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Newsletter - Thursday 20 June 2002 beerbeer

This newsletter is published by Balmain Rovers,
part of the Balmain & District Soccer Club.
The Annandale Hotel is the major sponsor of Balmain Rovers.

Match Report 1
 
Balmain Rovers 4A Reserves v Concord
Easton Park, Rozelle
Sat 15 June 2002
Kick-off 1.15pm
Report by Fergal Murphy

For those wondering how the French or Argentinian teams are feeling right now, just ask any member of the Thirds squad. This was a totally one-sided game with surreal twists and turns that left the far superior Thirds team scratching their heads and a disbelieving Concord with three points and a victory to savour.

On arrival, the pitch at Rozelle was looking the worse for wear. The grass cover was gone from most of the pitch leaving a clay surface that wasn't going to suit Thirds' on-the-ground passing game.

Our troubles started early with no ref turning up. This is the second time Thirds were without a ref for their home game, which is unfair to both teams. Concord kindly offered to ref the first half with Thirds to cover the second half.

Thirds could only field 11 players, but had a strong team on paper with Mike A in goals, a back line of Rich, Kelly, Adam F and Neil, Jared and Mike W on the wings, Phil and Adam B in the middle, and Darren L and Fergal up front. From the off Balmain took the game to Concord, with some excellent movement around the midfield and wings creating problems for Concord. Concord chose to defend deep and in numbers. Despite being heavily marked Darren was getting good touches to set up the advancing midfielders and his partner in attack. A couple of excellent build-ups involving both wingers and midfielders resulted in good crosses to Darren whose great nod-downs were volleyed by Fergal but on both occasions flashed just wide of the post.

The Concord keeper (doing a good impression of Oliver Kahn) was proving to be in fine form, plucking dangerous crosses from the air and cleaning up after some sloppy defensive work. Jared was making his usual quality sorties on the left. Mike W had some similar success on the right and, with all the possession, Thirds were confident of a breakthrough.

Inevitably, the sustained pressure yielded a free just outside the box which Darren lined up to take. A sweetly struck left-footed shot curled over the wall but unluckily landed on the crossbar, with the goalie stranded. Just after this Adam B split the defence with a perfect through ball which Fergal chased onto and fired off a powerful shot that the keeper managed to touch over the crossbar.

And then things took a surreal turn. Concord hardly got the ball out of their own third in the first 20 minutes, and if they did our backline dealt with it easily. Another desperate clearance from Concord saw an equally desperate midfielder belt it high on down the field in the hope of relieving the pressure, even though there wasn't a Concord player in Balmain's half. Mike A in nets, who hadn't been within 40 metres of the ball for the whole game, came to collect the high dropping ball. The hard clay surface saw the ball bounce high over his head, and despite his best efforts to chase back, Mike found himself picking the ball out of the net, with all of Thirds scratching their heads in disbelief.

Phil and Mike W picked up injuries shortly after this, and struggled on as Thirds did not have replacements. Despite this Thirds continued their pressure, but Concord's packed defence was not keen to let the advantage slip, and made it very difficult to get a clear shot on goal. Concord also rallied around the middle of the field, taking advantage of Thirds' injuries to pressure our defence, but the back line held firm, using the offside trap very well and conceding very little. Kelly and Rich were in splendid form, dealing with anything Concord could throw at them. Neil supported well on the left, overlapping with Jared to good effect.

So ended the first half. Luckily Adam F's dad turned up so Balmain could ref the second half, and he did as good a job as Concord's ref. The second half started pretty much as the first had finished, with Balmain piling on the pressure and doing their best to break down Concord's six-man backline. Balmain was mixing the play effectively - but still no joy. Adam B was unlucky on a couple of occasions that his long range strikes were just off target. Kelly helped out the injured Mike W on the right wing with long runs out of defence and it was such a run that saw him get inside the Concord box and get off a great shot that grazed the outside of the post. Not our day.

And then, another surreal moment. A rare break by Concord saw a midlfielder put a through ball past our backline, which was almost on the halfway line. Despite well-founded suspicions of offside, Neil pushed the attacker wide to a very tight angle, but somehow a shot was struck that looped over Mike A who had come to close the angle. The goal was initially disallowed as it surely must have hit the side netting but protests from Concord, and honesty from Balmain, saw the goal stand. AAAGHH! Despite having 95% of the possession, Balmain was two down.

Thirds stuck at it. Fergal had a good chance dribbling through the box, but couldn't get the final shot past the keeper. Jared also ended some useful runs with good shots but found the last line of defence equally solid. It was a similar story for Mike W. Adam B, Phil and Kelly were providing quality through balls but there was always a small army of defenders to get in the way.

Concord did have more breaks this half, especially up the left, but Adam F made sure insult would not be added to injury. Darren was put through the middle by a perfect pass from Adam B, with only the advancing keeper to beat, but his lob was inches wide again. There were plenty of corners for Thirds but despite our best efforts, and many goalmouth scrambles, we just couldn't get the ball in the back of the net.

With the clock ticking down, Thirds got a break when Jared was felled in the box. Given Thirds' luck on the day, and the fact that the keeper had saved a penalty in his previous game, it wouldn't have surprised anyone at the ground if the penalty wasn't converted, but Fergal slotted it home. It was to be the last kick of the game and little consolation for Thirds, who played well, controlled the game, but still managed to lose to two very lucky breaks for the opposition, who celebrated as if it were a cup final. That's football.

The Pele points go to:

2 - Jared - worked hard to the end as always and eventually earned the penalty 1 - Kelly - solid throughout, with some strong forward runs, and unlucky not to score
1 - Rich - solid also, killing off Concord's attacks with some timely interceptions
1 - Neil - equally solid closing down the left side and for supporting Jared
1 - Adam B - constantly mixing the game in the search for opposition weakness, and provided some excellent through balls to the attackers, who for once could not find the net

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The Annandale Hotel

17-19 Parramatta Rd, Annandale
Ph 9550 1078

Join Balmain Rovers for the England v Brazil World Cup quarter final match at 4.30pm on Friday 21 June at the Annandale Hotel, or join us for a post-match beer from about 5pm on a Saturday afternoon. All World Cup matches will be shown on the big screen, and we hope you'll join us in catching the greatest team sport competition in the world. Remember, support the Annnadale Hotel and you're supporting Balmain Rovers.

For a full rundown of weekly activities at the Annandale, including the great food Drew and the team at the Nosh Pit put on, click on the image below -

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Match Report 2
 
Balmain Rovers 3B Reserves v Enfield Reserves
Henley Park, Enfield
Sat 15 June 2002
Kickoff 1.15pm
Report by Donny Nicholas

It was with much relief that I could scrape myself up from my bum-divet in the big lounge at home, after a few weeks of near psychopathic attention to a bunch of foreigners playing a game which us Skippies had failed to qualify for (again!). You think it's hard for the Dutch, well try barracking for a team that hasn't qualified since Johnny Warren had a a natural tinge to his mulleted coiffeur ... it's been a while ... In any case it seemed time to show some vigour on the pitch for Balmain Rovers and try to replicate some of the "beautiful game" that we'd been watching on telly for a couple of weeks.

This was the first return game of the Rovers Reserves' season. After a couple of weeks of indifferent form Ricky had set a solid line up pre-match. Only one problem. Emrys and Mark had decided to be stylishly late. No matter, as a quick reshuffle saw a full 11 join the fray. This was also Jon Drea's last match in the mandarin strip before he was forcibly removed to the motherland, so he got to be skipper for the day. Brian had also returned from injury, as had Johnny Barker, and I think everyone was itching to play after a few weeks' layoff.

The game started well as the Rovers boys took control of the ball early. The halves of James (new dad, congratulations!) and Pier challenged well, and the effort was matched across the park from very early on. Players were actually running into spaces and coming to the ball in a way that was both refreshing and exciting to watch. Ben and Bruce ran the right, Jon and Brian did so on the left, with Jon showing some previously undiscoverd pace to run on to some good passes from the back. There was lots of tight passing, good calling and signs that the side was starting to play as a team and reap the rewards. The Enfield goal was starting to get peppered. Rob was having plenty of shots as were the others up front and the pressure told.

James broke the drought with a fine strike, and continued unselfish play saw goals to Rob, Ben and another to James before the break to end the first half at 4-0. We were looking comfortable, with one of the best halves of football I've witnessed for a very long time. Nothing like the World Cup to inspire, eh fellas?

The feeling at half time was positive with a plan to continue where we'd finished the first half and sink Enfield once and for all. Mark came on for some fresh legs and Emrys joined him soon after as Brian reacquainted himself with his physio's phone number. Everyone continued to work hard but the team seemed to lose some shape and relax a little in the second half, which eventually allowed an Enfield return goal. That the goal came from a herd of Enfielders pretty much jumping on Johnny Barker indicated both their intent and our slackness.

This event seemed to get everyone moving again and it wasn't too long before the touch returned, and another goal to Ben brought us to 5-1. In the dying seconds Jon Drea performed what appeared to be the dive of the season in the box but went unrewarded for his efforts, earning not a goal, a free kick nor an Oscar nomination, despite convincing remonstrations to the referee. Thanks for your season at Rovers, Jon, and all the best for the future. We nearly got you into some black shorts but it was not to be!! We'll mail you your winners' medal.

Overall, a great result for Reserves, and we look forward to next week's game. Now where's the remote, the chips and the beers??. Let's watch some more football!!

The Pele points go to:

3 - Jon Drea - Exceptional!
1 - James Mackie - Won the midfield
1 - Pier - Busy all day
1 - Brian - A brave return from injury (for a half at least) showing good team spirit

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Match Report 3
 
Balmain Rovers 3B v Enfield
Henley Park, Enfield
Sat 15 June 2002
Kickoff 3pm
Report by Nick Vince

After a seemingly never-ending mid-season break, Rovers once again took to the field looking for a good win against an opposition belted 12-1 in the last encounter. All eyes were on the Rovers side to keep the impressive unbeaten run going. With more or less a full squad to pick from, Rovers had the luxury of fresh substitutes for once and from the off it was apparent that a similiar scoreline should be achieved. Rovers attacked and played some great football which was aided by some defensive errors and Enfield's lack of urgency in the tackle.

When they did decide to tackle, it was often illegal which set a few handbags flying when some studs went in over the top on Dave Hynd. Ammon Mackie opened the scoring for Rovers after about 5 minutes with a sweet strike past the goalkeeper's flailing arms. Great football lead up to it with good passing and movement. A second went in from a great Dave Hynd free kick finding the shaved pate of Paul Edwards who thumped the ball into the net. More was to come and goals from Dean Da Silva, Patrick Nolan and Paul Edwards sent Rovers into half time six goals to the good. This was helped by an own goal from Enfield which would have been a credit to any striker - a lovely header looping over the goalkeeper.

At half time we had the luxury of resting some players and Paul Millard, back from injury, entered the fray at the expense of Martin Hofman. Some great runs and finding of space created more chances which unfortunately went begging. Next change was Glenn Bacic having a run out at right back, enabling Matt Clementson to move forward. Again this created chances which could not be converted. Eventually a long range effort from Dave Hynd added to the score sheet but one suspects people were taking it a little easier with a six goal buffer. Unfortunately, Enfield pulled one back as we allowed a little too much space in the middle for them to attack our defence.

All in all, Balmain stayed unbeaten which is the main thing although we could quite easily have emulated the previous win over Enfield. As long as we keep creating chances we can keep going. Excellent commitment from Balmain and it looks as though the break did us some good.

The Pele points go to:

3 points - Dave Hynd - a welcome return to form and excellent going forward
2 points - Andy Farmery- marshalled the defence excellently again and linked well with midfield
1 point - Matt Clementson -his best game for a while and got forward well

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Award Standings

Pele Medal

9 - Ben Jones, James Mackie, Fergal Murphy
8 - Jared Carter, Paul Edwards
7 - Phil Davis, David Hynd, Rob Liney
6 - Kelly Baigent, Pier D'Angelo, Alister Haining, Ammon Mackie, Patrick Nolan, Ricky Onsman
5 - Mark Bamford, Adam Brzozowski, Nik Hopkins, Darren Lynn, Darren Taylor
4 - Dean Da Silva, Paul McDonnell, Neil O'Donnell, Michael Sommers
3 - Jon Drea, Richard Lyne, Donny Nicholas, John Pereira, Brian Yeung
2 - Michael Arthur, Matt Clementson, Sohail Dahdal, Andy Farmery, Kon Tsalikis
1 - Nick Agafonoff, John Barker, Craig Brown, Bruce Fackerell, Matt Linton, Paul Millard, Michael Ward

Golden Boot

17 - Rob Liney
15 - Darren Lynn
13 - Fergal Murphy
12 - Ben Jones
11 - James Mackie
7 - Jared Carter, Dean Da Silva, Paul Edwards, Ammon Mackie
5 - Alister Haining, Patrick Nolan
4 - Paul Millard, Darren Taylor
3 - Nick Agafonoff, Sohail Dahdal, Pier D'Angelo
2 - David Hynd
1 - Michael Badman, Mark Bamford, Adam Brzozowski, Phil Davis, Nik Hopkins, Michael Sommers, Kon Tsalikis, Brian Yeung

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Fixtures

Saturday 22 June:
Div 4 Reserves v Burwood @ Blair Park, Croydon - 1.15pm
Div 3 Reserves v Marrickville B @ Callan Park, Rozelle - 1.15pm
Div 3 Firsts - Hurlstone Park @ Callan Park, Rozelle - 3pm

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Newsletter content 2002 Balmain Rovers

Thursday 20 June 2002