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Newsletter - Friday 10 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 OíDonnell 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 didnít 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 Carterís well-taken corner. Jaredís 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 Lyneís 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 OíDonnell - 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 Balmain A Reserves
Callan Park, Rozelle
Sat 4 May 2002
Kick-off 1.15pm
Report by James Mackie

The sun was out on yet another perfect autumn day for the residents of metropolitan Sydney, and yet again the Balmain Rovers had to put up with it. It was a day that would make the grass grow and I can tell you that is what happened at Callan Park through the previous week. Well, beside the excellent weather of Sydney we had a game on, and due to the excellent weather meat pies were in for one young member. Need I say any more?

The lead up to the game was good with email floating around about a goalkeeper but when Nick Agafonoff was absent nearing kickoff, the Manager asked Bruce Fackerell in the best way, "Bruce - how do you feel about keeping?" Without time to answer Ricky had thrown the gloves etc at him and said "Thanks"! And now it is my turn to say likewise, "THANKS, Bruce". I feel that taking the gloves alone was worth a Pele point.

To the start of the match. I think half of us were stuffed by the time we got going due to length of the grass - comparable to the outer rough of the 11th hole at St Andrewís. It was long, and the magical cricket pitch was there again to play magical games with us. The game started off okay and for about five minutes both Balmain teams were trying to get their style going and passing the ball. I must say that the so-called Balmain Tigers were doing better. And hence they put one past Bruce on the first go. It has been our good fortune in the last couple of weeks that this has happened and yet we seem to get back.

From this we started to talk more and play a better type of football suited to the long grass of the 11th at St Andrewís. We moved the ball down the wings a lot more for the outside men and it seemed to get into the box, although without much success. We continued to push it into their half and kept on gaining throws into the box but could not capitalise, so we decided to play long from defence, and it came to pass that it worked out well. Good old Rob "My name is Robbie Fowler of 1995-96" kept on getting the ball and cutting back onto his left foot. Finally he had a crack from about 21 yards and bang it went into the bottom right corner. The score was 1-1 and the team duly celebrated.

Once this goal went in we seemed to put a lot more pressure on their defence, and you could tell by how many goal kicks and corners there were. Pity we failed to capitalise straight away. Then with about five minutes to go in the first half, we ran the ball out of our half and were fouled in doing so. Mr "Three Points" Bamford stepped up to the mark quickly and kicked a nice full ball into the box with both Ben and Rob running on to it. Both went up for it with Rob connecting that melon of his to head the ball over the quickly advancing keeper and into the net. What happened next? Well, the usual story when Balmain score goals - more madness, running around as if the goal had just brought a win for our country in the final at Yokohama in 57 days. Not long after this, the referee was starting to feel for the shade and called for half time. I think at least 11 of us out there were quite glad of that.

At the break Nick Vince gave us a rev up and told us we could do it, and I must say it helped me. After this, the 11 of us went back out there knowing that if we played the way we can, we could beat them. The second half started well with nice movements of play and again the long clearing kicks from defence. We battled and continued to try and break down the defence of the opposition and it started to work. Some excellent through balls and some magnificent running down the flanks by Emrys and Ben saw the ball come across time and time again. We continued to hound them this way until one time Matt brought the ball forward through the centre and saw a hole in their defence bigger than the gap between the North and South Head. He placed an inch perfect pass to Ally and the Scot placed it first touch perfectly under the stretching goalkeeper to make it 3-1. It was again time to celebrate.

We continued to push forward and likewise so did they. The game was up and down and their flanks came into the game more and started to put more pressure on our defence. They felt under pressure also to get two goals back to salvage a draw. They continued to abuse and hound us - the best line from them was directed at Ricky, telling him that he was young and immature. This coming from a 19 year old! Ricky took it really well and just got on with it, along with the whole defensive line. Within the last 15 minutes things became a little heated on the pitch and both teams became sick and tired of each other and just wanted to harass each other by winning the game. At one stage an incident took place that sent Donny to the sideline. (No comment from me besides this cause I didnít see it*).

That took us down to 10 men, and they started to pressure us more and eventually got a goal back. The good thing about it was that we continued to push hard and work for each other more with Nick Agafonoff (up front with Rob as Ally replaced Emrys at left half) working hard all the way up and down the pitch. We continued to slow the play down and at one stage big Mike Sommers slowed the whole thing down by collapsing with cramps so bad he had to be carried off. From that point I think the referee wanted to stop the game also. As the ball was coming out of our defensive line yet again, he blew his whistle to bring an end to it, with the sun was still belting down. This was a game that took it out of all the players and especially the boy with the meat gristle still in his teeth.

Congratulations to the team on a great win from behind. Letís keep it up for the following rounds.

The Pele points go to:

3 - Mark Bamford
1 - Ricky Onsman
1 - Rob Liney
1 - Bruce Fackerell

* Donny Nicholas was shown the red card and reported by the referee for "Violent Conduct and Striking". In a bravura showing at the Association judiciary, Nicholas threw himself on the mercy of the court with an impassioned cry of "That's not how I play the game". The tribunal thought about it and gave the supposed hitman his ID card back with no suspension, although they scared him mightily by threatening to make him a referee as punishment! Oh, and he has to get his card laminated.


Match Report 3
Balmain Rovers 3B Firsts v Balmain A
Callan Park, Rozelle
Sat 4 May 2002
Kick-off 3pm
Report by Glenn Bacic

It is always interesting to match up against the talents of a brother team in the same club. This game would be no different, particularly given the strong form of both sides in the season to date. Callan Park is one of the more picturesque grounds although the obligatory cricket pitch and the long grass was difficult to play on.

The match started well despite Konís well-rehearsed pre-match preparations of not packing his contact lenses. The passing game of the Rovers Firsts was a pleasure to watch from the sideline and is testament to the dedication of the players involvement in training and their application on game day.

Whilst the Rovers dominated play from the outset the opponents battled well and for the first fifteen minutes it was anyone's guess who would strike the back of the net first. Fortunately, it was the Rovers after strong work by Nick Agafonoff who battled hard to hold on to the ball up front and pop the ball over the keeper's head.

The second, third and fourth goals followed fast due to good efforts by, and I quote a veteran campaigner, Matt Clementson, "Patrick - through ball from me and rounded the keeper, Millard - header and one other" (let's not talk about the direct free kick - writer).

First half whistle: 4-zip to the Rovers.

Unfortunately, the second half deteriorated into a lacklustre game of football dominated by the constant backchatting by the opponents to the referee. A flurry of yellow cards culminated in one of the opponents' members being shown the red. After that they started to play a bit more football but the Rovers unfortunately let the foot off the pedal and lost the first half excellence in ball control and field vision.

Two goals to the opponents - despite some very fine efforts by Joey in the "purples" with only one in reply courtesy of a Patrick side foot slot put through from Eddy in the second 45 minutes - was not a great way to end the game but hey, a win is a win.

Lesson to be learnt from the day is to apply for 90 minutes and donít relax after a lead because only one or two things can go against you and you have let the opposition back in with a real chance of a win.

The Pele points go to:

3 - Patrick Nolan
2 - Paul McDonnell
1 - Nick Agafonoff


Award Standings

Pele Medal

6 - Paul Edwards
5 - Kelly Baigent, Ben Jones, Fergal Murphy
4 - Dean Da Silva, Nik Hopkins, Rob Liney, James Mackie, Paul McDonnell, Darren Taylor
3 - Mark Bamford, Jared Carter, Phil Davis, Alister Haining, David Hynd, Patrick Nolan, Neil O'Donnell, Ricky Onsman
2 - Adam Brzozowski, Pier D'Angelo, Darren Lynn, Michael Sommers, Brian Yeung
1 - Nick Agafonoff, Michael Arthur, Craig Brown, Matt Clementson, Bruce Fackerell, 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, Paul Millard, Darren Taylor
3 - Nick Agafonoff, Jared Carter, Patrick Nolan
2 - Sohail Dahdal, Pier D'Angelo, Paul Edwards
1 - Michael Badman, Mark Bamford, Adam Brzozowski, Phil Davis, David Hynd, Michael Sommers, Brian Yeung



Saturday 11 May:
Div 4 Reserves v Enfield @ Henley Park, Enfield - 1.15pm
Div 3 Reserves v Concord @ Edwards Park, Concord - 1.15pm
Div 3 Firsts v Abbotsford @ Edwards Park, Concord - 3pm


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Newsletter content © 2002 Balmain Rovers

Friday 10 May 2002