balmain rovers
Newsletter - Tuesday 26 April 2005
Published by Balmain Rovers, part of the Balmain & District Soccer Club.
Sydney Amateur League Rd 4

Balmain Rovers v Leichhardt Saints: Wentworth Park, Glebe: Sat 23 April 2005

Reserves match report by Steve Adams

Reserves had something to prove after a disappointing display the previous week and started well. Stevie Ashton broke free of the Leichhardt defence and implanted enough spin on the ball to make Warnie proud, beating the keeper at his near post. 1-0. It wasn’t long before Rovers had doubled their lead through the prolific Ashton. 2-0 and Rovers back on track.

Rovers made a couple of enforced changes at half-time which unfortunately proved their undoing. Almost immediately, Leichhardt had levelled with two quick strikes, and not long after, took the lead, 2-3. By this time Rovers were struggling to keep afloat against incessant pressure but on one of our rare breaks, Jeff was played in and slotted home beautifully giving the keeper no chance. It wasn’t long before Leichhardt once again took the lead but the battling Rovers spirit was still there and Michael Penman stepped up to bring us level.

The spirits were lifted and a quick Rovers breaks saw Ashton cross a beautiful ball to the far post and Big Dave Ford rise like a salmon to plant the ball in the back of the net. However, the Leichhardt players beleaguered the ref, who - from an ideal position close to the halfway line - called the ball out and chalked off the strike. Leichhardt then played a ball that split the orange defence, but Rovers had moved up well as a unit and caught the striker offside. The linesman duly raised his flag to signal the infringement, but - again from his perfect position in the centre circle - the ref waved play on for the striker to score. These decisions deflated the Rovers team spirit, heads dropped and Leichhardt went on to add two more. 4-7.

Goals: Steve Ashton (2), Jeff See, Michael Penman
Pele Points: 3 - Jim Wragg, 2 - Stewart Shaw, 1 - Steve Ashton

Firsts match report by Steve Adams

Despite the Reserves' loss, previous performances suggested that Rovers Firsts would have little to worry about against Saints and that proved to be the case. We were lucky enough that the previous ref was only running the line now and the first decision he made was overruled by the new referee – no surprise there! The solid Rovers back line provides the perfect foundation for attacking forays and in Andy McLeod we have the perfect midfield engine. It wasn't long before he sliced through the Leichhardt defence and smashed the ball into the back of the net. 1-0.

Shortly after, Martyn Farnworth deservedly got on the scoresheet. After creating several openings for others, one fell his way and he coolly slotted home. Rovers continued to make chances throughout the game whilst effectively shutting out the opposition attacks. Some dithering in the Leichhardt defence and some good hustling lead to a dodgy backpass, of which the keeper made an absolute pig’s ear. The ball looked to be rolling out for a corner, but Liney showed the sort of predatory instinct that would be displayed the following day when he was to be attacked by a fish with four-inch teeth. He chased the ball down and finished from a seemingly impossible angle. It didn’t take long for Liney to double his tally when he blasted home from the penalty spot, giving the keeper no chance.

Rovers then switched off and allowed Leichhardt back into the game with two goals that our normally impenetrable backline would never normally concede. However, Rovers had done enough to win the game and deservedly remain ‘Top of the Pops’. 4-2.

Goals: Rob Liney (2), Andy McLeod, Martyn Farnworth
Pele Points: 3 - Andy McLeod, 2 - Martyn Farnworth, 1 - Ben Jones

Canterbury District Rd 4

Balmain Rovers v Marrickville: Easton Park, Rozelle: Sat 23 April 2005

Match report by Richard Raward

The Balmain attack had been blunted somewhat with the absence of Simon, Roberto and Dan but the boys were determined to put on a show. With Serge under an injury cloud and Ruben under the weather, subs weren’t going to be an option during this game. When the call came 20 minutes from kickoff that Cormac had turned up at Enfield, sweat beaded on the brow of the boys at the prospect of starting the game with 10 men but the flash fullback arrived in the nick of time. Thanks go to Al Frydman for refereeing when the CDSFA ref was a no show. Game on.

Balmain began the game in the best possible way when within 5 minutes, a beautiful ball by Dale sliced the Marrickville defence in two with Adam pouncing on it, punishing the ball into the back of the net. Balmain one up. Control of the game continued Balmain's way with some great passing through the midfield. Gotaro bravely carried on with an ankle injury that forced Balmain down to 10 men for five minutes. About 10 minutes from half time, Cormac took matters into his own hands. From the back line he weaved his way through the centre of the pitch to the edge of Marrickville box where he let fly with a thunderbolt that never looked like missing. Balmain team-mates were as stunned as the Marrickville defence who could only gape at what they had just seen. Balmain headed to the break with the score at 2-0.

The second half was more competitive with both teams tiring and the heat taking its toll. Balmain continued to move the ball well all over the park but couldn’t capitalise. Five minutes from time a Marrickville attacker made the first threatening shot all game but Morgan's catlike reflexes kept the sheet clean and Balmain came away with the points. 2-0.

Goals: Adam White, Cormac O'Shea
Pele Points: 2 - Dale Humphries, 1 - Adam White, Cormac O'Shea, Tony Madau, Gabe Cataldo

Balmain Rovers v Burwood B: Easton Park, Rozelle: Sat 23 April 2005

Match report by Dan Higson

The stadium was packed and the crowd roared as we ran out onto a sun drenched pitch - well there was a couple blokes out walking their dogs and Serge's team showed some interest. The ref blew his whistle and we were off at a cracking pace! In fact virtually all the action came in the first 30 minutes. Everyone on the park got a touch within seconds and both teams were well up for it. Early on Paul put the first points on the board for Balmain after a scramble in Burwood's penalty area ended up in the back of their net. 1-0. Sadly moments later, Burwood equalised.

Balmain had some great opportunities soon after with Kader having his best game yet. On the left wing Ere made some great runs, beating several players and putting some beauties across for Paul. Paddy and Dean held fast in the middle, working hard to feed the ball through and the backs as usual were solid as a rock. I put a fairly decent cross through to Paul who slammed it into the back of the net (well, kind of ... the goalie dropped it through his own legs). Balmain's spirit's lifted but moments later down at the other end Burwood put a high ball across and a great header went through Amir's hands to even the scores.

For the remaining hour Balmain worked hard but just couldn't come up with anything much - Gav had a superb go at goal from 20 yards out and Paul had a couple more shots - in fact everyone played a good game but it just wasn't coming. Even after a few substitutions we weren't able to keep it up and for the last 20 minutes it was like a shooting gallery in our goalmouth. Towards the end, Amir's goal-kicks were going straight to Burwood's forwards who were hammering them straight back at us. It was a tough end to a game that started out like it was going to be our first win. We didn't win (again!) but we didn't lose and they were a good side. To wrap it up, Mat made a blinding run up the wing with his esky of beer and the lads were happy again. 2-2.

Goals: Paul Wright (2)
Pele Points: 3 - Paul Wright, 2 - Dean Lenz, 1 - Ere Sihalath

Futsal Update

On 21 April, Balmain Rovers managed its first loss this season by going down 1-4 to Glebe Albion in the Thursday 2nd Division of the Indoor 5s autumn comp. They're still on top of the table, but only by one point. Having lost to a team that hadn't previously won a match in this comp, our boys now play the only other team yet to win a game. Anything could happen. Next match: Rovers v Torpedo Ultimo, 8pm, Thursday 28 April, Sydney University. NSW Futsal site

Sydney Amateur Knockout Cup Rd 1

Balmain Rovers v Melchester Rovers: Wentworth Park, Glebe: Mon 25 April 2005

Reserves match report by Dave Ford

We went into this match on the back on two defeats (one at the hands of Melchester) so we all knew that this was a must win match. Struggling for numbers again, our starting 11 consisted of a mix of reserve and first team players. The game started and the football on display was quite scrappy and physical. About 20 minutes into the game Dave Hull's ankle was broken in an uncharacteristically violent tackle. It only took a few minutes for substitute Andy McLeod to make his mark by placing a header into the left corner of the goal after a Nick Vince corner. 1-0 to Rovers. Just before half-time and against the run of play Melchester converted their first noteworthy chance of the match so far. Half-time 1-1.

The team was shuffled around at half-time and Rovers came out looking disorganised and lethargic. Two goals from Melchester followed, both owing to poor communication and confusion in the back line. Unlike the previous match Rovers managed to keep their heads up and carried on grafting. About 20 minutes from time Dave Ford, who until this point was mainly anonymous at right mid, got onto the end of a flick on and side footed into the net for 2-3. The last 20 minutes was all Rovers with wave after wave of attacks on the Melchester goal. Two minutes from time Rob Liney (super sub) managed to convert to pull the score to 3-3.

Extra time and both teams were looking extremely tired. 10 minutes of scrappy football and no score. Finally, after 5 minutes of the second half, Rovers showed their quality. A quality through ball down the right wing from Nick Vince and Dave Ford was able to sprint past a defender and get a cross into the danger area, where Andy McLeod was waiting and unleased a fierce 15 yard drive leaving the keeper no chance. 4-3 to Rovers. The last 5 minutes saw Rovers hanging on for dear life but unfortunately conceding a goal with only a few minutes to the final whistle. A route one ball from the Melchester goalkeeper and nobody in the Rovers back line made the clearance. The Melchester forward was gifted a very soft goal to take the game into penalties.

Nick, Rob, Andy, Jeff and Steve Ashton all stepped up and converted well taken penalties for Rovers. Melchester missed their 5th with a good save from Stew who had got his fingers to at least one penalty beforehand. All in all a good effort to keep our heads up and get back into the game from 2 goals down. However, we need to do some work on set pieces and route 1 balls that keep getting us unstuck at the back. 9-8.

Goals: Andy McLeod (3), Rob Liney (2), Steve Ashton, Dave Ford, Jeff See, Nick Vince
Pele Points: 3 - Andy McLeod, 2 - Jim Wragg, 1 - Stewart Shaw

Firsts match report by Ricky Onsman

Melchester Reserves, themselves having had to back up from a Sunday game to play 110 minutes on the Monday only to go down in a shootout, stood amazed on the sidelines as much the same Rovers team that had just beaten them took the field again to play the Firsts match. And while the orange Reserves definitely had revenge on their minds for the previous week's regular season loss, so the Melchester Firsts wanted to respond to their previous loss to Balmain. It's fair to say that no-one on the pitch was fresh, but everyone wanted to win.

Look, it's not worth going into the usual details of this match. Suffice to say that it was a seesawing battle that saw two more excellent goals from Andy McLeod and a third from one of the better combinations of classy passing and effective finishing seen from Balmain Rovers this year. It was fitting that the hard-working and reliable Pete Boyle's name was attached to that goal. Melchester Rovers also grafted hard and took their chances when they could. After 90 minutes the scores were, as in Reserves, locked. Once again, two goals were scored in extra time, but this time they were both scored by Melchester to deliver them a 5-3 win.

What IS worth drawing attention to, however, is the absolutely outstanding work put in by the Balmain Rovers who were there on Monday, in both matches. Seven players had more than two and a half hours game time each. Only three Rovers played for less than 110 minutes and two of those were injured. Of all of them, though, two stand out. Andy McLeod played for 200 minutes straight with never more than a few minutes break. He spent most of that time running from midfield to the opposition goalmouth and scored five goals on the day. Just as impressive was the effort of Stewart Shaw, who played every minute of each match - three hours and 40 minutes worth - AND faced five penalties in the Reserves shootout AND kept one of them out to win the match! I have never seen anyone concentrate so well for so long in such a situation. If everyone puts in the effort shown by these two and the other warriors from a memorable Anzac Day showdown, we will win this comp. 3-5.

Goals: Andy McLeod (2), Pete Boyle
Pele Points: 3 - Andy McLeod, 2 - Stewart Shaw, 1 - Pete Boyle

Award Standings

Pele Medal (all teams)
12 --- Andy McLeod
8 ---- Jim Wragg
7 ---- Simon Goodman
6 ---- Stewart Shaw
5 ---- Dean Lenz
4 ---- Gabe Cataldo, Dale Humphries, Rob Liney, Erin Owens
3 ---- Roberto Arocha, Pete Boyle, Gavin Carey, Jacob Cavallaro, Ben Jones, Paul Wright
2 ---- Steve Ashcroft, Paddy Denvir, Martyn Farnworth, Allan Frydman, Dan Higson, Tony Madau, Michael Penman, Dom Salomoni, Drew Schaper, Jeff See, Ere Sihalath, Nick Vince
1 ---- Steve Ashton, Michael Bosnich, Ruben Davis, Amir Hatami, Andy Henderson, Ben Jones, Matt Linton, Marshall Moir, Cormac O'Shea, Dan Whaite, Adam White, Kristian Wiles

Golden Boot (all teams)
11 --- Rob Liney
8 ---- Andy McLeod
6 ---- Simon Goodman
4 ---- Steve Ashton, Martyn Farnworth, Jeff See
2 ---- Nick Vince, Dan Whaite, Adam White, Paul Wright
1 ---- Pete Boyle, Paddy Denvir, Sergio Fiorenza, Dave Ford, David Hull, Dale Humphries, Cormac O'Shea, Michael Penman, Kader Tamsaouit, Tony Unsworth

Next ...

SAFL Firsts & Reserves v Botany - Centennial Park No 10, 1pm & 3pm Sat 30 April
CDFSA Div 7 v Concord - Birchgrove Oval, 3pm Sat 30 April
CDSFA Div 8 v Strathfield B - Strathfield No 2, 2.55pm Sat 30 April

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Tuesday 26 April 2005
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