MATCH REPORT: by Ricky Onsman

Match: Balmain AA6B v Lakemba
Venue: Parry Park No 2
Date: Saturday 9 May 1998
Time: 3.00pm kick-off

A cool, sunny Saturday afternoon saw Balmain Bs away against Lakemba at Parry Park. The home team turned out to be in good shape, making the Balmain defence work hard within the first few minutes. Lakemba’s confident passing game consistently found holes in the Balmain midfield, and the referee responded to the visitors’ attempts to assert themselves with a series of free kicks to Lakemba. Stand-in Balmain goalkeeper Jamie Flintoff was called on early and often to bring his Australian Rules skills into play. After gamely keeping out several attempts, he was finally beaten by a rampant Lakemba attack.

The rest of the first half was a seesaw struggle for midfield control, punctuated by a series of penetrating Lakemba onslaughts, which netted them two more goals. Obstinate defence led by Glenn Bacic led to some emphatic forward moves by Balmain using both left and right wings, which placed the Lakemba keeper under some pressure, but without result.

Balmain made three half time substitutions, but the second half proved to be more of the same. Organised passing, some clever ball control and sustained pressure from Lakemba found holes in the Balmain midfield, placing the Bs defence under pressure from central attacks and runs down both wings.

To his great credit, keeper Flintoff kept his head during some intense physical testing from the Lakemba forwards, who twice incurred the referee’s displeasure. Balmain’s best forward moves in the second half came out of play down the right wing, often involving James Austin, Ronan Walsh and Adrian Bogatez to good effect in forcing the ball forward. By falling back into midfield, Russell Borman found himself getting more ball, and took it forward for several chances, while Michael Sommers occasionally found room to move on the left.

Ultimately, however, Balmain’s best efforts went unrewarded, while Lakemba capitalised on their chances and equalled their first half tally, giving the home team a 6-0 victory. The keys to this game, and where Balmain could direct it’s attention, were: quick, accurate passing; commitment to the ball; finding the unmarked man; speed with the ball AND off the ball; fitness and ball skills (including throw-ins - a foul throw is as good as giving away a free kick). There was a marked improvement in the Bs’ team unity (although there could still be more clear and useful calling) and, with this continued level of application to the game, Balmain will continue to improve with each outing.

The Pele Medal points go to:

Jamie Flintoff 3 points
James Austin 2 points
Russell Borman 1 point


Match: Balmain AA6B v Earlwood
Venue: Easton Park, Rozelle
Date: Saturday 16 May 1998
Time: 1.00pm kick-off

Pele medal count:

3 Bacic, Flintoff
2 Austin, Borman, Onsman

From the FIFA rulebook:

--- Law 15 : Throw-in ---
When the whole of the ball passes over a touch-line, either on the ground or in the air, it shall be thrown in from the point where it crossed the line, in any direction, by a player of the team opposite to that of the player who last touched it. The thrower at the moment of delivering the ball must face the field of play and part of each foot shall be either on the touch-line or on the ground outside the touch-line. The thrower shall use both hands and shall deliver the ball from behind and over his head. The ball shall be in play immediately it enters the field of play, but the thrower shall not again play the ball until it has been touched or played by another player. A goal shall not be scored direct from a throw-in.

(a) If the ball is improperly thrown in the throw-in shall be taken by a player of the opposing team.
(b) If the thrower plays the ball a second time before it has been touched or played by another player, an indirect free kick shall be taken by a player of the opposing team from the place where the infringement occurred, subject to the overriding conditions imposed in Law 13.

(Decisions of the International F.A. Board)
(1) If a player taking a throw-in plays the ball a second time by handling it within the field of play before it has been touched or played by another player, the referee shall award a direct free-kick.
(2) A player taking a throw-in must face the field of play with some part of his body.
(3) If, when a throw-in is being taken, any of the opposing players dance about or gesticulate in a way calculated to distract or impede the thrower, it shall be deemed ungentlemanly conduct, for which the offender(s) shall be cautioned.
(4) A throw-in taken from any position other than the point where the ball passed over the touch-line shall be considered to have been improperly thrown in.

Here’s yet another 1998 World Cup squad: