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Newsletter - Tuesday 14 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 Enfield Reserves
Henley Park, Enfield
Sat 11 May 2002
Kick-off 1.15pm
Report by Darren Taylor

After last week's good (but not enjoyable) win we had a game against the team who were top of the table and who had beaten our sole conquerors 5-3. It was important to get a result from this game to keep pace with the leaders.

The Rovers team lined up with Michael Arthur in goal. The backline consisted of Neil O'Donnell at left back, John Pereira at right back and a centre pairing of Kelly Baigent and Richard Lyne. Midfield was made up of Phil Davis and Adam Brzozowski in the centre with Darren Taylor and Jared Carter providing plenty of pace on the wings. Up front were Fergal Murphy and Darren Lynn.

Sohail Dahdal and Adam Freeman made up the substitutes while Mike Badman, out with an injured ankle, provided plenty of support with the 'Snake'.

The game plan was to start out defensively as it was rumoured that the opposition could attack very effectively, so Fergal started as an attacking midfielder with Phil marking their danger man in midfield. The game plan went sweetly for the first 20 minutes during which the game was very evenly balanced. The first attack of the game was to see Darren L hit the bar with a looping header. This increased the confidence of Balmain who had started out probably showing Enfield a little to much respect The game ebbed and flowed from end to end, a cracking game with good passing, committed but clean tackles and a good deal of scoring opportunities. This reporter has to admit that he missed two chances that he should have put away, which would have given Balmain the lead they deserved for their dogged play. The centre of midfield was a battleground with Adam and Phil handling everything that Enfield could throw at them, with the superb assistance of Fergal who was everywhere.

Then disaster struck when a ball that should have been cleared from the left found its way into our box. Their striker pounced on it and with no other option Richard took him down. Up stepped their big man (who was certainly bigger than our big man) to take the kick. He blasted it in, with Michael very unlucky not to tip it over the bar.

Game on. Could we lift our heads to come fighting back? Yes we could, and I think the last 10 minutes of the first half was all Balmain. We continued to hassle and harry in midfield, the defence let nothing through and up front the boys were fighting for every ball. Finally we got the breakthrough. Fergal chased down a long ball played from midfield, beat one defender and rounded the keeper who had pushed him out wide left. We all thought the chance had gone until Fergal pulled an amazing ball back from the sideline for Darren L to tap in. It was no more than we deserved because we had given as good as we got in the first half - if not more.

The second half started with no changes on the Balmain team. It also started off in the same pattern, with Balmain playing the better football and creating the better opportunities. The first half performances of both teams seemed to have taken its toll as the pace eased and a few more mistakes started to creep into play. The wind also seemed to pick up in favour of Enfield.

Then - praise be - we took the lead, thanks to a well-worked goal. John works the ball out of the right side of defence and gives it to Jared, who rounds two of their midfielders before playing a peach of a ball in to Fergal in the box who still had a lot to do. It was a super cool finish with the inside of the boot to give us the lead.

However that seemed to spur Enfield on who came back at us with everything. Sohail came on for the injured Darren T and immediately got stuck into the action. A long ball was played up the middle of the Balmain defence only for it to hang in the wind and let one of their forwards in who gave Michael no chance with a good finish. So all even again with twenty minutes left to play.

Then disaster struck (again) when another penalty was awarded against us. At the time no-one knew what it is was for, but later on in the pub we found out that John 'may' have held on to the attacking player. So up stepped the same big man (who was still bigger than our big man) to smack the ball - but this time Michael 'Schmeichel' Arthur was equal to the task, just getting a finger to the ball to push it onto the crossbar. The ball broke out and was played back in only for the same player to smash it against the bar again. Surely the gods were shining on us. Balmain was lucky. The game continued on with Adam F coming on for the injured Darren L who had hassled and harried Enfield all day.

Then, with 10 minutes left on the clock, a simple tackle by Sohail on the edge of Balmain's box was punished by the referee. Up stepped their centre back to unleash an unstoppable shot that flew into the top corner. A great free kick that would grace any game. Balmain refused to give up the game. To lose it would have been an unfair result. With two minutes left, Balmain pushed their big men forward in search of an equaliser. Richard got the ball on the half-way line and rounded two players before laying a beautiful ball on to Sohail, who was on his weaker side. Sohail produced an amazing cross that found Fergal at the back post to nod in the equaliser. A cracking goal to bring us back on level terms. Enfield were deflated. As soon as they tipped off the ref blew the final whistle.

All round, an outstanding team performance got us a result against a good team. Everybody played their part in a great game of football. The hammering we got at the hands of Balmain B well and truly vanished. It was probably the best thing to happen to us at that stage. Bring them on again and we will see what will happen. If we can perform like this in every other game it will be hard to beat us.

The Pele points go to:

2 - Phil Davis - another outstanding performance from Phil, who nullified their danger men and used the ball intelligently. If my memory serves me right I think he delayed his wedding anniversary celebrations to help us. What a game - what a man.
2 - Fergal Murphy - more great running and unselfish play from Fergal. A powerhouse of a performance.
1 - Richard Lyne - for not 'staring at the ground' and assuming a managerial role right from the start of the game
1 - Michael 'Schmeichel' Arthur - that index finger deserves a point for keeping us in the game at a crucial time

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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 Concord Reserves
Edwards Park, Concord
Sat 11 May 2002
Kick-off 1.15pm
Report by Johnny Barker

The looming black clouds could have been construed as an ominous sign after the balmy playing conditions we'd experienced in the early part of the season but the Reserves, not being a superstitious mob, hoped that their return to Edwards Park would prove a No Repeat Work Day after their Grand Final defeat there last year.

It was somewhat ironic then that the Concord team we faced was made up in large part of the Abbotsford side that plunged the knife in during that very final. They were young, fast and hungry and it wasn't going to prove a day of retribution for the Reserves ... this time around.

Missing in action were Bruce "Don't make me keeper again" Fackerell, Emrys "Howard" Hughes and Brian "These boots were made for talking" Yeung, while Ricky "Chopper" Onsman was recovering from a bout of illness and Jon "Steamroller" Drea was hampered by an ankle injury that was further aggravated early in the game.

There were some early positives though - Donny "I didn't do it Y'r Honour" Nicholas had charmed his way out of a suspension on Tuesday and Sergio "My era's not over" Fiorenza was making a welcome return to the paddock after frequent sojourns to Australia's very own Home of Country Music.

From the kick-off the Reserves' well-oiled passing game was rusty round the edges and too often, too early, the ball was booted up field to little effect. The midfield combo of James "When's the baby due?" Mackie and Pier "Don't call me Beverly" D'Angelo were unusually quiet and our forwards Sergio, Jon (moved up because he could barely walk let alone run), Ben "Casey" Jones and Rob "Hat trick" Liney were starved of the ball.

Therefore, the backs had their work cut out. Ally "Braveheart" Haining, always ready to lay his body on the line, was mown down twice early on and the second time the ref suggested that perhaps he'd had enough. But it would take more than a few words from a pint-sized man in black to make Ally leave the field. His defence at left back (he would play three other positions before the day was out) was outstanding.

Late in the first half, Concord scored from a well aimed penalty that dropped into the top left hand corner and soon after they scored again after a melee in the penalty box. We were down 2-0 at half time. At this point, Jon retired injured after a stellar effort and Sergio was rested so he could front up again for the Firsts. They were replaced by Matt "Ship in the night" Linton and Nick "The new Ray Martin" Aganoff.

Down, but far from out, the team knew more composure was needed and passes had to start finding players running into space but the pace of the Concord side proved prohibitive. Also, Concord's trash talkin' started to get under the skin of some of Balmain's finest who, while easily matching them insult for insult (stand up Ally, James and Mikee), allowed the jibes to get under their skin, and to take some of their focus off the game.

Hope was restored when Ally planted one into the back of the net but from their kick-off they returned the serve and it was 3-1. From that point they peppered our goalmouth, putting the ball over the top and chasing hard. On two more occasions they were successful (though the less said about their final goal from their pre-pubescent stick insect sub the better).

Other noteworthy moments in a game lacking noteworthy moments? The tireless Ben put a neat one over the crossbar for a near miss; the ref went down in the back play in an unsighted incident, James was yellow carded but the incident wasn't recorded and arguably Concord's least popular player, their speedy, loose-lipped No 6, missed a direct penalty much to the delight of the Rovers.

Disappointing? Sure, but we remain third on the table and now have some measure of what we'll be up against in the finals. And there's still the next round to wreak our vile revenge.

The Pele points go to:

3 - Ally - a true captain's knock
1 - Ben - didn't see much of the ball but was always dangerous when he did
1 - Matt - faultless at the back in the second half
1 - Donny - forever chasing and not a red card in sight

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Match Report 3
 
Balmain Rovers 3B Firsts v Concord
Edrwards Park, Concord
Sat 11 May 2002
Kick-off 3pm
Report by Ammon Mackie

Well my first thought for today was "What the ...? Finally, a day more bearable for a soccer player". Then I got to the ground. Memories came blowing back of the wonderful conditions we endured the last time we played here. And again I thought that we were to play in those same conditions.

Playing with a side that is looking more and more different every match, due to injuries plus the odd no-show, we were still confident of playing well and coming away with a win.

Unfortunately straight away the wind blew - but it was the ball this time, going into the back of the net. This was a shock to all and not something that we had been accustomed to. We were looking rather unsettled and then not long after - it happened again. This was definitely new territory. But to our credit, we were able to combine and settle and soon be in a position where we might be able to get back into the match. Then - a cross into a knot of bodies and Eddie got his head to it and steered it into the back of the net. There was a nervous moment as it seemed it might just take a turn to the outside but then relief that it went it the right way. Balmain definitely lifted and took more control of the game, and that was the way the first half ended.

The second half started with a few changes made to bring some semi-fresh legs that were able to add to the team, and we definitely looked more dangerous. Some great runs were made down the flanks, coupled with penetrating runs through the centre. We were rewarded again for the hard yards put in by all those on the field with an equalising goal. There continued to be more and more chances but none ended in the goal that we were waiting for.

As everyone's legs got more tired, frustration crept into the side as we were needing to go harder, then even harder as we lost another to the sideline illness. Forced to play with only 10 players on the field this was a test for all, and they were up to the challenge, continuing to push and look for that goal. One player down turned into two when Eddie also did something to his ankle.

The story goes on, but the score line stayed the same. 2-2 was not a totally dissatisfying result given the circustances, but credit to the boys who continued to fight and show they are a team that will not accept a they have met a better one and will rise to any occasion to show themslves to be the superior side.

The Pele points go to:

2 - Dave Hynd
2 - Paul Edwards
1 - Patrick Nolan
1 - Kon Tsalikis

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Award Standings

Pele Medal

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

Golden Boot

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

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Fixtures

Saturday 18 May:
Div 4 Reserves v Burwood A @ Blair Park, Croydon - 1.15pm
Div 3 Reserves v Canterbury @ Callan Park, Rozelle - 1.15pm
Div 3 Firsts v Canterbury @ Callan Park, Rozelle - 3pm

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Newsletter content 2002 Balmain Rovers

Tuesday 14 May 2002