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Newsletter - Tuesday 7 May 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 Five Dock Reserves
Nield Park, Rodd Point
Sat 4 May 2002
Kick-off 1.15pm
Report by Adam Freeman

Following last week's disappointing performance, it was important that Rovers not only win this game to keep in touch with the top sides but also play well to restore team confidence.

The Rovers team lined up with Michael Arthur in goal; a reshuffled backline of Neil O’Donnell at left back, Adam Freeman at right back and a new centre pairing of Kelly Baigent and John Pereira; a centre midfield of Phil Davis and Michael Badman with Sohail Dahdal and Jared Carter providing plenty of pace on the wings; and a strike force of Fergal Murphy and Darren Lynn. Richard Lyne, still sick with flu, and Darren Taylor carrying a rib injury made up the substitutes.

Of concern before the game was the Nield Park pitch, which not only was on a steep hill but also (as if we didn’t have enough dodgy ankle injuries in the team already) contained numerous holes and bumps.

The game kicked off with Rovers running down hill. The early exchanges of the match were scrappy with the Five Dock side playing a kick and chase game, while Rovers struggled to hold possession. Once the game settled down, the midfield of Michael B and Phil started to take control of the game, and Rovers could begin to play the short passing game for which the Thirds are becoming known. Both Michael and Phil did an excellent job of spreading the ball to the wide men and also bringing the fullbacks into the game.

After a period of sustained Rovers pressure Phil Davis opened the scoring flicking on Jared Carter’s well-taken corner. Jared’s pace and tricky running out wide (why are wingers always described as tricky?) caused the Five Dock defence plenty of problems, and on the other wing Sohail showed plenty of determination to win a lot of 50-50 balls, not to mention the pace to beat his man. Rovers were now creating numerous chances, which unfortunately we failed to take. However I felt if we kept playing this way the goals would come.

Finally the goals did come, with Darren Lynn rediscovering his scoring touch to add the second and third goals before half time. Whilst the defence were in the main solid throughout the first half, a couple of mix-ups in communication did provide Five Dock with the sort of chances that we will not be able to afford to give to the stronger sides in the competition.

A half time lead of 3-0 should have been a lot more, and with the task of running up hill in the second half, there was a worry that Five Dock may make us pay for our missed opportunities.

The second half began well for the Rovers with Fergal Murphy meeting a Phil Davis cross with a powerful header to score the fourth goal. This goal seemed to shatter the fragile confidence of the Five Dock side that now seemed to have no other ideas than to hoof the ball forward. The Rovers defence handled these long balls well. Kelly, Neil and Richard Lyne (on for the injured John Pereira), won everything in the air. Five Dock were restricted to few shots on goal, with Spoz pulling of a fantastic save when called on.

Sohail was rewarded for his efforts with the next Balmain Rovers goal, stabbing the ball through a crowded goalmouth. Late in the second half, Darren Taylor came on despite carrying a rib injury and, having spent most of the first half screaming at Fergal to take his chances, was presented with a clear opportunity to show him how it was done. Fortunately he would be provided with another opportunity later in the game.

By now Rovers were in full flow with the defenders eager to get on the score sheet. Richard Lyne’s late runs into the area caused havoc at set pieces and Kelly was unlucky not to score after a fantastic run.

The final two goals came from the two Darrens, Darren Lynn completed his hat-trick with a goal from a Darren Taylor cross, followed by Darren Taylor scoring from a Darren Lynn cross.

This was a much-improved performance with the hard work at training paying off, particularly the time spent on organising the defence. However, there is still room for improvement. Next week should be a tough challenge against what is, by all reports, a strong Enfield side.

The Pele points go to:

3 - Kelly B - strong in defence winning everything that came his way in the air, whilst in the second half making numerous attacking runs, unlucky not to be rewarded with a goal.
2 - Phil Davis - controlled the middle of field, supported the defence when the pressure was on and used the ball intelligently and well in attack.
1 - Neil O’Donnell - another strong game, winning countless headers and tackles. Once again the first to arrive and last to leave at the pub.


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 -


Match Report 2
Balmain Rovers 3B Reserves v Earlwood Reserves
Hughes Park, Earlwood
Sat 27 April 2002
Kick-off 1.15pm
Report by Pier D'Angelo

Balmain Rovers travelled to Hughes Park to battle Earlwood for this top-of-the-table clash. Both sides came to the match undefeated with wins in each of the preceding three rounds. The unusually warm April weather continued with perfect if slightly warm conditions for soccer. Hughes Park was in good condition, with the exception of the mandatory cricket pitch in the middle of the field.

A number of changes were made to the Balmain side that defeated Lakemba 11-0 the week before to accommodate a range of injuries. Nick Agafonoff, with an injured ankle, started in goal to cover for the unavailable Johnny Barker; Mikee further demonstrated his versatility by moving from full back to share centre midfield with Pier and cover for James who was also out for the week. Emrys Hughes started at left midfield, leaving Ally on the bench with a back injury, and Bruce Fackerell joined Ricky at centre back.

From the start, it was clear that Earlwood were going to provide some real opposition. Balmain began well, keeping pressure on Earlwood and were rewarded after 10 minutes with a goal when Rob cleverly redirected a back-pass into the back of the net. Earlwood lifted and the next period of play was hard fought, with Balmain trying to consolidate their lead and Earlwood searching for the equaliser. Play was relatively scrappy, as each side was deprived of time on the ball and each side tested the other with attempts on goal.

Earlwood broke through with an equaliser about 15 minutes before half time, following the failure of the Rovers defence to chase down a long ball. Just five minutes before half time, Earlwood took the lead when one of their forwards did some skilful work to dribble past Balmain’s keeper and knock the ball into the net. Shortly afterwards, Nick was replaced as keeper by Ben (Balmain’s top goal scorer) after Nick further aggravated his ankle injury in a collision with one of Earlwood’s forwards.

The second half began much the same, although now it was Balmain trying to rally for the equaliser. Ricky made some inspiring runs from the defence to attack the Earlwood goals. Pier, Emrys, Mikee and Jon continued to toil in midfield. Mark Bamford came on for Emrys and injected some clver moves from the left. Ally came on for Jon on the right, bringing energy and dash and the prospect of a send-off if he continued to let the Earlwood players get under his skin. But, despite some inspiring moments such as Bruce heading off the line, it wasn’t to be Balmain’s day. Another valiant attempt to clear the ball from the box led to an own-goal bringing the score-line to 3-1. Shortly afterwards Earlwood scored a fourth.

Despite the score, Balmain showed character and continued to press for a break-through. However, Rovers failed to capitalise on possession, spraying long balls up to the forwards in a frantic attempt to redress the score-line. With Ben justifying the decision to play him in goal with some courageous keeping, Rob Liney was left solo up front to tangle with a tight Earlwood defence. Balmain’s run of poor luck finally turned when the Earlwood keeper lost his cool and ran to the half way line to give Ally an up close and personal view of his negotiating skills. Balmain players on the left of the park quickly spotted the opportunity and hastily played an attack down the left side of the field. The Earlwood keeper raced back to his line and arrived just in time to be beaten by a well placed shot by Brian.

The Pele points go to:

2 - Rob Liney - great effort
2 - Ricky Onsman - for his great defence and surging runs from the back
1 - Brian Yeung - gritty performance and didn’t give up
1 - Ben Jones - some great save and a big sacrifice to play in goals


Match Report 3
Balmain Rovers 3B Firsts v Earlwood
Hughes Park, Earlwood
Sat 27 April 2002
Kick-off 3pm
Report by Nick Vince

For a few founding members of Balmain Rovers this was a chance to reminisce and remember halcyon playing days from over five years ago where Balmain Rovers began as a disaffected few sought their own team and relocated to Balmain.

Both clubs brought undefeated records to the ground and sought to continue the excellent starts to the new season, which had given plenty of goals and only a handful conceded. In the case of the Firsts an outstanding defence had kept three clean sheets even though we had struggled with goalkeepers due to injury. If only my brother had decided to move to Australia with me!!!! A change to the team saw Paul Millard and Ammon Mackie back from injury and Dean Da Silva, fresh from his man of the match performance the previous week, reverted to left midfield. Matt Linton came in for Andy Farmery who was out injured. For some reason the belief within the team ensures no matter who plays, or where they play, they believe a win will come.

The game started positively with the Firsts putting an aggressive Earlwood under pressure from the off and retaining their composure in the face of some very undisciplined challenges. Paul Edwards set out his usual stall of power football complemented by some aggressive running on both flanks to take the game straight to Earlwood. David Hynd, with his flicks and side steps, looked assured as usual. As always it wasn’t a goal which changed the game but a moment of thuggery by an ill-disciplined opponent, who chose a cowardly off the ball elbow into Paul McDonnell’s neck.

Now as a Manager and a player I don’t always see eye to eye with officials but the young linesman showed courage and vision in highlighting the offence to the referee, who promptly sent off the rather large Earlwood midfielder - who'd been struggling to keep up with the game anyway.

This should have been the cue for Balmain to pull away following a delightful goal from Paul Edwards who, after receiving the ball inside the area, smashed a low drive into the corner - which was no less than the team deserved.

However instead of quietly continuing the good start, Paul Millard (uncharacteristically) launched a verbal assault on the referee about an over-the-top challenge, which resulted in a yellow card to complement one received just five minutes before. We will learn. The referee it seemed was eager to balance the game in terms of numbers and again yielded to opposition calls for cards to be produced. This is an evil which needs to be eradicated from the game, and I hope the Association takes note.

For the rest of the half, Earlwood hung on and Joey Nicotra (having an excellent game) had little to do behind a secure defence led by Nik Hopkins. Paul McDonnell again excelled and both Kon and Matt secured the flanks.

Leading 1-0 at halftime, I again made it clear to Balmain what was needed to win this game. A quiet confidence and belief has entered the minds of the players and their response is always spot-on. As a Manager, I can ask no more of them.

The second half began much the same as the first although without the over-the-top tackling, due to a deal struck with the referee who although he was dressed in black had a good game on the whole. We kept the same formation, resisting the urge to provide another forward to aid a hardworking Ammon Mackie. Although Earlwood threw players forward we coped, resisted and responded with another well-taken goal from Dean Da Silva who followed in on a superb Matt Clementson shot which rebounded off the cross bar.

Ben Jones made his First team field debut, in recognition of his Reserve performances, and after coming on for the hard working Ammon Mackie continued to close down the Earlwood defence giving them little time on the ball.

Even at 2-1 we kept control in spite of a Earlwood four-man attack supplemented by speculative long ball tactics which worked to get a goal back but no more than that. A final change saw Matt Clementson replaced by Mark Bamford as Clem's legs could carry him no more due to excellent running and covering.

Another win for Balmain Firsts who, along with our other sides, continue to excel and play the game as it should be played. No one holds any fear for us and we will continue to believe in our abilities. Whoever plays against us know they will have to play to their best to beat us and we firmly believe we are developing into a great side. This result was typical in that despite bookings and cards, nothing shakes us as we continue to power our way through the opposition. Let them worry about cards and whatever - we will just continue to play football (not soccer - no wonder you don’t qualify for the World Cup).

The Pele points go to:

3 - Paul Edwards - Another captain's performance of power and strength
2 - Nik Hopkins - Organisation and encouragement being two key points
1 - Paul McDonnell - Overcame an awkward elbow problem


Award Standings

Pele Medal

6 - Paul Edwards
5 - Kelly Baigent, Ben Jones, Fergal Murphy
4 - Dean Da Silva, Nik Hopkins, James Mackie, Darren Taylor
3 - Jared Carter, Phil Davis, Alister Haining, David Hynd, Rob Liney, Neil O'Donnell
2 - Adam Brzozowski, Pier D'Angelo, Darren Lynn, Paul McDonnell, Ricky Onsman, Michael Sommers, Brian Yeung
1 - Michael Arthur, Craig Brown, Matt Clementson, Richard Lyne, Ammon Mackie, Paul Millard, Donny Nicholas, John Pereira, Kon Tsalikis

Golden Boot

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



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Newsletter content © 2002 Balmain Rovers

Tuesday 7 May 2002