Balmain Rovers v Botany United
Callan Park, Rozelle
Sunday 20 June 2004
Reserves Kick-off 1pm
Firsts Kick-off 3pm
Reserves: Match Report by Jeff See
Another fine day for football at the home of the Balmain Rovers (no, not the Bald Rock, Callan Park) as Botany, the league leaders, paid us a visit. It has been said that we love a challenge, and true to form, we decided to give them a two goal lead in the first ten or so minutes. However, displaying our great team spirit, we managed to claw our way back into the match, resulting in a corner where Serge spotted the keeper out of position (or so he tells me). Even so, their keeper must have been feeling generous as he punched the ball into the back of the net. 2-1. Obviously feeling that this wasn't challenging enough, we conceded another goal to a long throw-in.
Once again we picked ourselves up and fought our way back into the game, and after creating a few good chances, we managed to get another back. Gotaro this time with an acrobatic finish to make it 3-2, and we were all over them. They obviously weren't expecting such a tough match and their frustration was evident as they began a couple of skirmishes, with Kristian in particular. However, not even that could stop us from getting the equaliser - but the ref could. A goal-bound shot stopped by a non-gloved hand. Penalty, surely! Alas, the protests were waved away.
That took the wind out of the sails, and Botany capitalised with a few quick goals to put the game out of reach at 6-2. However, with the game effectively over, events took a sad turn. With Chris and an opposing player jostling for the ball, their player took a swing at Chris and broke his nose. The referee only produced a yellow card, not red as was so clearly deserved. It was a disappointing end to a game with a disappointing result.
3 - Dan W
2 - Gotaro
1 - Allan
Firsts: Match Report by David Hull
Following three consecutive heavy losses in the league, although buoyed by a spirited double performance over the Queen's birthday long weekend, Rovers Firsts went into Sunday's game against top-of-the-table Botany United determined to give a good account of ourselves. Instead, we came away from it as arguably the better side. Retaining the 4-4-2 formation employed in the cup win over the Pharaohs, Rovers started brightly but were forced into an early substitution when Jim Wragg's hamstring went. On came Matt Linton and, despite having played in the earlier match, he proved an able deputy.
From the moment Rob Liney capitalised on his first sight of goal to give us an early lead, Botany seemed to be shocked they weren't rolling us over. We were focused and continued our improvement in the passing department, but they certainly didn't cause us problems in the manner of Balmain Wanderers. Given our recent run of form, a result of any sort against the league leaders was going to be the highlight of the Firsts' season to date, but we could well have won this match against surprisingly disorganised opponents (evidenced by the voices of frustration and position switching long before half-time) who clearly lacked a cutting edge.
Rob's typically opportunistic goal came via their keeper from a tight angle, although - amid the close proximity of bodies, ball, post and net - few (including the ref) actually realised the ball had gone in (credit must go to 'linesman' Steve Adams, whose keen eyesight and enthusiastic intervention ensured the goal was awarded). We then had several chances to add to the lead before Botany began to get a foothold in the game. Rather than the slick passing movements or early shooting of some of our previous opponents, the patient Botany attackers seemed to wait until a Rovers defender or two had been drawn out of position before putting the ball into our penalty area. This tactic paid dividends in the form of the regulation tap-ins that gave Botany a 2-1 lead at half-time but proved impotent thereafter.
Trailing by only a single goal at half-time gave Rovers all the necessary motivation to keep up the hard work and team shape of the first half, only now we had the knowledge that Botany weren't that crash hot (did they have a lot of players missing or was it just an off day?) and we had every chance of scoring more goals. The early stages of the second half were pretty scrappy but Rovers were in the recently uncharted waters of still being in the match with an hour gone and received further confirmation of this via a charitable equaliser.
Brendan Coutts rose to challenge inside the box following a throw-in, the ball dropped to ground, Dave Griffiths stabbed it towards goal and a Botany defender neatly finished off the move with a well-placed side footed finish. Botany threw men forward for the rest of the match but rather than create a goal threat their pressure merely forced us to concede a large number of throw-ins. At the other end, Rob couldn't quite get his long-range pile drivers going but he continued to chase everything and made their defence look average in the closing stages, by which time Bushy had moved back into midfield to become the dominant force in the game.
The 2-2 result was the least Rovers deserved from a game nicely book-ended by Nick's pre-match advice that Botany was over-confident ("Look, this lot think they've won already") and our opponents' post-match managerial dressing down on the Callan Park steps.
Rob, own goal
3 - Simon
2 - Rob
1 - Ben
Rovers v Sydney Five-O, Thursday 17 June
Rovers were defeated 1-2 by Sydney Five-O. This leaves Rovers second on the ladder behind The Jets and in front of Sydney Five-O, forming the only three real contenders for the title. Rovers have just this Thursday's match against Wear Dark and next week's match against The Jets before the Finals Series starts.
13 -- Ben Jones
8 ---- Chris Daley, Rob Liney, Jeff See
7 ---- Miles Martin, Dominic Salomoni, Gotaro Uematsu
6 ---- Sergio Fiorenza
5 ---- Simon Bush, Les Clarke, Dave Hull, Marshall Moir, Stewart Shaw
3 ---- Steve Adams, Morgan Bowling, Brendan Coutts, Ricky Onsman, Michael Penman, Richard Raward, Nick Vince, Dan Whaite, Kristian Wiles, Jim Wragg
2 ---- Ruben Davis, Dean Lenz, Radan Sturm
1 ---- Bruce Fackerell, Allan Frydman, Rick Currie, Dave Griffiths, Matt Linton
17 -- Rob Liney
8 ---- Sergio Fiorenza
4 ---- Jeff See
3 ---- Dave Griffiths
2 ---- Simon Bush, Dom Salomoni, Radan Sturm, Gotaro Uematsu
1 ---- Chris Daley, Dave Hull, Ben Jones, Marshall Moir, Kristian Wiles
Saturday 26 June 2004:
Away to Leichhardt @ King George Park, Rozelle