After a big Friday night in the Coach, the pre-game message from the Gaffer was that Queens Park had beaten there own second team 11-1, so this was going to be a tough game and everyone had to turn up fresh as a daisy. Sadly, Ken “don’t do training” Cogley was off up the coast pampering himself for Mother’s Day, Patsy “the best paid labourer in Sydney” was off gallivanting in Portugal, and Maggy “Mango Djemba Djemba” had gone AWOL – reports are he’d been spotted on Bondi Beach pouring pints of sea water over young lads he thought were his teammates.
So we lined up at the House of Paine with Flano deputising in goal, Steve, Downer, Ross and Downie at the back; Mark, Dave, Nick and Buttsy in midfield; Dan “I gave myself man of the match, mam” Eeles playing in the hole; and Johnny Rhodes up front on his f’ing lonesome.
With a packed Paine Reserve watching on, the boys started off imperiously, playing the ball around nicely and putting Queens Park under sustained pressure (making them look like a right bunch of wee f@nnies). Indeed, we soon went ahead after Dave won the ball back in midfield, played it in to Dan Eeles, who threaded a perfectly weighted ball in behind for Nick to run onto and dispatch in the back of the net. 1-0 Barny Boys. We then continued to press and win the ball all over the pitch, leaving Queens Park resorting to aimless long balls up to their front men, and we really should have been another goal to the head, but for a lack of composure in the final third.
Things took a turn for the worst midway through the first half when, after an innocuous challenge, Downie suddenly started walking slowly off the pitch, with his tail (bone, snapped in half) between his legs. Without any sympathy from the rest of the lads, and to shouts of WTF you doing son, at least go down, Downie was replaced by Duck, and ambled off to A&E where he was diagnosed with having his chest perforated by his collar bone – ouch, get better soon Downie.
Not sure what happened between then and half time as a bit of a malaise set in and the boys sat back, letting Queens Park come back into the game. Flano looked the part making a couple of good saves, and we went in at half time 1-0 in the lead, looking to come out in the second half and put the game to bed. Sadly, we came out after the break lacking bite and penetration and gradually Queens Park started dominating possession and chances. It felt only a matter of time before they’d nick one back and they did, although in dubious fashion. Up until this point the ref had had a great game – in light of new rules, I won’t say how much of a howler he’d actually had, but needless to say he was utter sh*te. In this case, he first allowed a foul throw, then ignored a Mayweather-like forearm to Rossco’s chest, before the Queens Park player slotted the equaliser. 1-1 and looking a little like LFC…
The usual abuse from the gaffer on the sidelines went on deaf ears, so he rang in the changes with Brendo coming on up front and Gerry and Iano going into midfield to add some bite and energy. Unfortunately, Wheno then showed a little too much skill and ended up injuring both ankle and knee as he turned a QP player inside out. Then, 10 minutes from time, Queens Park dealt another blow and took the lead in scrappy fashion, and the game petered out with the boys losing 2-1.
Whilst it was a great start to the game against quality opposition, we need to show that hunger and intensity for the full 90 minutes, so everyone at training on Wednesday (Ken excluded for whatever reason). Last but not least, I’d give man of the match to myself but I was turd. In all seriousness, MOTM undoubtedly goes to Dave who put in a great shift and was instrumental in winning the ball back time after time, making the Queens Park midfield look ordinary at best. Also, hoping Downie and Stevo aren’t on the sidelines too long.