After a few weeks of horrible weather, the sun was back over Sydney and a weekend of football was back on the cards. The Barney AA12s took on Pagewood away and needed the three points to keep the pressure on the top. There was an inspirational team-talk by Andy and a call to “turn 90 minutes into 24 hours”. No-one understood what this meant- although John Murray took it literally and played the game in slow-motion.
Dan, returning from three weeks of drinking and eating in the UK, was looking much like a Christmas turkey- fattened all year and plucked for the big day. Thankfully Darren started on the bench so Dan was able to wear the only jersey that he could squeeze the drumsticks into. Billy, like Warren Gatland, left his Brian O’Driscoll off the starting line-up. Unlike Gatland however, Billy will forever be judged by the decision that was always wrong.
After about 10 minutes a pool of blood started to appear in the oppositions box- looking around for answers it was discovered that Bruiser had ventured way too far up the pitch and had taken a nose-bleed. In his confused state he fired off a timid shot that somehow took twelve deflections before bouncing of Dan’s shin and beating the keeper. 1-0. Just then the oven rang out, Mark put a fork in him and was able to confirm Dan was done- but Mark had left the giblets in- schoolboy error.
Andy Dalton, still not understanding the offside rule, was giving away more free-kicks than Bruiser. He managed to get away from the defence a few times but his shots were hitting the keeper’s stomach harder than a thousand sit-ups. Was this what turning 90 minutes into 24 hours looks like? Rab wasn’t impressed and his high-pitched squealing from the back was ringing out louder than ever. Things got worse as Al, after doing a training session with Jonesy earlier in the week, had perfected the foul-throw. Foxy was so embarrassed he burrowed a hole to hide in and Billy, unable to smoke at the pitch-side was losing the plot. Billy needed to make a call- a big change. A playmaker would need to be introduced. Just at that, Dan was carved out of the game and Coyle would come on to replace him and put in an inspiring 16 minutes, before suffering third degree burns in the blistering 17 degrees heat.
After only a few minutes on the pitch, he takes a pass on the edge of the box, draws in the defence and plays a neat ball across the six yard box to Anto Dooley, one-on-one with a keeper who was never going to come off his line or dive, he showed the composure that we’ve all come to associate with him and, instead of walking the ball into the net or at least taking some sort of shot- he goes for the unsuspecting return pass to Coyle. Preoccupied with shouting abuse at Anto, Coyle, surrounded by the defenders he has just bamboozled, could only fire off a quick shot that skimmed the outside of the post as it went agonisingly wide. The timing was perfect as the taxi Billy had ordered turned up just in time to take Anto home.
Only moments later, Andy taking too much out of the ball in the box knocks the ball to go out for a goal-kick. With the pace of a young Usain Bolt, Coyle somehow manages to whip in a cross from the by-line before it goes out. A defender, who had thought the ball was a cert to go out managed to raise his hand and give away a penalty. Inspirational play from Coyle. Paul steps up and take the penalty like a crunching slide tackle and fires the ball into the back of the net. 2-0. He turns to Coyle and says “that’s your goal son. You’re the best I’ve seen and I’ve been playing for 50 years”.
An air of complacency started to come over the team as they felt comfortable knowing that Coyle was on form. Al had pulled out a Mach 3 and started shaving his legs when the opposition broke through and into the path of Darren Dooley who’s bear-hug challenge in the box somehow gave away a penalty. Bruiser smiled with pride. Boom. 2-1. Soon after, the chuckle brothers, Foxy and Rab mixed up things in defence- “to me- to you”- and the ball was poked home past Marcel who Doctors confirmed this week is allergic to coming off his line. 2-2. Against the wall.
A free-kick finally awarded in our favour. Rab positions the ball about 30 yards out from goal and whips in a lovely cross to the back post. Suddenly, out of a burrow pops Foxy, who coolly side-foots the ball home. 3-2. Soon after, Big Gav, who had been off resting while letting the much better performer on the day, Anto, ply his trade was brought on to add some composure to the middle of the park where, apart from a consistent game from Daz’s younger brother Niall, was falling apart. Gav, for his second of the season, leaned back over a bouncing ball and struck it sweet on the half-volley high into the air. As the ball descended toward the goal with snow on it, the keeper flapped and it fell in over his head. 4-2- we’re still in this!
With a few minutes to go, smelling blood, Coyle drills a perfect cross-field ball out from right to left to pick out Junior (son of Senior). Coyle continues his run to the back post where he is unmarked- a simple cross will mean 5-2. Instead, Junior, from behind his back, pulls out a sand wedge and smashes the ball high and over the bar. The whistle goes- 4-2 to the Barney boys. The referee thanks the players and hands Coyle $50 for the man of the match performance.
This Friday night lads (12 July)- big leaving session kicking off at 7pm in the Clock. Ricky’s missus is making a guest appearance. Great value at $15 a dance.