MATCH REPORT 1: Reserves
OUR SPONSOR: The Grove
MATCH REPORT 2: Firsts
STANDINGS: Medal, Boot
Campbell/Rovers Shock; Viduka at Callan Park?
Balmain Rovers 4A Reserves v Five Dock Reserves
Callan Park, Rozelle
Sat 7 July 2001
Report by David Birds
As a result of Sol Campbell's surprise rejection of Rovers' late offer of a contract and a real chance of winning some silverware (in favour of trying his luck at the Arsenal!), I found myself filling in at centre back on Saturday afternoon at Callan Park and marking a forward with the girth of Mark Viduka (that's where the comparison ends) as Five Dock were well beaten by a solid Balmain team performance.
With several players out or unavailable, a little reshuffling brought a return to the field of a rebuilt James Mackie (there's your Mark Viduka, mate - editor's note) and a break from nappy changing duties for Ricky. A solid start saw Balmain generally in control and taking a deserved lead when Ammon ran onto a well placed through ball from the senior Mackie to finish well. Shortly afterwards, a similar chance saw Ammon draw a good save from the Five Dock keeper. A few more chances, including a Nick Hopkins header, failed to extend the lead and the half ended with a spell of Five Dock possession which - apart from one penalty box scramble - didn't really trouble the Balmain defence - which featured Paul Smith ably keeping goal in Johnny Barker's absence.
The second half brought about a few changes with Denis coming on at left wing, while Dorian switched to right wing for for the injured Adam. Browny joined James in midfield, while Nick came off to rest for hist stint in Firsts. Denis almost immediately pulled off "goal of the month" with a good run and shot but the Five Dock keeper saved well. Seems all our keepers are closet left-wingers.
The Balmain dominance continued with several chances created with no reward until the ball broke to Browny after a run across the box from Ammon and he duly despatched a crisp half volley into the bottom left corner of the Five Dock goal to give the scoreline a more accurate reflection of the game.
From then on we saw a fine example of "letting the ball do the work for you" as one, two and then a third Five Dock player was felled by (well placed?) blows from the ball, one retiring with a bloody nose, and two staying on manfully (?) after taking blows below the belt where it really hurts. Meanwhile the team held its collective breath as James went flying as a result of an over-enthusiastic Five Dock tackle, but he got straight back up and shook it off - the doctors seem to have done the trick.
Five Dock tried to rally with little success, Balmain went close a few more times including a header from Browny from a corner, Sam made a couple of timely defensive interventions as well as a few shots at goal, and a couple of late efforts from Five Dock ran into a brick wall in the shape of Paul in goal.
Another good win. If anything, the scoreline flattered the opposition.
The Pele points go to:
3 - Ammon - scored one goal and made the other
2 - Paul - kept a clean sheet
1 - James - welcome back!
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Five Dock Fever
Balmain Rovers 4A v Five Dock
Callan Park, Rozelle
Sat 7 July 2001
Report by Gary van Heugten
Today we played against a side we beat 4-1 in the first game, and at first it looked like we were going to be able repeat that performance. Kon supplied the ref today, and we must compliment his brother-in-law for the way he performed. Yes, he made mistakes, but so did we! He was consistent and clear - I'd like to have him every week.
We started with the same line-up as last week, apart from having Clem (known by the authorities as Matt Clementson) in the left midfield spot, replacing an injured Ally. The start looked promising, with some good passing, but we just didn't get the final touch. A run from yours truly on the left ended just before a pass could be made. There was was some great passing between Eddie (I know, very confusing as well, as his passport says Paul Edwards) + Andy, but the shot didn't hit the target. On the other side, Five Dock had two long range shots which were superbly pushed wide by Denis: great saves. Looking back, this should have warned us for the things to come.
Apart from these shots, Kon+Joey+Glenn were keeping the extremely fast
take-away-descendants at bay. The only real chance from Five Dock was saved by an all-or-nothing sliding by our number five blocking the Five Dock player just three metres from the goal.
Half time: no need to worry, Nik and Gary swapped places to try to get some more pressure in midfield. We just needed to keep patience and the goal would come. And it did, but not to our side. A superb shot by one the Five Dock guys (who looked far from impressive in any previous attempts just trying to pass a ball, let alone hit it) surprised all, and it was 1-0. Great goal, one he will probably treasure for the rest of his life. Not to worry, we were the better side and would overcome this temporary setback. But for some reason, we just didn't get to test their goalie. We had numerous corners, which were very well taken by Andy, but headers/flicks all went wide. And then the extremely fast and high jumping striker called Uda (at first I thought they called him Buddha, to which he did not bear any resemblance whatsoever) managed to outpace three of our defenders and put in a hard shot from a very difficult angle, surprising us again. 2-0. Again, a great goal.
Browny came on for Pier, pushing Eddie up-front to try to put more
pressure on their backs. Because the lighthouse sweeper of Five Dock could not play football, full stop - he just kicked every ball, and player for that matter, out of the way. And their Americans at the back were not much better. More and more pressure was applied and from one of the corners Eddie almost scored on a rebound, but the bouncing ball just hit the bar. Then finally we got the break. A good cross from Clem came off one of their defenders, and Eddie's great volley blasted into the net. 2-1. With about 10 minutes to go, Browny looked like equalising: a great free kick from Andy, and in what seemed like slow-motion, Browny went down on his knees to head the ball onto the post. Some runs from the left from yours truly created some changes, but it was not enough to level the score.
Guys, we lost against a team we should have beaten easily. The main thing that sticks in my mind is that their goalie did not need to make a single save, as we didn't test him. Not enough shots, and the ones which were tried went far wide.
· We need to train more on corners. Andy can place the ball wherever he wants, but we haven't scored from any of these (I think).
· Put pressure on their backs, as they could only hoof it away. We manage to play good football, with good passing, but fail to convert it.
· Have the patience to create openings. If it doesn't work one way, pass it back, and try the other side.
· Final one: we need to encourage each other in a positive way, and not slagg each other off. On the other hand, don't take remarks personally, just pick it up and try even harder.
We're gonna make the finals, and we're gonna win the league. But this
doesn't just happen, we all have to put the hard yards in, as the best team doesn't always win.
The Pele points go to:
2 - Eddie, for being the kingpin in midfield
1 - Andy, for his good passing and crosses
1 - Glenn, for not making any mistakes
1 - Kon, as above
1 - Browny, for bringing patience back to the midfield
Special Pele point to John, our most loyal and vocal supporter, for
supplying great oranges again and trying to put the opposition off by
smoking a cigar.
Balmain Rovers v Strathfield
Strathfield Park, Strathfield
Sat 14 July 2001
Kick-off 1.15pm, 3pm
Balmain Rovers v Canterbury
Birchgrove Park, Birchgrove
Sat 21 July 2001
Kick-off 1.15pm, 3pm
14 - Ammon Mackie
12 - Paul Edwards, Craig Brown
10 - Paul Millard
9 - Tim Hinds, Gary van Heugten
8 - Andy Farmery, Nick Hopkins, Kon Tsalikis
7 - Sam Tekin
6 - Emrys Hughes
5 - Ricky Onsman
4 - Glenn Bacic, John Barker, Pier D'Angelo, Ian Ladkin, Donny Nicholas, Joey Nicotra, Paul Smith
3 - David Birds, Lachlan Mackie, David Wright
2 - Sergio Fiorenza, Ally Haining, Denis Jozic
1 - Eddie Briggs, Matt Clementson, Sohail Dahdal, James Mackie, Carlos Morata
12 - Ammon Mackie
10 - Paul Edwards
9 - Paul Millard
5 - Alister Haining, Gary van Heugten, Sam Tekin
3 - Craig Brown, Sergio Fiorenza, Tim Hinds, Dorian Nkono
2 - Andy Farmery, Nick Hopkins
1 - Eddie Briggs, Sohail Dahdal, Pier D'Angelo, Emrys Hughes, Carlos Morata, Joey Nicotra
Since this is going out on a Monday (thanks to the prompt match reports), the opportunity arises to emphasise to players on both teams that training is on from 7pm on Wednesday 11 July at Cohen Park. If you do not have a very good reason, you should be there - and you should be adult enough to know what a "very good reason" is.
Be aware that the Finals start immediately after the regular season finishes. By the look of it, both Firsts and Reserves will be in the action on the weekend of 28 July. The likely date of the Grand Final is 11 August.
Check the website for venue details for training and matches:
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Newsletter content © 2001 Balmain Rovers
Monday 9 July 2001