After a surprising return to form last weekend it was a trip to Turruwul Park to face league leaders Redfern. We beat them 1-0 at the start of the season, and back then things seemed a lot rosier, and this was always destined to be a tough game.
A few changes to the starting line up with Joe and Fergs off on their jollies in Melbourne, but we were re-enforced by the return of the Griffin bros and prodigal son Stu.
Flanno decided to turn up this week so he started in goal, with a back four of Bull, Joe S, Wynton and Anders. Midfield of Wes on the left, Sean and The Fonz in the centre and Marti on the right. Up front was the self-appointed VC who promoted himself to Captain in the absence of the Irish Leighton Baines, and Dan Hogan.
Stu on the bench with Mrs Stu, Alex and Chris.
The opposition looked fairly familiar, except for the little fella who was introducing himself to his own team just before kick off.
The game started off and the first chance fell to Barnstoneworth, after a mid air back heel flick from the scouse superhero, that didn’t quite come off, but still good enough to play a 1-2 with Niall and then a diagonal ball through to Wes who is steaming down the left wing. Alas the defenders just got back to cover and the chance was gone.
The opposition were pretty young and tall in the centre of midfield so we bypassed their height by continually hitting the ball into random areas of midfield to help keep them on their toes. When the ball did actually get hoofed into the centre, we did manage to win more than our share of the headers, which given the aerial prowess of the Fonz, was impressive.
Our passing was better than usual at times, even Wynton getting in on the act, passing to Sean in his usual cultured way i.e he absolutely blasted the ball at his chest from twelve yards. Fortunately, our now cultured superhero, simply chested the ball upwards and then flicked the ball over his head to Niall in one easy movement. “Great control Sean” shouted absolutely no-one
Wynton and Joe were both having good solid games at the back, with Anders and Bull both combining well with midfield and things were looking good. Niall was dropping deep to pick up the ball from midfield before playing 1-2’s and we were actively carving open the opposition on occasion, but the ball just wasn’t quite falling to Dan or Niall in positions where they could get a decent shot off.
Wes was hauled off after 25 mins, much to his dismay, and shortly thereafter Dan H followed him, and they were replaced by Alex and Stu.
Following a bit of pressure, we had a corner. Sean standing on the edge of the box (completely unmarked), the balls hit in, Sean steams in “Sean’s Ball”, “SEAN’S BALL” as he rises like a salmon, neck sinews straining with effort, forehead and ego expanding exponentially, the ball hits Anders on the head, (as Anders has completely ignored Sean) and flies over the bar. The alternative viewpoint is thus ” i remember a dwarf Englishman cursing after i connected with a header that narrowly missed the mark. The ball was about two feet higher than his fingertips when standing on his tippy toes”
Anders is correct in his assertion, but the thing he forgets is that dwarf Englishman taught Zebedee everything he knows about springing into action.
A couple of minutes later we have another corner and this time Anders gets a good connection and this one really is ‘just’ over the bar.
Then just before half time, disaster struck. The opposition had a wayward shot that struck Sean (no more supehero powers left) on the knee, and completely wrong footed everyone as it bounced into the corner of the goal. An OG from at least 12 yards out. Disappointing. 0-1
First half was a good competition, we were playing ok, without creating any gilt edged chances, but likewise, the opposition wasn’t really creating much either. They had half chances equal to our own, but ultimately both keepers were relatively untroubled during the first half.
Second half kicked off and Redfern were out of the blocks a bit quicker than we were. They started pressing and a ball played down the right, causes panic in the box, it gets played to the otherside and there’s a Redfern player unmarked. He has a cross come shot towards the back post, but as soon as it leaves his foot, it’s going in. It drops in at the back post 0-2 – hmm slightly fortuitous for Redfern.
Normal service is then resumed and the game is back in the groove of us attacking, them defending, then they attack and we defend. But our 1-2’s are just starting to fail a bit more frequently and the referee is steadfastly refusing to play the advantage and even though we have three or four opportunities to break, the ref pulls the game back. The ref had a good game though, despite the comedy start.
It stays at 0-2 until about 70 minutes when a simple ball over the top confuses the back line, their forward is on it, we call for offside, not given. The attacker strolls into the box, Flanno tries to narrow the angle but the attacker stroked the ball into the net. 0-3
A couple of minutes later, Chris is actually awarded a free kick, possibly the 1st in 20 years, to go with his goal from last week.
Then another ball over the top, this time Chris falls over and injures himself, and the Redfern forward makes it 0-4.
There’s still time for them to make it 5, but Flanno denies them with an excellent save.
Game over, another comprehensive defeat, and step closer to failure to make the finals. We make the same mistakes week afterweek, but at least this time we managed to get a few things right. 0-4 was harsh, but Redfern made their own luck by working hard and we need to do the same for 90 minutes if we’re to have any chance of making the top four.