The weather on Saturday was spectacular and a tremendous day to play football and a good way to wrap up the first half of the season. Harbord was always going to be a tough test, especially given their previous results against Forest and Beacon. We also knew that playing against an all-South American team, we expected a tactical game, where we would be combating a possession based team. Both games had great moments, were played with controlled aggression and had a wonderful spirit across the park.
Four matches to go to wrap up our first season in AL1s. We go again.
After a slow start the previous week the boys were determined not go on the back foot against a Harbord side which had managed a point against both the league’s top sides. Immediate observations at the start of the game indicated a fierce south American collection of players who liked the ball at their feet and to pass it out from the back. The first 15 minutes reflected this with much of the possession dominated by Harbord without significant threat in the final third. A few stray long balls and resultant corners were dealt with by muscle and controlled aggression from the Belrose lads.
After 15 minutes of Harbord’s possession play, with non-imposing balls across the backline, a strategic shift was called upon by Javed, calling for more energy and a higher press. The organised force of forwards and midfielders immediately asked questions of the Harbord defence who struggled to find open passing lanes. With the pressure on, diamonds are made, and the first chance came from a ball won by Conor outside the goal box and passed out right to Isaiah who forced the keeper to make his first save to keep the score even. The game had done a 180 with the pressure of Belrose causing serious trouble for the team formally known as the Seasiders. Finally, rewards were reaped, and a ball won in front of goal resulted in a strike by the man who orchestrated the strategy, Javed, flying into the top left corner. 1 – 0 Belrose.
The momentum shift had turned Harbord off their game, falling back to skewed long balls praying for something to happen. One ball squirted through and left the Harbord player with a chance on goal, but Glynn was more than equal to it and made his first big save in a 1 on 1. Continuing with the full press another ball was won in the final third and this time Conor powerfully drove the ball into the back of the box. 2 – 0 Belrose.
The first half in the books, the boys continued the second half with the same energy and dominated possession and asked more questions of the Harbord goalkeeper. Although continuously on the back-foot Harbord still were dangerous on the break and formed two more 1-1 chances which were both smothered by Glynn in goals, brilliant.
Time running down for Harbord and the fiery side-line was getting more anxious. The anxiety spread to the players who reverted to school yard tactics trying to bully their way into a goal. A vicious studs up tackle on Jase left the Belrose boys furious. Words flying around the field demanding a sanction. Neno, the loudest and meanest, was shown the cheese for dissent – take 10 mate said the ref with a wink. Down to 10 men for the final 15 the pressure was built by Harbord, who didn’t have to worry about the extra grunt in the middle breathing down their necks. The pressure was absorbed, and Belrose were back to 11 men. With 5 minutes left, a corner which was cleared away came back with interest and required another fantastic save from Glynn. Unfortunately, the ball was parried into the path of a Harbord player who tapped it in. 2 – 1 Belrose.
A scuffle over returning the ball to the centre circle pushed the buttons of the ref one step further. Yellow shown to Isaak, despite begging for forgiveness. The final two minutes passed without threat and Belrose captured the three points. 2 – 1 Belrose.
Thanks to David the University Medalist for the write-up
On Saturday the mighty raiders were set to take on the South American Harbord team. A game of excitement and one which was ultimately decided on fine margins, which made the ressies game a great sight.
The first half was toe to toe with both teams having plenty of chances. The back line of Luke, Dan, Spud, and Jake were solid and kept the Argentinian strike force at bay. While at the other end, Glynny and Humpho kept their backline on their toes with great movement and attacks that bamboozled them. Our best chance of the half came when Michael crossed a ball into the box with Dan Noble the intended target. A betting man would have put his house on the ball hitting the back of the net, but the light breeze and sun in his eyes resulted in the point blank header sailing over the bar. A season of missed opportunities left the door open for Hardbord to take the lead, and they picked up their opening goal, by creating an impressive run down the right flank, a few fancy flicks, quick feet and the goal keeper was nutmegged at close range.
The second half was equally as intense as the first half, with the midfield battle continuing throughout the game, and Jacob, Andy, Chuddy and Corey seemingly covered every blade of grass. Towards the back end of the second half, Hardbord boys started to control a lot more of the ball and were able to push into our area. A late tackle from the boys in yellow resulted in a free kick from just inside the final third. Unfortunately, Hardbord the cross that was lobbed into the box, carried just beyond Tommy and dropped into the top right corner of the box. Despite all of the cracking saves that Tommy made throughout the game, this one was just out of reach.
Another loss which was more about our missed chances, rather than Harbords play. The performance was something to build on and the hunger from everyone shows that another win is just around the corner.
Thanks to Michael, son of Johnstone for the write-up
ROUND 11 RESULTS