Ground: Moore Park, Sydney
Attendance: 12 (including subs of both sides)
Result 1 – 2
It was a successful weekend for a few of the Barnstoneworth United AA2 squad after helping the club pick up their first piece of silverware of the season the day prior to this fixture in the annual charity tournament hosted by our sponsors BD Building. The team was made up of a mix of club legends past and present, captained by Nick and inspired by Stuart “Golden Boot” McKay the lads made it through the group unbeaten with 2 draws and 1 win. Uplifting and selfless words from Finchy before the knockout stage “pass the ball up to me lads and we will win” spurred the lads on as they went on to win their Semi Final and Final with ease scoring a total of 10 goals in the 2 games without conceding taking home the trophy. Eddie Sweeney gave a statement to the fans after the game stating “Aye the lads did very well. Some f****ng pish football at times during the group stage but I always knew the lads would come good in the end, never in doubt we had it in us”. A successful day at the office for everyone involved.
Squad: Andy C / Wynton (GK), Nick (C), Stu, Simba, Finchy, Steve S, Ash J, Joe N
Sunday came around and it was another glorious winter day for football. A few dusty heads arrived at the ground following the previous night’s silverware celebrations and general Saturday night shenanigans! However, everyone was focused and knew that this was the first of 3 must win games now we’re at crunch end of the season. Ollie ensuring everyone was aware of the importance of these games by reminding everyone at the start of the game “lads we need to boss it and stick it on them from start to finish! Win these next 3 games and no doubt about it we will make the finals, happy F***ing days”.
No Billy lettuce this week who was on his annual dry trip to the Gold Coast much to his disgust, caretaker assistant manager John “The Duke Of Coogee” Morton (Yonboy) was in the dugout alongside big Stu contributing with some invaluable tactical nous as always.
The team lined up with a 4-5-1 formation as follows: Ollie M (GK) Joe N (LB), Ben K (CB), Steve W – (Captain|CB), Paul B (RB) Rowan M (LW), Alex (CM), Ash J (CM), Nick (CM) Gary Alves (RW) Andy (ST) Bench: Stu M, Ben W, Jamie D, JC, Cam
As Waverley’s eleventh man was still changing into their garish canary yellow strip on the sideline the home side kicked us off and found themselves under instant pressure from the team in red and white. With the words of Ollie still ringing in the players ears it was clear from the offset that the Barney lads had the bit between their teeth eager to press high from the outset looking to take nothing but a win from this game.
With pressure mounting from the away side it wasn’t long before they won the first corner of the game which Ash “Pirlo” Johnson stepped up to take. Big guns Kisby, Alex and Newman made their way upfield and lingered on the edge of the box ready to make late runs into the danger area. Ash whipped a delicious ball into the back post which sailed over the majority of the distracted Waverley defenders’ heads and was met by a thunderous header by Andy into the back of the net. Their keeper had absolutely no chance of stopping that one at point blank range. 1 - 0 Barney. The crowd went wild on the side with Yonboy necking his tenth Great Northern of the morning in celebration.
Barney continued to press and caused havoc across the midfield with great linkup from the five in there feeding the ball into Andy who was pumped form his goal moments earlier proving a handful for the Waverly centre halves. A revitalised Rowan tied two of the opposing defenders in a knot but then took a heavy touch which was cleared by their centre half. Unsure as to whether the second defender was still drunk form the night before or dizzy from Rowans stepovers moments earlier he took a swipe at Barney wingers’ legs off the ball. A blatant penalty kick which wasn’t given by the makeshift ref who 20 minutes into the game was still struggling with which end of the whistle to blow.
Waverley knew they were lucky to get away with that one and stepped their game up a level giving the Barney defence something to think about for the first time in the game. Nick with some great defensive work covering the back four with some intelligent intercepting tackles. Kisby, Paul and Wheelo stood strong against the forward pushing men in yellow making easy work of the pressing home side. Joe Newman seemed to have left his touch on the field at Dave Phillips the day prior resulting in Ben having to make a couple of good covering tackles to avoid embarrassment.
Barney had a solid back line but against the run of play were robbed by another shocking decision by the official. A chancing ball played through from the Waverley midfield to their striker who was closer to Ollie than he was the out pushing defenders was not called for offside! Credit where credits due the striker hit the ball well across goal which Ollie could only get fingertips too, 1 - 1, game on!
Outraged by a second shocking decision in a matter of minutes a few of the Barney men made their feelings heard and needed calming down by the club captain Wheelo “shut da fek up ya eejits and get of da refs back, decisions gone he ent going to change is mind, play da football we know we can to get back into dis lads”. It seemed to work, and Barney were soon back on top again before the half with another effort from Andy coming close but was hit over the bar. Everyone in red and white winning their individual battles as the half ended and the whistle was blown for the first time in the game. 1-1 at half time.
Barney knew that they couldn’t let today be another draw and risk facing the wrath of a beer deprived Billy lettuce returning from the Gold Coast to news that we had dropped more points. The boys started the second half with the same eleven who started the first and looked hungry for the win.
Gary Alves dominating down the right and Rowans trickery down the left proving too much for the men in yellow. Pressing hard the boys earnt the first of many corners to come. Ash stepped up once again with another great delivery from the right which was unfortunately met by the head of a yellow defender. The cleared ball bounced kindly to Newman on the edge of the box, inspired by the call from Alves to “shoooooot”, much to everyone’s surprise Newman not only connected with the ball he would usually miss completely, he ended up hitting it sweetly!! The ball was set to nestle into the bottom right corner and give the left back the moment he had been dreaming of since his horrific injury 18 months ago. Newman was in the process of preparing his choice of two
optimistically pre-arranged celebrations when somehow the Waverley keeper out of nowhere flew across goal and with his fingertips pulled off the save of the season to deny the big man by tipping the ball around the post for another corner.
The resulting corner from the right was headed clear to the left-hand side for another corner. Ash sweating out the final drops of Stone & Wood from the night before made his way from right to left stating “I’m bolloxed me” then had a quiet word with Newman. He stepped up to take the third corner in quick succession and this time opted for driving one like an arrow into the front post. Inspired by the goal keeper’s superman heroics moments earlier Newman made a late run in at the near post and towered above the Waverley defender to meet the cross with a glancing header into the top right corner of the net. Newman certainly making up for his 60 minutes of woeful defending with this effort! 2-1 Barney and thoroughly deserved by the lads in red and white! Vicious rumours from a half cut Yonboy and his sidekick Wardle on the side claiming that Andy got a touch on the ball were soon snubbed by VAR and the goal was rightly awarded the left back. Ash with his second of what would be 4 assists of the day (2 for the first team in the later game).
Barney tightened up further from back to front with some good communicated from Ollie, Wheelo and Ben giving the opposition nothing. Special mention to the three lads in centre mid who continued to win their personal battles with their opposing numbers. Alex consistently being hacked and kicked about the park didn’t rise to the yellow number 3 who has clearly lost his head.
Obvious that the referee had no clue how offside worked Andy was playing off the last man and a good chance fell to him after a clever ball from the midfield. He lobbed the keeper, but the effort struck the post and went out for a goal kick. Barney weren’t done at 2 and were looking to put the game to bed.
A couple of changes saw Newman and Andy leave the field to be replaced by JC and Wardle. Waverley throwing everything they had at the Barney lads in the last 20 minutes and at one stage seemed to have 4 lads up front. Organised from back to front the boys rode this wave of pressure making some clinically precise tackles and intelligent clearances into the oppositions half eventually seeing the game out and finishing on top. Final score 2-1. A thoroughly deserved win and essentially a clean sheet for the side after an outrageous offside decision going against them. One team down two to go in the final games of the season. Barney well and truly in the driving seat with everything to play for!
Yonboy handed out his remaining beers to the lads in celebration which proved to be an amateur mistake from the big man later realising that all the local take out bottle shops were closed due to AFL match day leaving him dry and somewhat moody for the start of the AAM1 game.
Stu delivered the news to manager Billy lettuce over the phone where the ecstatic and teary-eyed club veteran muttered “Tell the lads I’m proud of them”.
Big shout out to Ash, Gary and JC who each starred in a game for the AAM1 team straight after this one helping them secure a 3-3 draw with third place Dunbar AAM1. Gary playing 180 minutes of football, Ash getting a further 2 assists for the day (total 4) and JC scoring the first goal!