It was a beautiful day down at Paine Reserve. The sun was shining and the field was in good condition – a perfect day for a game of footie. The AA4 lads were down a few players but were still in confident mood of making it three wins in a row. The opposition looked like they had decided to field their under-16’s team rather than their AA4s. Despite their youthful expressions, they looked fit and ready to run all day. Thus, they were not to be under-estimated.
Wynners went with a straight 4-4-2 again. The big man courageously put his hand up for goal-keeping duties as Billy the kid was unavailable on this occasion. GI Joe Adams, Richy, Chris Hammer-ilton and Barry were at the back. Wes, Marco Hector Antonio Barrera, Ferg and Brendan were in the middle. With Nick and Johnny Rhodes up front. Matt, Dan and Anders were on the bench. Meanwhile, Doctor T was in the The Court of Arbitration for Sport trying to get his suspension overturned. Gav Roberts was called for a character reference whereas Al Dowling flew back to Ireland because he didn’t want anything to do with the sorry affair. A loyal group of beautiful female supporters had gathered outside the court-house to show their solidarity for Doctor T. Some ladies held up placards which read “Free the BIG T-Bone” and “T, you can knock my back doors in whenever you want”. Riots had kicked off down in Cronulla in support of the medicine man. The case continues.
The game kicked-off and the BUFC lads were straight onto the front foot. Some good play by Brendan on the right set the tone for the opening quarter. His hard work won a penalty after being blatantly taken out of it in the penalty area. The spot kick was confidently despatched by Johnny Rhodes. 1-0 to the home side. The ‘BRA boys then started to get a bit of a foothold in mid-field. Their youthful exuberance resulted in some penetrating runs into the penalty box. On one occasion, Chris was left a bit exposed; there was a tangle of legs: penalty. The penalty was stuck well and we were back to all square at 1-1.
For the next two goals, Ferg didn’t actually see what happened but he heard the cheers from the ‘BRA Boys’ supporters. He was off the field of play, chucking his guts up in the toilet after the pain of getting kneed in the groin by big Rich got too much (my fault by the way Richy – should have given you a shout lad). So, yes, they scored twice. It sounded like they were shite goals and Dan confirmed they looked worse than they sounded. 1-3 down. In fairness, the lads kept pushing. Nick had a rasping shot from 20 yards that smacked off the crossbar. Barry had a great shot from the left that whizzed past the post. That crucial comeback goal would have to wait until the second half. 1-3 down at half-time.
Some home truths were spoken at half-time within the confines of the changing rooms. We needed to keep our shape and track back when they advanced with the ball. We went to a 3-5-2 formation. This proved a master-stroke – we probably had 70% possession in the second half. A combination of a better formation and greater hunger meant our second goal wasn’t long in coming. Ferg threaded the ball through to Johnny Rhodes who did brilliantly to hold the ball up and keep possession. Johnny played the ball to Nick who swivelled and shot – a great goal on the turn. 2-3 and we were back in it. What happened next was a cruel blow. They scored a screamer of a free-kick. It was poor play by Ferg to lose possession initially. However, it was a no-brainer: Hector won the ball. It wasn’t a free-kick but the ref seen it differently. The rest they say is history. 2-4 down.
But the Barney Boys weren’t finished. Brendan scored on a follow-up from a corner. 3-4 down with ten minutes to go – could the lads salvage something from this game? We must have had ten corners and five free-kicks from the edge of the box in the second half. Shots were flying in from every angle. But the ball stubbornly wouldn’t cross the line. A painful 3 – 4 defeat. As Jimmy Greaves once said: “It’s a funny old game.” We’ll play worse than this and win during the season lads. Heads up and let’s go again.
Man of the match: Brendan. Won a penalty, scored a goal and kept the intensity up all afternoon.
Great effort: Wynners in goals – never easy to play goals and he made some brave diving saves especially in the first half.
Comic highlight of the match: The fact that we didn’t win this match. As Doctor T shouted at the end of the first session of his court appeal (muscles bulging, veins pumping – security guards dragging him away to his cell): “This isn’t over!” Let’s get back at it on Wednesday evening lads. Fergal L T Gallagher.