Sunday 15th April 2012
UNSW v Barnstoneworth Utd – 1pm ko
David Phillips Sports Field
So the 2nd game of the season was upon us after the Easter break against what was thought to be tricky opponents.
The 2nds settled around the chosen pitch only to be told we had to play on the Astro pitch next door. Uproar, disappointment, anger, arguments, heated discussions with the ref ‘how is this possible’, even tears from a couple of the players boiled over…………………… after the news Captain Chris Neale would start on the bench, and the players weren’t too chuffed about moving pitches either!! Boom boom.
A few changes were announced to spice things up for the ‘Man City like’ large talented squad. Through the history of the club, Barnstoneworth Utd has never experienced such strength in-depth on the sidelines. ‘Bite your legs Smithy’ and ‘Bite your legs, rip them off and chuck them down your throat Dan Taylor’ not even playing a part due to injury and too many players being available.
So, after a quick warm up on the unfamiliar surface the game was ready to kick off.
A lively start to the game with limited quality would sum up the first 10-15 mins, both teams not really switched on or marking tightly at times. A couple of dangerous looking attacks from Bryn and Niall didn’t result in much but there were gaps to attack for the 2nds and things looked promising. Gerry had plenty of space on the right and settled quickly into the game, and Adam managed to a take a few people out early on – normal game for Ad’s then.
With Smithy not on the pitch to kick, hassle or stress anyone, he chose to abuse the young linesman to check his eyes were open for an offside call. No card resulted and the linesman took it on the chin.
And so to the first goal. Some good work in the middle of the park allowed us to attack the final 3rd of the oppositions pitch and a throw in resulted. Long throw from Ben ‘I used to love the Toolshed but it’s so last year’ Grant was flicked on by Bryn allowing Jonesy to escape his marker, the ball sat up lovely and GOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL. Great strike in the bottom left corner, a tidy finish from the impressive midfielder and 1-0 to Barnstoneworth.
Some slack marking and dangerous play from UNSW down their left caused some concern for our defence, and Ken had to come to the rescue a couple of times in a short worrying spell.
Ben signalled to the bench that he was a little puffed out and was also hungry, so it was time to make some changes and bring some experience on. The call to shore up the defence was upon us, so on came Mr Neale…… and a couple of goals shortly resulted to UNSW. Hmm that didn’t go to plan….
Slack marking for a set piece and UNSW equalised confidently to level the game at 1-1 before Adam decided he’d had enough of the pitch so rolled his ankle on it so he could go off and soak up some rays on the sidelines. This left a big gap at the back on our right side at the time and UNSW blitzed forward, taking advantage and clinically slotting home.
Half Time 2-1 to UNSW
Harsh words were softly spoken at half time and the uphill battle to pull our fingers out AGAIN was needed, just like Pagewood a couple of weeks back.
The 2nd half started better for us, Baker attacking in the middle of the park shortly after the restart and blasted a cracking “40 yarder” which was destined for the top corner, only for the keeper to get his little finger to it and it rattle the post.
That could have been the turnaround Barnstoneworth needed, but then moments later, a mix up in defence and a poor clearance bounced of Chris Neale’s big arse and fell to 3 hungry strikers, one of which tucked away a 3rd goal nicely, 3-1 up to the home team and possibly the game was lost today for the inconsistent 2nds.
But, something seemed to click and suddenly we started to take control of the game and played to our pre-season form. Good work from Ben on the right, freed Starky to pass an accurate pass to Baker, who fired again from range, the keeper not being able to do enough this time, a good finish to get us back to 3-2. There was hope at last.
Everyone stepped up a level and it was all Barnstoneworth for the crowd of 21 ‘ish’ to enjoy. Big numbers, big game I suppose…….
A free kick from 30 yards out on our left side and it was time for the trusty boot of Ian to step up. An accurate shot went through a number of players and the old onion bag was collecting Barnstoneworths 3rd goal to level the match. Great come back, could they now dare to get the winner??? Surely not…..
More impressive play from the 2nds and it was just a matter of time before the winner came. UNSW had a couple of half chances but the defence coped well and it was from there that the 4th came.
A long accurate clearance up field aimed at Starky from the experienced old timer Neale, allowed him to win a tussle with the defender and he was clear. Cool as a cucumber Starky broke free and slotted the ball home for us to take the lead. Awesome come back, effort and class written all over it!
A couple more shots fired the UNSW goal but were just wide and it was time for the ref to blow up to finish a very entertaining game.
The aim to finish the season unbeaten was still alive and although much work still needs to be done to be able to focus for a whole 90 mins rather than just one chuffin half each game, the signs were good for some further classy displays this season from a very solid squad. Team spirit could be the matter of a goal or two in our favour this season, and we have that alright.
Great win chaps, a bit more focusing at times and effort and we are going to be very hard to beat but the effort needs to be constant and not in spurts (Ben’s ex said the same thing about his love making I believe) so let’s keep working at it and it will improve.
Final Score – UNSW 3 – 4 Barnstoneworth.
Some great performances from Gerry and Jonesy in particular will make this week’s MOM a tough one! See you at training Wednesday chaps, I will go…I will go….honest….
Man of the match: Gerry McEneaney – Consistently good throughout, some great tackling and accurate passing from the central midfielder turned winger gets him the vote from his fellow players.