After two defeats to start the season, the Barney Boys needed a victory to get the show back on the road. A home match against Sydney Uni was the start of the fight-back for the AA4s. Speaking of fights – the AA2s put on some great pre-game entertainment with their re-enactment of WrestleMania 29. It certainly got the AA4 lads pumped up. Doctor T banged out 300 push-ups and declared he was ready to play football.
Wynners and Gav went with a straight 4-4-2 formation. They decided they needed a bit of steel in the team so they recalled the legend Chris “The Hammer” Hamilton. Chris started the match at left-back and put in a commanding shift – threading some great through-balls to Barry Blake on the left-wing. On the other side, Anders was playing with great composure linking up beautifully with Adonis (sorry, Brendan) on the right-wing.
The first goal soon arrived with Wes following up on a shot by Barry to bundle the ball across the line. 1-0. Johnny Rhodes then went on a goal spree – scoring the ‘complete hat-trick’: one with his head, one with his left foot and one with his right foot. The third was his best with great work by Brendan on the right to knock the ball across for Johnny to thump in a shot from 18 yards. Great play all round. Nick also chipped in with a goal – stabbing the ball across the line from a fumbled catch by the Sydney Uni goalie. 5-0 at half-time.
Doctor T was delighted at half-time – another 400 push-ups for the craic. In fairness all the boys were fairly content at half-time. It was a shame Dan wasn’t there because he definitely would have fired out some love squats. However, the job wasn’t done. Murmurings started to abound around Paine Reserve – could the lads obtain the magic 8-1 scoreline? It definitely was a possibility. Billy and Nick weren’t having any of that chat though – Billy wanted a cleansheet whereas Nick wanted to win 10-0. Brendan – obviously thinking about the liquid rewards of an 8-1 scoreline – had other ideas. He asked Billy to score an own goal if we were 8-0 up with thirty seconds left. Billy laughed and asked Brendan: “are you drunk lad?” Brendan replied: “well, actually, yes. I probably still am.”
The second half started where the first half finished – that’s right – on the half-way line. The AA4s tore into the Uni lads. Anders pushed forward for a corner. Barry floated the ball into the box and it was partially cleared. Barry smacked it back into the box and Anders redirected the ball into the bottom corner. 6-0. Anders was delighted, ecstatic, elated, and high as a kite (rumours that he was out on the session with Dan the night before were unfounded). It’s hard to do Anders’ goal celebration justice. The closest representation is Diego Maradona’s goal celebration for Argentina against Greece at the USA 1994 FIFA World Cup.
When Anders scores the winner in the Grand Final he has promised to stop being so reserved and go absolutely ballistic. All the lads look forward to seeing that in late August.
Nick then got his second of the game – a powerful drive that beat the ‘keeper all ends up. He was nicely set-up by Hector who was doing some sterling work in midfield. 7-0. The 8-1 scoreline was definitely becoming more of a possibility now. Even Sydney Uni did their part – scoring a peach of a goal from a quickly taken free-kick. 7-1. Just one more goal needed and then free beers that night. Brendan was on edge. He needed those beers to take the shine off his hangover from the night before. It’s safe to say he has never tried so hard on a football pitch. In fairness all the lads pushed hard for the final goal. Johnny Rhodes had some unlucky finishes. The ‘keeper made some saves. Doctor T had some mazy runs but didn’t shoot. Barry hit the crossbar. Alas, the eighth goal did not arrive. Final score: 7-1.
Post match the lads were disappointed to miss out on the magic 8-1 scoreline but knew obtaining their first victory was more important. The season had finally started. To celebrate Brendan went out on the session anyway. Man of the match: Anders for his composure, goal but most importantly his goal celebration. Special mention as well for Chris: great effort. Comic highlight of the match: Billy playing a one-two with himself and his right post. Onwards and upwards we march.
Fergal L T Gallagher.