Red hot in Redfern
As is the custom with these match reports, we’ll begin with the weather. Clearly someone had forgotten to tell Sydney that summer is over. Sunday was HOT man, hotter than a fucking napalm vindaloo.
Game two of what promises to be another gruelling season saw us venturing deep into Redfern’s concrete jungle to do battle with Dunbar. Unfortunately the battle was to be fought on a pitch with subbuteo-sized dimensions, which ironically was tailor-made for resident hobbit and team mascot, Darren Dooley, who was posted Missing In Action before kick-off. Unconfirmed eye-witness reports placed him outside Oxford Street’s Tool Shed, gurning and pulling shapes just after 6am.
The pitch was a joke – the 18-yard boxes were probably only about six-yards long and by the time you had taken three steps out of the area, you were already crossing the halfway line. I’m as big a fan of tight boxes as the next guy, but this really was taking the piss. The venue, which carried the grandiose title of national centre for indigenous excellence, employed a strict no-alcohol (more irony) and no smoking policy, which had Billy – and the rest of the team – worried as to how he would cope for 90 minutes without his beloved lung darts.
There was some big news before the game. The Thai stallion, or Tuk Tuk as he’s now been christened, made a welcome return after spending nine months in exile (Villawood). Another familiar face, Junior (son of Senior), was also welcomed back into the fold after a successful and lucrative stint working as a rent boy up in Queensland. With the new additions raring to go and Darren Dooley out, all the omens were looking good — that was until Billy burst the bubble by announcing that Anto was in the starting 11.
And so to the match itself… the first half was all Barnstoneworth, with Dunbar unable to cope with our good link up play and slick passing. Even Anto was getting in on the act. The Dunbar defence however were proving a pretty hard nut to crack, and it didn’t help that we had left our shooting boots at home, with a dozen or more efforts at goal being blazed high and wide (note to Daz and Mark – shooting practice required on Wednesday nights). Our persistence soon paid off though, Danny notching the first goal with a glancing header at the back post. He just got enough on it after a great in-swinging cross from Tuk Tuk out on the right wing.
In fact, Tuk Tuk was in the thick of the action for the next 10 minutes, first of all missing the opportunity to put us two up by hitting the bar from around three yards out, and then making amends for that horrific miss a few minutes later when he sliced in a cross from the left touchline that ricocheted off his right shinpad, looped high over the keeper and into the net. It was no more than we deserved, two nil up and cruising.
The only downside so far had been a string of John Murray corners which had either failed to beat the first man, gone straight out of play or trundled pathetically along the ground. These dismal set-piece routines and a lack of nicotine were agitating Billy. This is a man who smokes in the shower for fuck sake, and Numpty’s corners were sending him over the edge. It all got too much for the gaffer who broke into a Gangnam-style touchline jig to berate Numpty before sloping off to have a sneaky fag behind the wheelie bins.
To the second half then and again we had them on the back foot. Houston was back on the park and delivering another midfield master class. A neat lay off from Junior saw Houston curl a low shot from 25 yards that looked for all the world it was about to bulge the back of the auld onion bag. Somehow the Dunbar keeper pulled off one of the season’s best saves to finger- tip it around the post.
Minutes later the game took a turn for the worse when Captain Rab – who had become distracted while barking orders, swearing and issuing death threats to team mates – somehow managed to let the smallest player in the Dunbar team beat him in the air and flick on a header from their goalie’s kick out. This flick put their striker one on one with Marcel and he calmly slotted past the Dutchman to make it 2-1. To be fair, it was the only header Rab lost all day – it just so happened to be the only one he had to win.
Other than a few more shite corners, which bizarrely was followed by Tuk Tuk forming a Numpty tribute act to fire in some really shite corners of his own, there wasn’t much else to talk about before Dunbar bagged an unlikely equaliser. Again, the goal came from nothing. A throw in on the right wasn’t cleared properly and landed at a Dunbar player’s foot near the edge of the area. He had a swing at it and the ball flew up, on to the inside of the post and into the top corner.
It was a real sickener after dominating the entire match.
In response, we launched a relentless siege on their goal without really creating any clear cut chances, things were not looking good. But this tough fighting unit wasn’t finished yet.
With five minutes to go the ball somehow broke to Ronan, who looked suspiciously 10 yards offside, and all of a sudden he was sent clear. He raced in one-on-one against their keeper. He had to keep his cool, he dribbled it 20 yards toward goal… he waited, the keeper waited, the crowd waited, who was going to blink first?
The bench could hardly watch, given the fact every one of us were convinced he was gonna fuck it right up. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. To be fair the northern irishman, he did keep his cool, holding on to the ball for what seemed like an age before calmly tripping over a divot and accidentally toe poking the ball home from two yards. The hero of the hour did manage to disgrace himself later at Paine reserve, where he was sent off by the referee of a match he wasn’t even playing in after he expressed his opinion to a linesman.
So that was about it – Bruiser tried to kill someone in the closing minutes but that’s par for the course really.
All in all a great win that sent the boys to the top of the league with six points from two games. I was going to write up the player ratings but i can’t really be arsed and I honestly couldn’t pick a standout. It was a great team performance in tough conditions. Man of the match goes to Billy for having to keep a track of the subs and keeping the team’s shape while valiantly coping with old age, senility and severe nicotine withdrawal symptoms.