Balmain Rovers 4A Firsts v Abbotsford
Easton Park, Rozelle
Sat 28 April 2001
Report by Matt Clementson
Well, the weather was good, the pitch was looking alright (as in limited amounts of dog shite and the cricket pitch was hardly visible due to the mound of soil taking centre stage), however all was not good from before the off.
For some reason, a lot of the lads were stiff and and aching, finding it hard to loosen up properly without being in discomfort. It may be wise that we try and train Wednesdays if this occurs again. Eventually, Abbotsford were ready to start - once they had grabbed a few players from their reserves team. Rovers started off strongly with some solid defence work from Nick and Gary against the looping ball they kept wanting to put over the top. We had some good runs, however we never seemed to use the centre of the park as much as we normally do and were reliant on some runs by Joey down the left and long line balls from Kon to get the ball moving up front. A couple of chances were squandered in the first half and perhaps if we had slotted one of those the game would have had a different result.
Nil-all was the half time score and a chance for a quick chat. They were playing our game style against us and we seemed to panic a little about this and were playing desperate balls back at them, as opposed to working the ball from the back, passing and moving as we normally do.
The second half began and the first five minutes were even, then Kon was unfortunately beaten by the bounce of the ball, allowing one of their strikers in. The heads were still high, but fatigue was kicking in and changes had to be made soon. Abbotsford won a corner and, for the first time this year, we conceded a headed goal from a dead ball. In all fairness, the Abbotsford player took it well, but we were caught not marking and he wasn't even challenged. Ali came on for Pier, forcing Andy - who was desperately trying to become the midfield playmaker - to the left wing. Joey swapped with Mike, more for exhaustion reasons than anything else, and Kon swapped with Glenn, having still not fully recovered from a hamstring twinge.
Rovers put in a burst of about 20 minutes of immense pressure. We were all over them and unlucky not to score on numerous occasions. Some devilish curling corners from Carlos were not finished and a few through balls from the midfield were not connected with well enough to test the keeper. Ali did well, holding the ball up front whilst giving the midfield a chance to catch him - something we need more of from whomever plays up front.
Again we were beaten by a long ball and a badly defended header was let in again. Gary battled well in the centre of the pitch, going in hard on every challenge. They were a young bunch and slid in a lot, winning the ball that way often. Why do we tend not to slide back in or tackle back once we have lost the ball?? It needs to be done - otherwise we will be beaten again.
Unfortunately, the third finished us and luck was not on our side. Some valuable lessons were learned and some future notes need to be taken. To close, some key points from the "side lines management":
* We MUST HEAD the ball from goal kicks, long balls, bouncing balls. It does NOT HURT and is more accurate than your boot.
* The midfield must track back. It is the hardest position on the pitch, as you run more than anyone else. Fitness was shown to be a problem with five players often being seen still up front on a counter attack.
* Use the ball from the back, play it along the ground to feed up through the midfield, then on to the attackers.
* Forwards, HOLD the ball and wait for support, they will be there.
Sergio and his missus were nice enough to hold a BBQ for Carlos' leaving do in the evening. A thankyou from all whom attended, I am sure. Anyway, all the best Carlos (which Nick only realised actually is his real name later on that evening).
Thursday night, the first team should train on their own, working on some of the above if everyone agrees. As I am still out this week, if anyone has a camcorder I am willing to film the next match for posterity, and we can use it for developing our game.
Do some personal training this week before Thursday and let's go out at the weekend and play our normal passing game.
The points this week (as decided by myself, Big James and Gary's girlfriend!!):
Nick - 3 points for being all over the pitch, battling hard and starting to play some good balls forward.
Gary - 2 points for fighting till the end, giving them some of their own hard tackles.
Andy - 1 point as he's bigger than me and said he would nick my dinner money if he didn't get one. Also for getting involved out of his position when needed.