Two quality matches to start our AL1's campaign and a lot of positives to take out of both games.
Having witnessed our Reserves team robbed of our first win the night before, our Firsts team showed up ready to fire on a cold Thursday night. The Augustines lads, seemed fresh after their first few days on school holidays and seemed keen for another big match up. Both teams came out of the blocks firing, and whilst we dominated possession early on, the Augustines team were keen to rack up as many fouls as possible in the opening 20 minutes. After the 6th foul
We reached our 10th foul after 20 minutes, and the Augustines team were finally shown a yellow card. Despite a barrage of shots and chances created during the first half, the colossus Augustines keeper seemed to have Octopus arms and was equal to everything we threw at him. The half ended all square, with the opposition having given away 28 fouls.
The second half started with as much aggression and intensity as the first half with both teams creating decent chances. It turns out that both keepers were the night’s heroes, with several big saves and two clean sheets. The match ended 0-0, with Augustines taking 4 shots, and giving away 56 fouls. Given the Augustines team’s persistence to grab at our jerseys throughout the match, the coach was overheard offering their players BTH Jerseys of their very own.
Supported by a packed crowd, the Reserves team look fresh and hungry, and kicked-off the game with an intensity that I’ve never seen from the team. After pressing the Augustines team hard, Ryan made a lightning run down the right flank and the parried shot was put away with a first time volley from Chuddy. Unfortunately, the first half was also marred with injuries to Marco, who stretched too far for a tackle and was unable to move afterwards. Howie was also injured after being accidentally stomped on by the Augustines centre half. The half was filled with a few more opportunities, which both keepers proved more than equal to. In fact, Gabe made two big saves, in the opening half to keep us in the game. The first half wrapped up 1-0 up.
Despite a depleted bench, and tired legs, the boys kept fighting and Dan was immense in the back-line clearing several big chances and closing down a few big breaks. Unfortunately, one of the young boys from Augustines made a lightening run down our right flank and after breaking past two players, finished a quality individual effort. On field injuries plagued the second half as well, with Glynny splitting open his eyebrow after a solid head clash, and Connor limping off with a ceased up knee. With only the Gaffa as a sub, the fatigue started to set in and despite the weariness, we continued to push hard and created several more chances. With 20 minutes to go, Ryan was blatantly brought down inside the opposition’s box, however, the referee waived away all appeals and instead, awarded a corner. At the 85 minute, Augustines made a decent play into our box, and Andy looking to shield the ball wash pushed from behind. In an attempt to break his fall, his outstretched hands hit the ball instead of awarding a foul for the push, the referee awarded a penalty. The Captain of the Firsts team who was unable to play his actual game on the Thursday night stepped up for the penalty and dispatched it into the corner, beating an outstretched Gabe by centimeters. The game ended in an undeserved 2-1 loss.