Balmain Rovers 4A Reserves v Enfield Reserves
Easton Park, Rozelle
Sat 20 July 2002
Report by Darren Lynn
With the end of the season fast approaching and Thirds needing to consolidate our position in the top four, this match against top-of-the-table Enfield was extremely important to us. The day started out gloriously. As I left sunny Bondi and headed into the inner city, I was thinking "Can this day get any better"? My prayers were answered - it did get better.
With only 11 players available to us - myself and Fergal out injured, Mike W having to return home to NZ and Adam F enjoying the sights and wonders that is the snow - we took to the field with our now standard formation which is classified information, but this formation had a few twists to it. With the striking prowess of Darren L and Fergal not available, Rovers were forced to improvise, and what an improvisation this proved to be.
Starting the game with a one minute silence for Mike W's mother who sadly passed away last week, the game got under way and from the outset, Rovers Thirds looked the team to beat, passing the ball around with consummate ease and frustrating Enfield very early on. It wasn't long before Rovers went ahead with some stunning football. It went something a little like this: Richard to Phil to Adam B to Jared (who beat two players) to Phil to Adam B to Darren T to Adam B who put in a pin-point accurate cross that Mike B headed home with authority (it was that powerful it went through the back of the net). Rovers 1-0 up and well in control of the match.
Enfield seemed to have been woken up at this stage of the game and decided to play some football, and play they did. With some good strong runs from their midfield and switching of play, they had the Rovers defence stretched. But in the end, it came down to Enfield players not passing the ball and the inability of a few of their players to take a shot with the left foot, plus some inspired keeping from Spoz to keep them scoreless. At the end of the first half a chance fell to Darren T who gladly took the opportunity only to be beaten by the far post.
So bring on the second half, and it started pretty much the way the first half ended, with Rovers on top, but this wasn't to last long. For a good portion of the second half Enfield had a lot of the ball and Rovers were forced to defend, with some easy chances falling to Enfield who couldn't convert (thanks to Spoz). Rovers picked up their game again. With some wonderful play through the midfield and one of the best through balls I've seen all season from Darren T, Mike B ran onto the ball and in a one-on-one situation with the Enfield keeper, slotted the ball nicely past him. 2-0 Rovers.
This spectator was in awe of the Rovers team on the park this day. Now I could only hope and pray that we managed to keep the game in our posession. At times it was nail-biting stuff, especially with about 10 mins to go. Enfield were through on goal, and in the scramble that was our defence Richard cleared the ball, but in the most stressing of ways. His clearance cannoned onto the far post, bounced across goal to an Enfield player who scuffed the shot into a Rovers defender who cleared it to an Enfield player who then graciously tapped the ball to Spoz for an easy safe. Heart in the mouth stuff I can tell you this. It produced a laugh from our defence, so I knew it was all good.
With the final whistle blowing, it was time for Rovers to celebrate. Well done lads, it was some inspired play and a gutsy win! And I think Mike B summed it up the best at the end of the game when he said to me "Now I know why you play striker, scoring goals in a game like this is better then sex!" (Don't worry, Mrs Mike B, I'll be back next week)
Farewell to Sohail who heads off on an artistic adventure to Morocco. Keep that groin well stretched. Enjoy!
The Pele points go to:
3 - Mike (Spoz) Arthur - some inspired keeping there
2 - Mike (goals are better then sex) Badman - nothing more to say
1 - Jared Carter - just well played all round