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Newsletter - Wednesday 14 August 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 Balmain C
Callan Park, Rozelle
Sat 10 August 2002
Kick-off 1.15pm
Report by Mike Badman

So here it was: the last round game of the season. Rovers were assured of a place in the finals so what was up for grabs? The building of confidence with a solid performance, the outside chance of finishing second (pending other results), the Balmain Cup (a separate trophy involving the three Balmain teams in our league), Pele points & GOOAALLSS!!!!!!!!!!

Despite injuries, we were able to field 11 strong & able combatants with one fired -up bench warmer. The rotational sub system saw John keep his tracksuit on until the second 45. Richard overcame the dicky knee he reinjured during the week doing a Mexican wave at the Kylie Minogue concert. However, the unfortunate & serious arm injury suffered by Phil "so cool under pressure" Davis the previous week has left a major hole to fill in the Thirds midfield make up (Darren Lynn's ongoing calf strain also hasn't helped) but the strength of this team throughout the season has been its depth and ability to cover for losses of personnel.

We found ourselves, for the first and last time this season, at our home ground - Callan Park. Having decided to knock it around the park, let the ball do the work and give 110% for the full 90 minutes, we jogged across the dirt-covered cricket pitch to the centre of the park for "the toss".

A strong start saw the backline of Kelly, Mike Ward & Richard looking solid. Adam F & Fergal were running hard up front, & the midfield of Adam B, Darren T & Mike B were faced with a couple of skillful opposites they were dealing with. Jared & Neil seemed comfortable out wide. The much missed Fergal (out for 5 weeks with the mandatory ankle injury) was certainly looking dangerous & the rest of us were wondering "how the hell did we manage to beat top-of-the-table Enfield without this guy?". Early on Jared put a nice ball across from the right that Fergal got onto but banged over the top. Perhaps a few cobwebs were dusted off with that miss! Soon after Jared hit a fine shot from a free kick that the Balmain C keeper somehow deflected onto the upright. The ball bounced across the goal behind him, hit the other upright & then rolled away! Ripped off, Jared! The next real chance fell to the opposition. Yours truly lost the ball in midfield (trying to be a bit cute with it) resulting in a low, hard shot which saw Spoz pull out the first of a number of top shelf saves for the day to keep Rovers "even stevens". Thanks Spoz mate!

Rovers then came close again when a deep cross to the far post did in fact hit the far post & stayed out. Was no one going to score? Yes, & deservedly it was Rovers. Darren Taylor found himself moving onto a bouncing ball which he poked over the advancing keeper. Having just got a hand to it the keeper turned, & backtracked to swipe it away from the goal but not before it crossed the line. "Goal!" yelled Darren. "Certainly not!", or words to that effect, yelled the keeper. The linesman ruled correctly. Rovers 1-0.

The score soon advanced to 2-0 when we scored one of our best team goals of the season. The ball was controlled in defence & passed up through the midfield. It was then put into the box from the left to Fergal who got past the keeper & skillfully slotted it home from an acute angle. An excellent goal that saw a number of Rovers involved & Fergal marking his comeback with a slick finish.

The woodwork was hit once more when Adam Br$%&#*ski took a smart free kick. Pity it was before the whistle. "Have another go" said the ref. Again, Adam didn't wait for the whistle. He didn't get a third go! Soon afterwards Neil did well as he came out from defence to get his head to a cross from Mike B. It just went wide. A third goal did come soon enough when Kelly threw in to Jared down the left side. Jared knocked it back to Kelly who then crossed to the far side of the Balmain C goal. Fergal got up brilliantly to head it in for his second of the day.

The second half saw Mike B play his part in the rotational sub system & make way for the passionate, Portuguese play of Pereira (John, that is). John's eyes lit up as he was offered the chance to slot into centre midfield - show me a defender who doesn't long for the opportunity to venture forward! Early after the restart Adam F added his name to the scoresheet. A well placed corner from Jared beat the hapless Balmain C keeper in the air & landed in the pack where the alert Adam F quickly stabbed it home with his left boot. Has anyone ever had a bigger grin on his dial than Adam at this point? Perhaps his old man who was going bananas on the sideline. 4-0.

A quick reply, however, came from the skilful Balmain C central midfielder. Giving credit where it's due, it was maybe the best goal put past us this year. A fine run across the halfway mark was followed by a great crack from outside the box leaving a diving Spoz with no real chance: 4-1.

It must be said from this point on the game got a bit messy with both teams throwing the ball away a bit haphazardly. Rovers were never in danger of dropping the game & at times played with control but other times not. The hot weather didn't help. Spoz was required to make 3 or 4 good saves including one memorable effort from a well taken free kick. The remaining highlights were a third goal for Fergal "Lazarus" Murphy (another excellent header from a left field cross - I think from Darren T), an amazing run from left-back Kelly "twinkle toes" Baigent (he beat the same guy three times - the third time with a move that's only ever been performed by 12 year old playstation experts) and a great left foot shot onto the post (yet again!) from the edge of the box by central defender Richard "I should be so lucky" Lyne.

The final score of 5-1 was a fair representation of the day's work. We had a good, solid first half where we kept our structure & had most of the possession. The second half got a bit ragged. As we go into the finals we know how we can play & we just have to work at maintaining it for the whole match. Whatever happens in the week(s) ahead it has been a great first season for a new team that has gelled well both on & off the pitch.

The Pele points go to:

2 - Fergal - an excellent comeback match, scoring 3 goals & providing us with a lot of pace & aerial strength up front
2 - Richard - didn't make a mistake all day; what more do you want from a central defender? Organized well & ventured forward for a good shot at goal
1 - Spoz (Michael Arthur)- made 5 very good saves - a tighter match without these efforts. Proved again he's an excellent shot blocker
1 - Mike Ward - had a particularly strong first half at right back where he forced Balmain C into making a halftime positional switch of their wingers. Pushed up in attack when given the chance.

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The Annandale Hotel

17-19 Parramatta Rd, Annandale
Ph 9550 1078

Ah, the Annandale Hotel. You want live music? Here 'tis. There's also the Locals Club going bananas with giveaways, are classic tacky movies from The Sounds of Sinema, a trivia comp on Tuesdays and, all in all, it's the best pub atmosphere to be found in Sydney. For a full rundown of weekly activities at the Annandale, click on the image below -

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Match Report 2
 
Balmain Rovers 3B Reserves v Marrickville A
Mackey Park, Marrickville
Sat 10 August 2002
Kickoff 1.15pm
Report by Ricky Onsman

It turned out to be a very fine equation. That Rovers entered this match fighting for fourth spot was perhaps not unexpected - we all knew we would pay for that 0-5 debacle against Lakemba. What seemed bizarre was that our rivals for the spot should be Marrickville B, whom we walloped 6-2 and 7-0. And so it seemed also natural that our opponents in the last match would be Marrickville A, top of the table and the season's minor premiers.

While one point would see us through, the pre-match Rovers talks focused on winning. There is a determination about this side lately, a sense of potential being realised. While we have admired the Firsts' teamwork all season, it's only recently that we've recognised our own ability to outplay our opponents.

The game started with only ten Rovers taking the field. Rob Liney, runaway leader for the Where's Wally award as well as the Golden Boot, was still finding a parking spot when the match began. As it turned out, Rovers scored before the Sheffield striker even took the field. Some straight ahead short play put Ben through for a shot that appeared to bounce over the goal-line. The rebound went only as far as Nick Agafonoff's head however, before returning to its rightful place in the back of the Marrickville net.

Balmain continued to dominate and played calm, sensible football to continue to press the Marrickville defenders. It wasn't long before Rob asserted himself, making it clear that he intended to add to this record-breaking goal tally before having a week off in the snow. With some excellent buildup play from the midfielders, he duly did so. In fact, by 25 minutes into the match, he had added another one to put Rovers into a 3-0 lead, which lasted until half-time.

We've been 3-0 up at half-time before this season. Against Concord - it finished 3-4, against Balmain A it finished 4-3. Hmm.

Nick advised that he only had 5 or ten minutes left in him. Given the absence of Sergio, Emrys and Mark, and Pier's reduction to bystander, not to mention the absence of Joey's ID card, the bench consisted of Brian, back from a hamstring injury. When Marrickville equalised 10 minutes in, Nick took his leave and Brian came on at left back, leaving Rob as sole striker up front.

From then on, Balmain soaked up the pressure at the back only occasionally releasing the ball to the midfield and further. Mind you, several of those moves did seriously threaten the Marrickville goal. But more of the action was near the Balmain goalmouth. Rovers keeper Johnny Barker well and truly played himself into the game. It seemed he was the most confident man on the field, calling loudly, gripping balls in mid-air, chewing dust to pull a ball back from the line, tipping a deadset certain goal over the bar and generally proving an absolute nuisance to the Marrickville strikers.

It took a penalty and some sloppy defence, but once Marrickville clawed their way back to 2-3, their confidence rose and they pressed Rovers hard. Balmain captain Ally Haining was playing his usual hard but fair game, but allowed himself to push a little too hard in one tackle for a yellow card, and then moments later push too hard again - in the Rovers penalty box. The sendoff roused Marrickville (although it was good to see a Red Devil commiserating with the misery-struck Scot), while Rovers defended in what numbers they could muster.

Despite the kind of defence that still looked like it could generate another goal for Rovers, it took only one more slip-up by the boys in orange to allow Marrickville to equalise. The referee blew his whistle soon after and the two teams cheered each other off the field. The minor premiers didn't lose, and Rovers got the point it needed.

Of the teams that finished above us, we lost to our nemesis Concord twice: 1-5 then 3-4, and lost to Marrickville A 2-4 then drew 3-3. Both the latter games saw Rovers hold a 3-0 half-time lead. Now we face Earlwood in the Minor Semi Final. They also beat us 2-4 followed by a draw in the second round: 1-1. Not only can we beat Earlwood, we can beat the other two as well.

The Pele points go to:

3 - Johnny - picked the right time to play his best match of the year
2 - Rob - always had them worried - "Don't let him shoot!"
1 - James - a midfield rhino capable of such subtle touches

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Match Report 3
 
Balmain Rovers 3B bye

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Award Standings

Pele Medal

17 - Ben Jones
13 - Paul Edwards, Paul McDonnell
12 - David Hynd, Rob Liney
11 - James Mackie, Fergal Murphy, Ricky Onsman
10.5 - Jared Carter, Phil Davis
10 - Mark Bamford, Pier D'Angelo, Alister Haining
9.5 - Kelly Baigent, John Pereira
9 - Michael Sommers
8.5 - Darren Lynn
7.5 - Adam Brzozowski
7 - Ammon Mackie, Patrick Nolan, Darren Taylor
6.5 - Michael Arthur
6 - Craig Brown, Dean Da Silva, Nik Hopkins, Kon Tsalikis
5.5 - Richard Lyne, Neil O'Donnell
5 - Andy Farmery, Joey Nicotra, Michael Ward
4 - Nick Agafonoff, John Barker
3.5 - Michael Badman
3 - Jon Drea, Donny Nicholas, Brian Yeung
2.5 - Sohail Dahdal
2 - Matt Clementson, Bruce Fackerell, Matt Linton, Paul Millard
1 - Glenn Bacic, Martin Hofman
.5 - Adam Freeman

Golden Boot

32 - Rob Liney
21 - Darren Lynn
17 - Ben Jones, Fergal Murphy
14 - James Mackie
9 - Dean Da Silva, Paul Edwards, Alister Haining
7 - Jared Carter, Ammon Mackie, Darren Taylor
6 - Nick Agafonoff, Paul Millard, Patrick Nolan
5 - Sohail Dahdal
3 - Michael Badman, Pier D'Angelo, Martin Hofman, Kon Tsalikis
2 - Mark Bamford, Adam Brzozowski, David Hynd, Sergio Fiorenza, Joey Nicotra
1 - Phil Davis, Andy Farmery, Adam Freeman, Nik Hopkins, Michael Sommers, Brian Yeung

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Fixtures

Saturday 17 August:

Div 4 Reserves v TBA (Minor Semi Final)
Div 3 Reserves v TBA (Minor Semi Final)
Div 3 Firsts v TBA (Major Semi Final)

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Newsletter content 2002 Balmain Rovers

Wednesday 14 August 2002