“We are Barstoneworth United. No one likes us. We don’t care.” Big Jim.
Barney: Gordo, Andy, Joe P, Joe N, Boot, Moore, Harold S, Magic Merv, Alec, Zlat-Tom, Walsh (Stevey, Sam B, Simba)
A stunning June Sunday had seen some of Barney’s elite athletes up early for a smashed avo and corn fritter brunch followed by a light walk around centennial park to limber up for Eastern Suburbs Football Association, Mens, Division 1 (Sun) fixture of the day against the South East Eagles (‘Eagles’).
It was clear that not all of the Barney players adopted this rigorous pre-game routine when newly formed boyband ‘Wrong Direction’ turned up straight from the Tea Gardens with the drummer (Gordo) doing his usual complaining about his dodgy stomach.
Zlat-Tom also gave Simba an early worry when he misunderstood the ‘gaffer-player’ relationship and openly boasted about still being steaming from the previous night.
As the gaffer had highlighted in the team talk, the biggest test would be ensuring consistent attitude from the previous games. From the first whistle Barney delivered on this request.
The first 10 mins saw a very structured Barney formation set up with some strong challenges and Eagles being given no time on the ball. Harold Shipman in the middle sat deep and issued orders across the park to ensure the shape was kept at all time. Following a well defended corner (which became a theme across the day), Chris M drilled a ball up the right flank to Zlat-Tom who muscled past the full back to put himself in a position to volley the ball, in what can only be described as a ridiculous angle, and dipped it into the far left side netting. It was just as well Zlat-Tom was steamboats from the night before as no sober man would have attempted that.
The next half hour was like role reversal from the previous game with the Eagles laying on wave after wave of attack and the impenetrable Barney defence sending them homewards to think again. Every Barney player starting from Walsh and Zlat up front killed themselves in chasing the ball and breaking up play which has ultimately been the secret to the results over the past few games. Merv and Harold dominated in the middle but a big shout to Joe, Joe and Andy who between them kept the big lad up top without a sniff for the entire game. Barney continued to absorb and counter on the break – an excellent bit of work from Alec down the left led to a throw in a dangerous area. Boot being the thinking man’s man tricked Eagles into thinking he was able to throw a ball long, but instead went for his usual 5 foot ball to feet and whipped a ball across to the back post where Chris M caught it sweetly and sent it just over. 1-0 Barney at the turn.
The intensity continued in the second half, and the frustration set in very quickly to Eagles who started resorting to the long ball game which the back 4 lapped up with ease, and allow Barney to play a bit more football than the first half. A number of great link ups down the right between Andy and Chris linked in with Walsh and Zlat-Tom with the pressure resulting in a number of corners. Barney capitalized on one these early on when Chris delivered a ball into the box which spilled out to Joe Peters about 40 yards out who sprinted up to the ball ripping his shirt off before he’d even kicked it screaming “f***ing have this you mugs” with the ball lodging in the top left bag and the game being delayed for 5 mins while the fire brigade had to come down and dig it out. 2-0 BUFC.
The challenges from Barney continued to frustrate Eagles, with Alec being allowed to come into the game and run at Eagles down the left. The effort finally paid off when a great piece of work by Alec gave him space to drive in a low ball which Boot caught sweet as a nut on the half volley and put it top bag. 3-0 BUFC.
Trick-shot of the game goes to Merv, who deceivingly pretended he wasn't interested suddenly sprang into life, giving Chris M the option of a lay off to slam it home from 25 yards on the edge of the box. Merv being an instinctive player crumbled given the amount of time he had to pick his spot and decided the best option was to put the ball out for a throw and run down the clock.
Full time, 3-0 Barney.
Man of the match: Zlat-Tom Laing
“Coogee, slide yer jeans on and come ahead.” Big Jim