soccerball      BALMAIN ROVERS     soccerball
Newsletter - Friday 23 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
Major Semi Final
Balmain Rovers 4A Reserves v Enfield
Beaman Park, Earlwood
Sat 17 August 2002
Kick-off 12.30pm
Report by Adam Freeman

Finals football - the business end of the season. Finally, Saturday has come, after I spent all week been thinking about it and in the process driving "her indoors" mad.

Got to the ground to find my fellow Thirsty Thirds all there nice and early. You could feel the tension building up, everyone keyed up to go out there and be the first Rovers team this season to qualify for the Grand Final. The atmosphere was added to by a large crowd of support on the terraces, some of whom had travelled from as far afield as Manchester, and the presence of TV cameras.

Our opponents, minor premiers Enfield, had managed to go through the regular season only losing one game. However this loss had been to us. Both previous meetings between the two sides had been hard matches and we expected today to be another hard game.

The game kicked off with Balmain playing well. The Rovers looked confident, passing the ball around nicely in the midfield with Adam B and Mike B running the show early on. From here on, reader, you will have to excuse my vagueness. My excuse is that it all happened so quickly I became swept up in the emotion of the game. I really can’t remember exactly how it all happened, but here goes anyway. The Rovers' strong start was rewarded with the first goal coming before the five minute mark. Darren Taylor opened the Rovers account after some good lead up work from the midfield. Shortly after that Rovers found themselves 2-0 up, Darren Lynn this time finding the net - his 22nd goal of the season. Not bad for someone who has played the last few weeks of the season on one leg.

By now young Jared was getting into the game, causing the Enfield defence all sorts of problems. With each run he beat his man and also delivered some dangerous crosses from wide positions.

The next Balmain goal must be a candidate for goal of the season. Adam Brzozowski, his "Sphere of Influence" extending to about 40 yards out, hit the ball on the volley, sending it rocketing into the net. The crowd couldn’t believe it, the Rovers couldn’t believe it, the linesman couldn’t believe it and Enfield certainly couldn’t. Around 10 minutes gone: Balmain 3, Enfield 0.

Enfield then showed that you can’t finish top of the Canterbury District PL4-R (by the way am I the only person who thinks that PL4-R sounds like the name of a character from Star Wars?) without being able to play a bit. Enfield, still shocked and more than a little narked, started to get back into the game, scoring from a failed Balmain clearance to bring the score back to 3-1.

It was also around this time that the referee’s influence on the game began to take effect, calling up Balmain for some fouls and booking striker Fergal Murphy for ... well, at the time I couldn’t work it out. There didn’t seem to be anything too untoward in Fergal’s challenge and if Fergal had said anything to the referee I certainly didn’t hear it. Later in the week at the judiciary we were to find out that it was for "deliberately obstructing an Enfield attacking movement", which seemed a bit strange as the incident occurred deep in the Enfield half.

Rovers, not to be shaken by the Enfield comeback, added a fourth goal, this time Fergal Murphy scoring. Enfield would still not give up though and managed to score to bring the game back to 4-2.

Next the game took another turn. With Balmain on the attack, Fergal and the Enfield ‘keeper went for a 50-50 ball. The ‘keeper dramatically went down. The referee produced a second yellow card for Fergal, sending him off.

The biggest strength of the Thirsty Thirds is the team spirit and unity within the squad. This was to come to the fore. The Rovers reaction to being reduced to 10 men was to score another goal, Jared once again tearing the Enfield defence apart.

So the halftime score was Balmain 5, Enfield 2, although even that was not without incident as the referee insisted that the score was Balmain 4, Enfield 2. After a bit of heated debate and an elementary maths lesson, it was decided that the halftime score was 5-2 after all. One substitution was made at halftime with Mike Ward coming on to replace the injured Neil "do these exercises and you’ll still be playing at 40" O’Donnell (Hmm, must have a look at those - Ed). Neil once again had played strongly, tackled hard, and covered plenty of ground wide on the left.

Enfield did manage to pull another goal back in the second half, as their one man advantage allowed them to pressure the Rovers. But the Rovers dug deep, with the defence being particularly impressive. Richard Lyne seemed to get in the way of almost every Enfield shot. John and Kelly both focused on keeping the Rovers two-goal advantage.

Darren Lynn - playing injured - was withdrawn, with Adam F sent on in a lone striker role with orders to chase down the ball and pressure the Enfield back line. If Adam F was to forget his orders, Darren T was certainly quick enough to remind him. "That’s yours, chase him down. What are you doing chasing that guy? You should be over here now!"

The level of effort from the Rovers midfield was immense. Michael B, Adam B and Darren T kept battling to the end. Although most of the remainder of the second half was spent with the Rovers repelling Enfield attacks, Rovers did fashion a couple of their own attacks on the break.

The final whistle came with Rovers hanging on for a fine 5-3 win and a spot in the Grand Final. The whole squad had great games, everyone played their part in the win. I would love to give everyone points but unfortunately I can’t.

The Pele points go to:

2 - Richard Lyne - once again seemed to block every Enfield attack. Also kept the team calm and focused
2 - Jared Carter - fantastic game in both attack and defence. Kept going despite being hacked down from behind on numerous occasions
1 - Darren Taylor - whole hearted display
1 - Adam B - scored a goal from a wonder strike and ran the middle of the field.

NOTE at Tuesday's judiciary meeting, a "half-innocent, half-guilty" verdict was given and only one yellow card recorded, allowing Fergal to play in the Grand Final.


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 -


Match Report 2
Minor Semi Final
Balmain Rovers 3B Reserves v Earlwood
Rudd Park, Belfield
Sat 17 August 2002
Kickoff 12.30pm
Report by Brian Yeung

The morning started well enough. To my surprise, there were hardly any Sunday drivers on the road. They usually get me all fired up for the game as they like to hog MY right hand lane at 50kph. I parked right next to the field we were playing but I couldn’t find an opening into the park. I ended up having to climb a waist high fence and nearly strained my already fragile hamstring, but I got through the ordeal alright. Everyone seemed to be on a high for getting into the finals and nobody was too concerned that our 30-goal-a-season striker has gone skiing.

Right before the game was about to start, Earlwood couldn’t find the person responsible for holding their registration cards. Apparently he had gone to a wedding and had switched off his mobile phone. I wondered what would happen to him when he faced his team-mates, but then, hey - everybody has his own problems.

We agreed to delay the kick-off for 10 minutes, but in the end Earlwood had to forfeit this game. What a disappointment! The whole Balmain team was looking forward to a good game but in hindsight it was a blessing in disguise.

After the referee abandoned the game, we agreed to play a friendly against the Earlwood players that were still there. Even though on record we are through to the finals, we still wanted to beat them to show that we reached this point through merit rather than others’ misfortune. The game started without incident, with much of the action happening in the middle of the park. We had some good passing going on, a solid defence and had several shots on goal but Rob’s finishing was sorely missed and we went behind to a lucky goal (yes, I don’t like to give credit to the other team) that went just underneath the crossbar. Apart from an injury scare on Bruce’s ankle, the first half was quite uneventful. Half time score 1-0 to Earlwood.

The second half saw a typical Balmain Reserves performance (apparently, since I missed most of the season so I cannot really judge). As the match wore on our mid-field disappeared, our defence got sloppier and the whole team’s concentration went out the window. A few individual errors early in the second half saw us trailing 3-1. James Mackie, playing in the unfamiliar target man role, pulled one back for us and but when Earlwood scored another to put the score at 4-1, we knew we were in serious trouble, pride on the line or not. Soon after, Mark Bamford scored from close range but it was too little too late. We lost 4-2, but we are through.

The results from the Major Semi Final matches us with Marrickville A next week, against whom we managed to throw away a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 in the last home and away game. The Reserves really need to tighten the ship from now, especially in the second half, if we want to have any chance of reaching the Grand Finals.

The Pele points go to:

3 - Ben - a great dribbler and a class above the rest
2 - James - that crucial goal gave us hope
1 - Ricky - running around the pitch tackling like a 18 year old


Match Report 3
Major Semi Final
Balmain Rovers 3B v Abbotsford
Rudd Park, Belfield
Sat 17 August 2002
Kickoff 2.30pm
Report by Nick Vince

This match report was delayed as the Manager for Balmain Firsts was still trying to get his head around our first defeat of the season. We knew this was going to be a hard game, but we didnt realise we would be totally outplayed and outfought.

The pitches at Rudd Park were the best we had played on for quite a while and Balmain anticipated a great footballing day with plenty of space and passes running true. Due to injuries and absentees, Balmain were unable to field a full strength side. However, this really only affected our forwards and midfield rather than our defence.

After careful consideration, we started with a 4-4-2 formation as opposed to the 4-5-1 deployed recently. We felt goals were needed and have been fairly comfortable defensively all season.

The first 20 minutes was, as usual, a torrid affair with both teams going hammer and tongs, but the better chances seemed to fall to Abbotsford. Sure enough, they took the lead early on and extended this midway through the first half. Our defence was having trouble marking and mistakes crept in. We knew now we were in a fight to survive and Paul Edwards thankfully created and executed another timely goal to keep us in touch as the first half ended.

At halftime the troops were reminded about a few basic requirements we were not fulfilling, the main ones being communication and hard work. No matter how much skill we have, nothing will ever cover a lack of effort - which was the main problem. We were encountering a team who really wanted this result and our attitude did not match theirs.

With no changes at halftime the team entered the fray knowing what they needed to do to be competitive. I was hoping that Abbotsford would run out of steam but alas this wasn't to be the case today. Within minutes the lead had stretched to 3-1 - and then disaster struck. Both Matt Linton and Paul Edwards hobbled out of the fray to be replaced by Kon and Ben who hopefully would lead a revival. However, heads dropped as for the first time this season everyone knew we could be beaten. With no Dave Hynd to help dominate midfield we looked a beaten side. Abbotsford forwards attacked at will and each time they were allowed through.

The introduction of James Mackie towards the end gave us hope and a well-taken goal reduced the margin but Abbotsford ran out 6-2 winners. Three weeks ago, we talked about the need to up our game and work harder as the playoffs approached. Everyone has convinced themselves that we are unbeatable, which no one is. People have neglected training and the fitness showed against Abbotsford. We are now on a wing and a prayer to win something that was within our grasp. Injuries and absentees have not helped the cause but we only have ourselves to blame for a lack of effort and commitment. Do we want it? Only next week's report will tell you that.

The Pele points go to:

3 - Paul Edwards - Consistently performs to the best of his abilities and, although it wasn't his best game, he outshone the rest
2 - Paul McDonnell - Worked hard and went forward to rescue the situation but left gaps defensively
1 - James Mackie - Came on and mixed it up with Abbotsford. It's a shame we were so far back as he really made a difference


Award Standings

Pele Medal

20 - Ben Jones
16 - Paul Edwards
15 - Paul McDonnell
14 - James Mackie
12.5 Jared Carter
12 - David Hynd, Rob Liney, Ricky Onsman
11 - Fergal Murphy
10.5 - Phil Davis
10 - Mark Bamford, Pier D'Angelo, Alister Haining
9.5 - Kelly Baigent, John Pereira
9 - Michael Sommers
8.5 - Adam Brzozowski, Darren Lynn
8 - Darren Taylor
7.5 - Richard Lyne
7 - Ammon Mackie, Patrick Nolan
6.5 - Michael Arthur
6 - Craig Brown, Dean Da Silva, Nik Hopkins, Kon Tsalikis
5.5 - 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
22 - Darren Lynn
18 - Fergal Murphy
17 - Ben Jones
16 - James Mackie
10 - Paul Edwards
9 - Dean Da Silva, Alister Haining
8 - Jared Carter, Darren Taylor
7 - Ammon Mackie
6 - Nick Agafonoff, Paul Millard, Patrick Nolan
5 - Sohail Dahdal
3 - Michael Badman, Mark Bamford, Adam Brzozowski, Pier D'Angelo, Martin Hofman, Kon Tsalikis
2 - David Hynd, Sergio Fiorenza, Joey Nicotra
1 - Phil Davis, Andy Farmery, Adam Freeman, Nik Hopkins, Michael Sommers, Brian Yeung



Saturday 24 August:

Div 4 Reserves - week off
Div 3 Reserves v Marrickville A (Elimination Final) @ Beaman Park, Earlwood. Kickoff 12.30pm
Div 3 Firsts v Concord (Elimination Final) @ Beaman Park, Earlwood. Kickoff 2.30pm


To UNSUBSCRIBE from this newsletter, send a blank email with the

Email comments and suggestions for this newsletter to

Newsletter content © 2002 Balmain Rovers

Friday 23 August 2002