A beautiful Sunday morning at Paine Reserve saw Barnstoneworth take on the in-form Easts in the 2nd and final chance to make the Grand Final against Coogee.
We had to forego our trusted 442 system just before kick off as Pete pulled up with a dodgy calf problem. Too late to change things we kinda made it up on the pitch and went for an attractive 9,1 system.
Easts started well and could have been 3 up after 10 minutes, but luckily for us had left their shooting boots at home. We didn’t create much in the first half, but entertainment was provided when opposition midfielderZiggy claimed and missed his fourteenth ball of the day.” Ziiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigggggggggggggggggggggggggeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees baallllllll“, the watching Coogee team breaking into hysterical laughter every time.
Then a pattern started to develop, Paul Hartley wins a tackle, Easts claim a foul, the referee agrees, and it’s a free kick to Easts. Brusier bruises his foot reaching the ball, the Easts midfielder falls over afterwards and the ref awards a free kick. Numpty trips over the ball, and Easts win a free kick. Young Danny almost scores, but it’s a free kick for looking at an Easts player. Daz wins a free kickbut graciously offers it to the Easts players before the referee changes his mind and offers Easts the kick instead.
Anto and John had a run 10 minutes either side of half time, giving Ronan and Danny a well deserved rest.
Half time 0-0.
The half time team talk contained a bit of tactical talk “I don’t think we need to be more direct ” someone said. The response of “ What, you mean lumping the ball down the pitch isn’t direct enough?” produced a few amused smiles. After that, we gave up on tactics.
We played better in the second half, coping reasonably well with the pressure, and had a couple of good chances to take the lead. Danny had a great chance but just couldn’t get the ball over the keeper and it remained at 0-0. 5 minutes before the end Easts had a great chance to win it, but their forward blasted the ball over the bar from a few yards out.
Full time 0-0.
So we went to golden goal. Easts started to have the better of it but after 5 minutes or so a long clearance up front from Sean saw John capitalise on a defensive mix-up to poke the ball home. Unbelievably we had made the final. We celebrated like we had won the World Cup.
Sad to say we will lose Big Gav and Bruiser for the final, but we should have 12, so no worries.
Let’s remind ourselves that although we’ve been well beaten 3 times this year by Coogee anything can happen in a GF, especially with our newfound tactical realisation that maybe the opposition might get a bit tired as they relentlessly attack our goal and if we can sneak 3 or 4 goals we might just be able to hang on.
Still, the beers afterwards should produce some good stories.