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Newsletter - Tuesday 16 April 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 Burwood B Reserves
Blair Park, Croydon
Sat 13 April 2002
Kick-off 1.15pm
Report by John Pereira

The first half was a difficult one for the Thirds, especially for the backline, required to neutralise two very physical Burwood forwards well supported by an energetic and attacking midfield. The defence appeared to be under continuous pressure and was unable to move the ball up to the forward line. Both Adam Freeman and Kelly Baigent did well in stopping some menacing runs down both wings.

Continued pressure by Darren Taylor (hungover again) on the left wing and some great runs by the terrier-like Neil O'Donnell led to the first goal of the afternoon when in the 30th minute, and slightly against the run of play, Darren Lynn edged the ball past the keeper.

Burwood however did not give up. They kept up their long passes to the forwards and in a good counter attack equalised two minutes before half time. The 1-1 half time score didn't reflect the dominance of Burwood, who would later rue their missed opportunities. It did however reward Rovers for taking the opportunities given to them.

A half time team talk and some reorganisation took place, and in line with squad rotation policy (and not a reflection of their play) Kelly and Joey Nicotra were replaced by Sohail Dahdal and Fergal Murphy. Sohail moved into Kelly's backline spot and Fergal played up front alongside Darren. Jared took over Joey's position in right midfield.

The second half began much as the first had ended: a "right royal battle" in midfield, where the Rovers controlled the ball better but Burwood resorted to long passes to get themselves out of trouble.

After 10 minutes, a further reorganisation took place with Mike Badman coming on for Taylor who had suffered a groin injury (probably due to too much groin activity the night before). Mike took Neil's place in the centre of midfield, and the versatile O'Donnell dropped back to left fullback, allowing the speedster named Sohail to launch his flying attacks down the left.

Neil continued his good work and eliminated many a threat down the left side. Badman, Brzozowski and Carter began to dominate what was fast turning into a bruising encounter in the midfield, not only attacking the ball well but also providing much needed support in defence, where once again the Richard "the Lyne King" controlled the backline extremely well. The physical Burwood forwards were tamed by the aggression of John Pereira, enjoying the physical nature of the challenge (particulary against a real PRICK of a number 10).

The game was dramatically changed by three main factors: the blinding runs by Jared Carter taking the ball from midfield into attack, Fergal's blistering speed down the right side (a pleasure to watch), and Adam B's stunning goal (showing some very skillful footwork and precision), which brought the game to 2-1 at the 75 minute mark.

With Jared flying down the right, Sohail speeding down the left and Adam and Michael in the middle feeding both forwards, the Rovers Thirds were back playing attractive football once more and the game was there for the winning.

Darren Lynn and Fergal both made great runs and had some great shots at goal which lead to Jared (deservedly) scoring the Rovers third and Michael Badman knocking in his first for the season.

In the end the Rovers cruised over the finishing line but it had not been easy against a well disciplined and physical side who will do well this season. It was a test of the resolve of the Thirds which, after a decidedly shaky start, was passed with flying colours.

The Pele points go to:

1 - Jared Carter, great control of the ball (better than Beckham)
1 - Fergal Murphy, blistering speed and precision, (the Thirds version of Ryan Giggs)
1 - Adam Brzozowski, a very important and skillful goal (the coolness of Gianfranco Zola)
1 - Richard Lyne, keeping the backline under control (Tony Adams eat your heart out)
1 - Neil O'Donnell, the bull terrier (more commitment than Paul Scholes)
1 - Darren Taylor, for being the only person in NSW to drink "Tooheys Old" (better crosses than Robert Pires)

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The Annandale Hotel

17-19 Parramatta Rd, Annandale
Ph 9550 1078

Our mates Dan and Matt Rule have bought out their previous partner and are intent on reshaping the Annandale as one of Sydney's great pubs, starting by getting rid of the poker machines and boosting the live music. We urge you to support them, as they support us.

The Nosh Pit restaurant is one of the area's best assets, serving high quality modern Australian cuisine at prices that won't bust a Rover's budget. Manager Drew Simmons makes seasonal menu changes to reflect the availability of the best produce and offers special deals on a regular basis. If you eat out, eat at the Nosh Pit.

For a full rundown of weekly activities click on the image below -

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Match Report 2
 
Balmain Rovers 3B Reserves v Marrickville B Reserves
Ewen Park, Hurlstone Park
Sat 13 April 2002
Kick-off 1.15pm
Report by Ricky Onsman

Week two and everything looks good. Following the first round win, the only possible problem might be that five Reserves players still don't have ID cards: speedy recruit Steve Daw - whose muscle tear was keeping him out anyway; Bruce Fackerell - a late replacement for shock withdrawal Sam Tekin; Rob Liney - transferred from Sheffield United (well, Stannington); Emrys Hughes - who at least managed to get his forms in this year; and goalkeeper Johnny Barker.

Inevitably, the opposition insisted on the "no card, no play" rule, so we were left with exactly 11 players, including the less-than-inspiring choice of me as goalkeeper. Luckily, Browny had turned up early for the Firsts match and volunteered to don the gloves. Never was I so glad to be relegated to the bench just before a match. My relief at not being goalkeeper grew as the Rovers conceded a penalty within the first five minutes, although my hopes for the team were shaken as Marrickville thumped the ball authoritatively into the net.

As the game progressed, it became clear that the red shirts had not been training much, as the Rovers ran them ragged. The midfield and forwards in particular kept winning the ball and setting up attempts at goal, although the Balmain defence was strangely uncoordinated and allowed Marrickville much too much space. It turned out, though, that Balmain's greatest obstacle was going to be the referee. Clearly desirous of forcing both teams to play his idea of football, the man in black had by half-time given Balmain a penalty (effortlessly taken by Ally Haining) and Marrickville a second (for nothing more than straightforward defence by Donny Nicholas). Fortunately, a superb Haining header from a looping cross and a well-taken goal by Ben Jones left Balmain in front 3-2 at half-time.

The second half was more of the same, really. Marrickville got tired, angry and confused while several Rovers let the redshirts (and the blackshirt) get under their skin. Michael Sommers lifted his arm one time too many and received a yellow card, as did Ben for - well, just being Ben, I think. By that time, the ref may have remembered that he'd carded the youngster last week but forgotten to write it on the match sheet. He also apparently didn't notice that Jones scored again not once but twice.

Ally scored again and James Mackie pumped another one in, just reward for some hard work by both in midfield. To everyone's amusement, Ally thumped a clearing kick into the whistleblower's right kidney, at which the ref could only smile wanly. Pier had a perfect shot stopped by the opposition goalkeeper's one genuinely good save of the day. Mark Bamford skimmed the bar and the post a few times, while Jon Drea made some penetrating runs down the left flank. Matt Linton and Brian Yeung worked hard in the backline, too - although all the orange defenders have homework to do on winning the ball from opposition clearance kicks - and Browny was largely untroubled in goal.

I came on for the last 15 minutes and had a fine time shadowing Marrickville's striker, who also happened to be their nicest guy. We chatted, we laughed, we occasionally ran a few yards. In the end, Rovers won 6-2 (despite Ben having scored three times, not two), which was adequate reward for a scrappy match that exposed a few flaws in the Rovers Reserves game.

The Pele points go to:

2 - James Mackie - a consistent link from defence to attack
2 - Alister Haining - played with gusto and guts
1 - Ben Jones - kept the ref busy in every way
1 - Pier D'Angelo - provided energy in the midfield

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Match Report 3
 
Balmain Rovers 3B Firsts v Hurlstone Park Firsts
Hurlstone Park, Hurlstone Park
Sat 13 April 2002
Kick-off 3pm
Report by Ricky Onsman

Having saved myself for the arduous task of helping out the Firsts team, my services were (of course) not required, as Manager Nick Vince successfully negotiated the use of the cardless David Hynd, Dean Da Silva and Paul Millard. Still, there's worse things in the world than sitting in the shade at a pleasant park in the Sydney suburbs, scoffing the canteen's last sausage roll and watching cockatoos flock over the river.

Firsts had no time for such pleasantries however, as Hurlstone Park (paired with Marrickville B Reserves in another piece of Association inspiration) took the game right up to the Rovers from the get-go. It was Pier who noted that these blokes could play, despite being "fat and funny". HP did seem to spend an inordinate amount of time hurling insults at each other, but hey - better them than us.

Ammon and Millard troubled the keeper a few times early on, and with the same conservative ref in charge, it was no surprise when a penalty was given for a foul on Millard in the box. Paul took the shot himself and duly put it away for a 1-0 lead.

The rest of the half offered little to get excited about. Ammon and Millard continued to dance with the ball up front. In midfield, Dave Hynd won plenty of ball, Dean Da Silva ran the line, Clem was highly creative (some lovely through balls) and Eddie cajoled everyone to do more, faster, better. Andy kept things calm at the back, Nik and Kon were reliable and Glenn tore a calf muscle (running between wickets isn't training enough, I'm afraid) to give Reserve Paul McDonnell a chance to shine - which he did. Browny was a rock in goal, yelling in his usual triplicate: "yeh, yeh, yeh", "now, now, now", "time, time, time".

Still, it wasn't very exciting football. More heat than light, with everybody working hard for little reward. Same story for the opposition, mind. The game seemed bogged down in midfield, where no-one was able to take control despite individual pieces of hard work and occasional flashes of brilliance.

Nothing much changed in the second half. It should be said here that this really is normal - what you might call bread-and-butter football. A goal from Hurlstone Park might have changed things, but instead it was the fresh legs of substitute Nick Agafonoff that delivered the ball into the HP net, having come on for Ammon for just this purpose. Martin Hofman replaced Clem in midfield and the match was pretty much in Rovers' keeping.

It was hard work, though - and no-one worked harder than David Hynd, who kept trying to hustle, bustle, chip and charge his way through the defence. Dean kept making runs down the flank and Eddie kept trying to urge everyone on until even he stopped believing there were any further gains to be made. When the Hurlstone Parkers did get near the Balmain goalmouth, Browny simply scooped up the ball and fed it back upfield.

This was a significant victory for Rovers. The opposition was good enough to trouble them, but they rose to the occasion and played out a difficult encounter, coming away with a deserved 2-0 victory.

The Pele points go to:

2 - Dave Hynd
1 - Paul Edwards
1 - Matt Clementson
1 - Craig Brown
1 - Dean Da Silva

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Award Standings

Pele Medal

4 - Ben Jones, James Mackie
3 - Jared Carter, David Hynd, Fergal Murphy
2 - Dean Da Silva, Paul Edwards, Alister Haining, Darren Lynn
1 - Craig Brown, Adam Brzozowski, Matt Clementson, Pier D'Angelo, Nick Hopkins, Richard Lyne, Ammon Mackie, Paul Millard, Neil O'Donnell, Michael Sommers, Darren Taylor

Golden Boot

4 - Ben Jones, Darren Lynn, Ammon Mackie
3 - Alister Haining
2 - Nick Agafonoff, Jared Carter, Dean Da Silva, James Mackie, Paul Millard, Fergal Murphy
1 - Michael Badman, Mark Bamford, Adam Brzozowski, Sohail Dahdal, Pier D'Angelo, Paul Edwards, David Hynd, Patrick Nolan

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Fixtures

Saturday 20 April:
Div 4 Reserves v Earlwood @ Hughes Park, Earlwood - 1.15pm
Div 3 Reserves v Lakemba @ Campbell Park, Chiswick - 1.15pm
Div 3 Firsts v Abbotsford @ Campbell Park, Chiswick - 3pm

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Newsletter content 2002 Balmain Rovers

Tuesday 16 April 2002