Joe N - Simba - Joe P - Sam Binks
Jimmy - Dave S. - Merv - Alec
Danny - Walshy
Subs: Tom, Marty, Andy
What is normally the biggest game of every season came early this year as Coogee United were the visitors at the house of Paine. The team that have won the league the last 4 years in a row always present a tough challenge. But it was Barney with the first chance as new boy Sam Binks played a glorious ball over the top for Walshy, who took a great first touch, a heavy second touch before poking an effort on goal which glanced the keeper before hitting the post. Should have been 1-up .
Then I arrived at the game... and it was a scrappy affair. Bit flat from us up until about the 20 minute mark when Coogee had a free kick from around the semi-circle which was whipped into the box. Gaffo made up his mind up early to come for the ball but got caught under it and it flew right in the top bin. Uncharacteristic error from the man who has got us out of jail so many times in the past against Coogee. 0-1 Down.
A couple of substitutions then saw Marty and Andy introduced and a really good period for Barney. Simba joining Dave Thompson in the hamstring club, he’s always looking for new members. Patience and good build up play saw a number of chances. Walshy and Danny combining well with a one two that the keeper saved well with his feet and then Walshy had a bicycle kick sail just wide. Their dodgy looking keeper then made another save with his feet at point blank range from Jimmy. Merv and Dave Shannon were winning the midfield battle that was leading to all this pressure and Merv in particular pushing forward and linking up the play like a young Christopher Dean on those ice skate boots of his. Finally the breakthrough came when Sam Binks played Walshy in again and this time there was no mistake as he rounded the keeper and rolled it into the empty net. 1-1, well deserved, one way traffic at this point.
Coogee were getting the odd break on the counter attack through the nippy left winger and the always dangerous Ben. However new boy Joe Newman was looking comfortable at centre back with stalwart Joe Peters, that partnership could blossom with the other centre halfs at the spa weekly for hammy rub downs. But it was against the run of play when a normally routine tackle from Joe Peters on their centre forward went wrong when Joe tripped over the ball having already won it. Ben carried it in and buried it in the corner. 1-2 Coogee at half time.
Sergio Garcia wins the masters and Joe makes a mistake that leads to a goal, a weekend of rare gems in Sport!
Footage of Joe's tackle here:
Second half and Barney dominated from the start once again. Andy had a great chance after a surging run down the right wing, Walshy looked like he would take over but left it to Andy who put wide with his left foot. Good to see him back from injury and missing chances like his old self. Big Tom creating chances for himself and others, missed out with a header. The best thing about the performance in this game was that we scored after decent periods of pressure – twice. Merv was again pulling the strings in midfield and got a great goal as his reward. He faked for the shot with his right and their two defenders both went over to use the Paine reserve toilet facilities, while Merv drove the ball in the bottom corner with his left foot. 2-2 with half an hour to go and well on top.
Merv again had another chance straight after with his right foot after a one-two with Danny, curled just over the bar. Marty let a glasgae screech out for not being played in as he had made a great run down the right, nice to see him speak up he never usually complains. The pressure was mounting and everyone on the sideline thought they were there for the taking.
Tom came off and Andy was replaced by Jimmy after suffering an injury to his knee and it was starting to look as if Coogee had weathered the Barnstoneworth onslaught. Coogee started to get back into the game relying heavily on set pieces and a long throw in to create chances in the Barnstoneworth box. Barnie failed to clear a couple of throw ins and Gaffo made up for his earlier error with two point blank saves, firstly from Coogee striker Ben and then a deflection off Sam Binks that was heading for the top corner. Despite this pressure Barnie still had their chances with Danny and Walshy linking up well on the left hand side but we were just unable to convert these to goals.
With 10 minutes to go Merv made a very good sliding tackle on the edge of the box after making up ground but the referee gave a free kick, SOUND! After a scramble in the box Gaffo went for a ball with Ben and the striker managed to turn it into a 50-50 just to the left of our goal. The ball spilled directly to a Coogee player and his effort bobbled through a crowd of legs and into the far corner. 2-3 and another goal against the run of play.
The last 15 minutes was probably the most disappointing part of the game for us. We stopped playing the ball on the deck and made it easy for Coogee to defend. In future I think we need to believe in the way we were playing up to that point. And not become ragged and lose our shape. Continue to play as we had for the previous 60 odd minutes when we were on top. To be fair to Coogee they held the ball up in our half and wasted time, and held on.
Man of the match goes to Magic Man Merv for a great goal and some quality passing and movement all day.