the park, maybe the 100million e-mails sent out by Sean to explain this on Friday actually did the trick for a change. The only person that didn’t was the suspended Abdul who turned up after the final whistle, about 1.50pm, arriving to come and watch for a 1pm kick-off, nice work as usual.
After a bit more of an intense warm up (running lengths of the pitch instead of widths) and a five a side game before Sean’s usual team talk where he tells us how shit we were last week, the game kicks off.
It’s a fairly spirited start from both sides, both trying to get the ball down and play, both trying to get the ball wide and out of the sand dunes in the centre of the pitch. The first meaningful effort came from Barnstoneworth, a long throw in from Ben ‘Tool Shed’ Grant is cleared to the edge of the box where Baker was on hand to hit a controlled volley which threatened to loop over the keeper, he fumbles but then collects before the rabid dogs in red and white could strike.
A few end to end exchanges took place with a couple of long range efforts coming in from Coogee, then a big moment in the first half. A corner sent over from BTSG is headed back from the back post and then a big strapping lad in red and white crashes a header against the bar (can’t remember if it was Dene, Dan or Jonesy) the ball rebounds to Baker, to leap for a simple nod home only to be shoved from behind and ending up going down like a bag of shit. Penalty! No says the ref!
At this point I’m seeing stars and am brought off for Mac and I’m afraid that I don’t remember the goal. Anyway, injustice is dually served as Coogee go up the other end and score, arguably against the run of play and probably from that lanky number 12 who won bloody everything! 1-0 to Coogee.
Heads are not down though and Barnstoneworth continued to fight on! Another injury scare as Potter lands funny on his shoulder, luckily popping the thing back in before reaching the point of no return, Sean comes on for a 5 minute cameo. Baker back on for Mac. With Dan T and Jonesy battling hard to win things in the middle of the park and some endless running by Adam and Garnsey on the wings we finally created the chance we needed, and it was the latter that made the difference! Another corner from Granty caused a kerfuffle in the box, Adam’s shot is blocked and it falls to Garnsey on his last game for the club (for two years at least) to leather the ball home! Right footed I might add! Not a bad way to sign off after 7 years with the club, 1-1 and fully deserved.
The 2nd half turned out to be an extremely tough and closely fought 45 minutes with chances made at either end, Bryn nearly getting on the end of a few through balls from midfield only for the on rushing keeper to get there first, and big Brian having to pull off a string of fantastic saves at the other end to keep Coogee at bay. Subs had to be made to freshen things up so off came Baker, Adam and a standing ovation for the departing Garnsey, and on came Niall, John and Mac, all putting in solid performances.
Finally the moment that everyone had waited for, Another whipped in corner, this time from the left and finally the Coogee number 12 was beaten in the air, and it was Dene who rose highest to send a bullet header into the back of the net, and send the 40 something supporters in the corner into raptures, 2-1 Barnstoneworth.
From then on it was all Coogee, apart from a couple of breaks from the red and whites; it was backs against the wall. Barry was back on for Ben to freshen up the attack.
Step up our back 3 and our keeper to save our ass on more than one occasion, Brian had to tip over a long range effort, Potter playing on with a busted shoulder making some scything tackles with is go go gadget legs, Deno jumping 10 feet in the air trying his best to keep out the number 12 and Captain Chris getting every part of his anatomy to keep the ball out of our net in a heart stopping final 10 minutes.
Music to our ears as the referee blows the full time whistle, and we are into the Grand Final
Once again we showed our character, coming from behind for about the 5th time this season, proving we are the hardest team to beat in the league and proving why we deserve to be in the Grand Final for the 2nd year running! One more game to win now fellas, a performance like that again could see us lift that trophy I can taste that victory beer already!
The Key Moments:
Goal of the Match: Has to be Dene’s winner, rising above the Coogee number 12 who before then had won pretty much everything.
Moment of the Match: Garnsey putting icing on his 7 year cake with an equalising goal in his last game for the club (for now).
Save of the Match: Always hard to take a save away from Brian, but has to be Chris Neale putting life and limb on the ‘goal’-line with his clearance.
Controversial Decision of the Match: A blatant penalty turned down which was the catalyst for Coogee taking the lead.
Man of the Match: That’s up to you fellas!
Author: Neil Baker