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Newsletter - Wednesday 7 July 2004
Published by Balmain Rovers, part of the Balmain & District Soccer Club.

Sydney Amateur League Round 13

Balmain Rovers v Academics
Callan Park, Rozelle
Sunday 4 July 2004
Reserves Kick-off 1pm
Firsts Kick-off 3pm

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Reserves: Match Report by Pier D'Angelo
 
Driving to Callan Park there was cause for optimism. It was a bright sunny day, the weather was almost unseasonably warm and with a number of losses under our belts in June, it felt like it was time for a change of fortunes. The writer had slept well (for a change) and was looking forward to a win in what seemed like idyllic conditions.

Unfortunately, as these stories go, things were not as they first seemed. Arriving at the ground, players were confronted with what seemed like a small gale coming off the Bay taking with it clouds of dust which swept across the ground in huge sheets. It was a scene that would look in its place in any outback town. Thanks to pep talks from Serge ("Let's nail them today") and Morgan ("Let's talk positive") before the game, we all took to the field with bright optimism. This optimism was somewhat supported by our knowledge that Academics were starting with only 8 players so it seemed we might be in for an easy contest.

The opening minutes did not disappoint as Balmain Rovers pushed forward easily, with Academics struggling to overcome the advantage that we had in numbers. Unfortunately, our efforts in the early minutes were not particularly well focused or organised and did not result in what seemed to be a certain early goal. Gradually, Academic players arrived fresh from their studies and took the field so that by about 20 minutes in Academics were back to 11 and at full strength. With the finishing touches having been perfected back on campus, Academics took a commanding control of possession through some talented individual ball skills and an excellent passing game. The Balmain backline of Dean, Ricky, Richard and Ruben did not coordinate and the result was three quick goals which left the Rovers gaping and, in respect of one overlooked offside call, fuming at the officials. We returned to the sheds at half time 3-0 down with everyone asking themselves: "Why?".

Following some quick refreshments, the Spanish Inquisition and some rousing words, we returned to the pitch emboldened to take the match up to Academics and not let this become a rout. Whilst Academics continued with more of the same passing game (why change if it's working for you?) we played a tighter marking game and chased down every ball in order to try and close the margin - everybody gave it 110%. These efforts gave rise to a number of missed chances (including by the author). The midfield became less of a playground for Academics to practice their ball-twirling trickery as Michael, Pier and Kristian gained some control.

Fresh legs in the form of Dave Griffiths and Steve Adams helped a lot. A free kick inside the opposition's half was taken by Ricky, waiting to allow the defence to creep forward and make some room at the back. Dave sped onto the looped ball, controlling it just inside the touchline and bringing it back into the box where Sergio tapped it in to equal his all-time season goal tally.

More and more of the match was taking place in the Academics half (although their speedy runs at the Balmain box still troubled our defence), and Rovers applied concerted pressure. A Fiorenza free kick was only fractionally off target and Ricky came close with headers off well-placed corner kicks from Sergio and Dan Whaite. The game ended 3-1 in favour of Academics who had proved that they were not incapable of applying what they'd learned back on Campus.

Goals:
Sergio

Pele points:
2 - Ricky
1 - Michael
1 - Kristian
1 - Dave Griffiths
1 - Richard R

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Firsts: Match Report by Nick Vince
 
After watching the Reserves struggle against a well skilled and pacy Academics team, the Firsts wondered what would await them if this was indeed their Reserve team. Well, after a quick check for new cars turning up or people walking along with kit bags it turned out that we were to face ... the same team! Whilst you always think its going to be to your advantage it must be said that if any team could play two games one after the other and still come out with credit it would be the Academics. The mix of short runs and making the ball do the work would ensure they had a little bit more left in the tank than many other teams we had faced.

Initially stung by the loss of three key players in Stew, Rob and Brendan for the game in addition to some long term injuries we were buoyed by the appearance of our new mid season signing Dave Giacobbe from Sydney University. Dave is a player we have admired and chased since his appearance at pre season training and we are really pleased to have him in our ranks.

On a very windy day it was obvious from the outset that the weather would make a difference. Academics had the wind for the first half and some hard long range efforts were well dealt with by Morgan between the sticks.

Academics carried on from where they left off against the Reserves with excellent movement and good distribution of the ball. This was more than matched however in midfield by the strength of Simon Bush and Matt Linton allowing early searching runs from Ben and Marshall. Dave G started well and showed some great early touches as well as two crosses which should have been converted. As the first half went on Academics tired a little with some late and tired tackles resulting in a yellow card and a bit too much banter with a number of Rovers players. Morgan was outstanding making no mistakes and producing some excellent saves from long shots. Over the last three weeks Rovers have looked a lot more solid across the park and gradually broke down the Academics to produce a chance for Gotaro who took it with aplomb.

At half-time really we had to concentrate on our basics and it was felt that nothing less than a 3-0 win would be satisfactory. Academics were tiring and getting a little niggly and if we kept our cool, chances would come which we must convert. Sure enough both Dave and Ben started running at the tired legs and Simon kept probing in central midfield until succumbing to blisters from the recent dry weather causing hard pitches. Dave Hull got into the game a little more and through a bad 10 minute spell for Rovers covered well in defence. It was to become a full-time job through the withdrawal of Glenn as a precautionary measure. Bruce covered well for Marshall as we started to get sucked out of position but fortunately we were not punished. The only punishment happening was for an Academic player sent off following 3 (yes, 3!) yellow cards, the final one for a professional foul on Dave G. By this time we were 2-0 up, as Jeff See dispossessed an Academics defender and coolly beat the keeper one-on-one. The pass mark was attained with Gotaro's second goal.

It was not only a crucial win but also a win under pressure. Playing teams either with 9 or 10 men or having played the game before produces pressure on yourself as you know you should be coming with a win. Well done. Players are back from injury and all bodes well for the rest of the League season and our Cup run.

Goals
Gotaro (2), Jeff

Pele Points

3 - Morgan. Not a step wrong and didn't look like being beaten, was equal to some fiery shooting. 2 - Gotaro. Has filled in not just admirably for injured team mates but has stated a case for staying with the Firsts. 1 - Dave Giacobbe. Showed why we are delighted to have him in our club and another young player to build our team for the future

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Futsal Report
 
Rovers v The Jets, Thursday 1 July

It was the final game of the home and away season. The Rovers were up against The Jets and the winner would walk away with the minor premiership wrapped up. To cut a short story even shorter, we won 9-4.

We were 6-0 up at half-time after Rob, Michael, Bruce and Marshall absolutely creamed them. The Jets simply had no idea who was going to take the shot. They tried marking Rob out of the game so he was passing backwards (soooo strange) and then moving away. A Jet would keep chasing the ball, Rob would find space and - well, he blasted 5 in the first half ... just by passing the ball. We actually looked like we knew how to play. The rest is history.

Next game: 8pm Thursday 8 July, vs Sydney Five-O, Semi Final - NSW Futsal site

Note - for all those interested in playing Futsal, the next season starts in the week commencing 2nd August. If we get enough interest we can get some teams into the competition. There are competitions running on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights. Each competition generally runs for approximately 12 weeks, and there are 3 to 4 competitions per year. Please email me with all nights listed in order of preference, and I will get back to you all with the next steps.

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Award Standings

Pele Medal

14 -- Ben Jones
10 -- Gotaro Uematsu
9 ---- Rob Liney, Marshall Moir
8 ---- Chris Daley, Jeff See
7 ---- Miles Martin, Dominic Salomoni, Stewart Shaw
6 ---- Morgan Bowling, Sergio Fiorenza, Ricky Onsman
5 ---- Simon Bush, Les Clarke, Dave Hull
4 ---- Michael Penman, Richard Raward, Kristian Wiles
3 ---- Steve Adams, Brendan Coutts, Ruben Davis, Nick Vince, Dan Whaite, Jim Wragg
2 ---- Dave Griffiths, Dean Lenz, Radan Sturm
1 ---- Rick Currie, Pier D'Angelo, Bruce Fackerell, Allan Frydman, Dave Giacobbe, Matt Linton

Golden Boot

18 -- Rob Liney
9 ---- Sergio Fiorenza
5 ---- Jeff See 4 ---- Gotaro Uematsu
3 ---- Dave Griffiths
2 ---- Simon Bush, Dom Salomoni, Radan Sturm
1 ---- Chris Daley, Dave Hull, Ben Jones, Marshall Moir, Kristian Wiles

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Next Match

Sunday 11 July 2004:
Home to Melchester Rovers @ Callan Park, Rozelle

The second half of the draw is now up on the website under Fixtures

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Wednesday 7 July 2004
Newsletter content 2004 Balmain Rovers