This week's Man of the Moment is a toss up between Rob Liney (2 goals for Firsts, 5 goals for Futsal) and Sergio Fiorenza, credited with match-changing tactical manoeuvres for Firsts and Reserves, as well scoring the match-winner for Reserves. Full details below. NB "Super Les"? Must be coz I'm a mild-mannered reporter by day.
Developments on the website continue, with the promised page of player profiles and pics almost ready and accompanied by a new page of player match statistics. There's also a new button in the left sidebar marked "FULL TIME - Social Events". This links to a page detailing what the boys are doing to keep themselves amused off the field. There's also a new set of ads in the right sidebar that earn us some money if you click through - note to club: check out the League Republic online league management software. It's free and it's good.
This week's matches are against Dobroyd Lions, and a couple of wins will see Rovers move out of the mid-table ruck and consolidate coveted top-six positions before a bye round on the weekend of 22/23 May. See you at the game.
Sydney Amateur League Round 5
Balmain Rovers v Sydney Alliance
Callan Park, Rozelle
Sunday 9 May 2004
Reserves Kick-off 1pm
Firsts Kick-off 3pm
Reserves: Match Report by Chris Daley
Confidence was high as Rovers Reserves arrived for another Sunday game. Kick-off was preceded by lots of shirt swapping. Serge was upset by this, but it is part of the game (although normally at the end). Further delays were endured as various mercenary referees fought for the honour. Things are different in this new league. Things are different in this team. For those of us scarred and humiliated as last season's Reserves it's all very rehabilitating. Vince used the delay to choreograph a cunning corner routine. Something about sliding the ball acutely into touch, thereby ... I forget exactly, but it was executed perfectly on at least two occasions.
The first thing I remember about the eventual game was we scored. We threw men forward at the far post for a free kick from the left. Jeff angled it in low and hard and a surprising deflection at the edge of the D sent the ball rolling past a misplaced keeper. NB if anyone's claiming that goal read " ....... steered the ball brilliantly past the keeper".
The sky was bruised and so were they after that goal. The rain started. Their midfield poured upon our goal. (wow - that was quite literary).
These guys were from East Timor. After winning an end to 30 years of murderous occupation maybe they were going to be tough. They certainly had something Portuguese about their football. All touch, cute turns and short passing. But whilst their midfield were dominant their strikers were little more than spectators. We defended comfortably. When the ball got behind us, Morgan was scooping it up well in greasy conditions. We worked the channels but their defence was solid too. Then we screwed up at the back. A second of indecision and misunderstanding between defenders, they stole the ball, laid it back for their best midfielder who "steered the ball brilliantly past our keeper".
1-1 at half-time and the money was on them. The Firsts that swaggered up to watch probably thought that we were going to lose. But this where the gaffer earned his money. Serge called for 4 in the midfield instead of 3! What a masterstroke! (you gotta suckarse the manager.) I explained to oncoming Penman that the quality of their midfielders was directly proportional to the volume of their hair. This helped. We choked up the midfield more in the second half and the game was in the balance. A further substitution brought the debut for Rick Currie, replacing an injured Vince at right back. This lost us some solidity but Rick was like a stir-crazy-cooped-up dog-let-loose. He flew up and down the pitch. He got us the winner.
I think they were trying to clear our corner when Rick nicked in there, drove to the byline and swung a cross in. They blocked the first shot but the ball fell to the gaffer. Many of us would have fluffed it but Serge did his duty admirably. The last 20 minutes was all about defending. Ironically we did it less well than at any stage of the match. But their strikers didn't have the Fiorenza factor. Balmain Rovers beat Sydney Alliance 2-1 and walked off the pitch with the points.
As for the sensitive matter of Pele points let me first say this was a rare game where no one player stood out. Several of us commented on this afterwards. It is true. We all worked bloody hard and we all did a great job. For want of any better criteria I have studied the medal table and decided to award those who I feel have been a bit unlucky to miss out so far this season:
Sergio, own goal
3 - Steve
2 - Kristian
1 - Matt
Firsts: Match Report by Stewart Shaw
It was one of those days that players really don't enjoy: steady rain and a pitch that looked like the deep rough at Augusta Country Club. We were confident after a clean sheet at Algie Park the week before, and with only one change in the team due to injury, we knew that we were going to give Alliance a run for their money.
It is said that the first five minutes of a game is the most important, and this game was no different. Being slow to start we had a chance to have a look at the Alliance team passing confidently from the back, but once it got to the midfield, we knew that we could turn them. Dom was getting around them on the left, with delivery from Dave Hull, leaving the Alliance right back standing flat. The chances were there early, but it was an unusual short corner that led to the first goal - arguably the best goal of the season. Off Rob's non-favoured left foot the shot went sailing into the top right corner out of the desperate reaches of the Alliance keeper. You don't often see Rob celebrate a goal (I think he expects all of them to go in), however this time the arms were up and the celebrations began.
Perhaps it was complacency or the fact that Alliance suddenly realised that they had a game on their hands, but the next section of the game was all about defending. Quality defending. Marshall, Bruce, Glenn, Dave H, Les, well everyone really, worked hard to keep my hands off the ball and the only thing that could happen was a free kick outside the area. Cue a momentary lapse of standard goalkeeping procedure (ie, always cover your near post) and they had a chance and took it. One-all and soon after, with another lapse of concentration (and a bit of bad luck), we were 2-1 down heading into the break.
Our heads were down. We deserved to be ahead, we all knew it. The silence was only interrupted by Marshall grabbing a quick "breather" at the back of the grandstand. We knew what we had to do. We had the talent, the time, the skill and the determination to beat this team. They didn't deserve to be ahead and we needed to show them that.
The half-time talk obviously wasn't clear enough, or didn't sink in (note to self), as we started the second half like we finished the first. It took two Alliance goals and some colourful language from "Super Les" to get the message though to everyone. We had our backs to the wall at 4-1 down and if we wanted a result, well, it was going to take some guts, and a hell of a lot of it.
If Alliance thought they had this one in the bag, they were mistaken. If anything, they were lucky the soccer gods were smiling on them. We sent everything forward and with great speed. With fresh legs from Jim and Gotaro and a tactical change by Serge which worked a treat, we were again getting round the back of them. A goal from Ben and a penalty (Rob) and it was 4-3.
Alliance had 10 players behind the ball. We had them! We could do this! We could sniff a result! We just needed time - the only thing that was against us. The whistle went and we went to wet our whistles, and lament a game that on reflection should have been ours.
Rob (2), Ben
3 - Dom
2 - Dave H
1 - Rob
Futsal Report by Allan Frydman
Rovers v EuroTrash, Thursday 6th May
For our second game, things were looking up from the start. It appeared that for the first time in a fair while we would have our entire squad of eight available for the game. Lots of subs means lots of running - all good. Unfortunately, three players turned up with the flu and requested a lot of bench time - not so good.
The referee caught us all off guard by starting the game early, and we were scrambling to get five onto the pitch for the kick-off. However once we were on the pitch we were automatically on fire. We dispossessed them of the ball early after their kick-off, and from then on it was all Rovers. A quick strike from Rob from the short kick-in opened the scoring and let EuroTrash know what they were in for. Although their goalkeeper made lots of saves he never trapped the ball, leading to our second goal where on the third consecutive shot we finally put the ball to the back of the net: 2-0 Rovers.
Things continued this way for a while and somewhere in the midst of it, our third goal was scored. EuroTrash finally got their moment to attack, and with a great save by Stew, their second strike (a soft lob) went straight into Chris’ arm. Accidental handball, unfortunate penalty against us, score 3-1. The only thing we could do was get revenge before half-time. Half-time score: 4-1.
The second half was a much tighter battle. We were hungry for more goals, and they were playing a lot more defensively. Although they got forward a few times, they still couldn’t get a shot past Stew in goals. We managed just one more for the second half. Final score: Rob 5 - EuroTrash 1 (yes, Rob got all the goals).
Next game: 6:40pm Thursday 13 May, vs Sydney Five-0 - the battle of the undefeated teams.
6 ---- Dominic Salomoni
5 ---- Chris Daley
4 ---- Dave Hull, Ben Jones, Rob Liney, Miles Martin, Jeff See
3 ---- Steve Adams, Les Clarke, Sergio Fiorenza, Marshall Moir, Ricky Onsman
2 ---- Simon Bush, Brendan Coutts, Ruben Davis, Dean Lenz, Radan Sturm, Kristian Wiles
1 ---- Matt Linton, Stewart Shaw
9 ---- Rob Liney
3 ---- Dave Griffiths, Jeff See
2 ---- Sergio Fiorenza, Dom Salomoni, Radan Sturm
1 ---- Simon Bush, Chris Daley, Dave Hull, Ben Jones, Marshall Moir
Saturday 15 May 2004:
Away to Dobroyd Lions @ Algie Park, Haberfield