ROUND #12 (JULY 13, 2019)
vs GOSFORD @ ALAN DAVIDSON OVAL 1
Three weeks !! That’s how long it took to get back on the football field again after two consecutive weekends of washouts. Not one game was postponed last season but that was because Brad Avery hadn’t been injured then. After leaving the field early in the Woy Woy game with a hamstring strain, Brad was in jeopardy of missing his first game since 2014. This would break a run of 91 consecutive games. Inconceivable !! To combat this, Brad presumably dropped the dacks and performed naked rain dances on ADO for at least a few late evenings … and the heavens complied. A few days of heavy rain was enough to wipe out our game against Gosford two weekends ago but here we were promptly slotted into what was initially meant to be a weekend off in the middle of the school holidays. That didn’t matter though cause Brad was back, albeit on the bench, ready to make an appearance - even if it meant only for a minute - to keep the streak (not that kind) alive.
Last time, we defeated the Dragons 7-0 at home on ADO Field 1, now here we were to face them for their home game at erm, ADO Field 1. For a majority of that game they were reduced to 10 men with no subs and whilst they haven’t won a game yet this season, there was still a need to be cautious. They’d been more competitive of late having picked up three draws and today they were boosted with a few ring-ins from the 45s. Thankfully we weren’t shy of subs either, fielding a team of 14, well 14.25 if you count Brad.
Whilst there was no rain today, there was a chill factor with heavy winds. Dale won the toss and followed Aaron’s request to run with the wind for the first half. The hopes of getting an early lead like we did last time didn’t come to fruition but there were a few chances. Mick got an early shot into the side netting and a free kick didn’t quite curl enough at the top right. The wind carried a few long balls and their keeper was savvy enough to charge ahead to thwart a majority of our attacks. The linesman didn’t help our cause either flagging us a few offsides. But finally, not long before halftime, a quick one-two between Andy and Luca saw Andy through a gap. With the keeper standing on the edge of the 6-yard box, Andy opted for a cheeky high shot and we finally had our lead.
After a few scares in the second half it was becoming clear a second goal was needed to put this beyond reach. It almost came from Andy again as he connected with a Flanno through ball. The shot however hit the goal post. Oh if only because soon enough Gosford’s major threat – No. 17 – was racing down the right flank alone. Aaron - who’d been sheltered in the cold shadows of the north end of the field for this second half - decided to get the body warm a bit by racing towards the sideline to tackle this threat and oops, he missed. Backtracking into the goalmouth, our defenders tried to stop No. 17 as he made his towards the posts but to no avail and the Dragons had their equaliser.
With about 15 minutes remaining, Wyoming continued to charge forward hoping for that winning goal but as one of the Gosford defenders kept saying, we “fluffed it”. Not enough cohesive passes meant our chances were limited. Mick had an unlucky day upfront. His closest chance came after being barged by the keeper. He remained upright though and got a shot away that veered wide. Luca put a quality ball through to Andy but his shot sailed across the goals. Boz’s free kick found its way to the clubhouse and Brad, coming on for a run in the final ten minutes, made a charging run. He got a shot away microseconds before the keeper reached him. It sailed just over the crossbar. An open goal chance some would say. Ultimately we ran out of time and that was that. A win today would’ve put us back into the Top 4 but we fluffed it.
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz)
Stats: Luca (80 Games), Stew (60 Games), Mick (30 Games)
Goals Tally: Mick (11); Andy (7); Luca (4); Boz, Dale, Elton, Fitzy, Howison, Meady, Newnham, Stew (1); Goal Assists Tally: Andy (6); Mick (5); Boz, Luca (4),; Dale, Stew (2); Flanno, Gregg, Howison, Ryan, (1)
ROUND #11 (JUNE 22, 2019)
vs WOY WOY 2 @ ALAN DAVIDSON OVAL 1
Despite beating the competition leaders last weekend, the mood in the sheds prior to kick off for today’s game wasn’t exactly jovial. Flat and somber were more apt descriptions. Even Luca’s music playlist couldn’t lift certain players from their hungover or sickly states. Stevie G had been to a workmate’s redundancy party; Brad had picked up the flu – he wasn’t going to play until he heard Meady was unavailable; and Dale, the team manager, well he had a big night on the grog too but thankfully didn’t get his car stolen and firebombed this time. Perhaps today would’ve been better suited to one of those allocated weekends CCF gives us off during the season for weather contingencies .. but no here we were against Woy Woy 2, the competition’s 2nd placed team who had only lost one game all season - incidentally to us back in Round 2. That time we put in 6, well technically 7 (hey Ryan!), against them.
Mick was running late so Barker was put up front and he almost scored within the first minute, his shot hitting the upright. Poor Brad didn’t last long, succumbing to a hamstring strain – his first injury playing soccer. We started sluggish and paid the price for it conceding two goals courtesy of Woy Woy’s gun forward whom Ryan nearly took out early on. We got one back after Andy’s free kick (courtesy of a foul on Dale on the right edge of the 18 yard box) curled around into the top left edge of the goals with a bit of help from the wind. That breeze continued to assist for the next 10-15 minutes as the majority was played in Woy Woy’s defensive half. Wyoming came close to an equaliser with several corner kicks curling in only for Woy Woy’s keeper to get a deft touch and tap it over the crossbar. Mick unfortunately didn’t win a penalty despite copping a foot in the crown jewels and then, a further kick in the balls, Woy Woy took advantage of one quick counter attack and went into half time with a lead of 3-1.
The second half was a hard slog as expected but we did manage to narrow the gap. Mick and Andy combined for a little 1-2 with Mick then weaving through a couple of players and finding the corner of the net. Luca had a bit of a dummy spit after Mick bemoaned “Luca!” when Luca’s shot at goals went war and wide. “I’m trying my best” Luca responded before he stormed off the sideline and booted a ball into the garbage bin, the sound shattering the heavens. Thankfully he was back on the field a few minutes later and looked to have bagged the equaliser only to learn he was offside before he’d deftly chipped the keeper. Up the back, Aza made a stunning save to stop a fourth when he instinctively blocked a shot with an extended leg. Boz filled Brad’s spot up the back teaming up well with Stevie G. Both had to contend with Woy Woy’s fouling, sulking beast who was eventually given a yellow card for his continued antics but not before he bulldozed Boz in the 18 yard box. Mick was concerned we’d need a bagful of sand to get him out. Beyond that, there wasn’t too many dramatics, Flanno was absent after all. The main antagonist for Wyoming was those damn goal posts. Apart from Barker’s early shot, Elton found the woodwork as did Andy in the dying seconds when he had a crack that bounced off the crossbar, oh what could’ve been !! As it stands, we sit in 4th spot but Killarney – on equal points - have a game in hand.
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz)
Stats: 150 Team Games [2011-2019]; Dale (30 Games), Ryan (30 Games)
Goals Tally: Mick (11), Andy (6), Luca (4), Boz, Dale, Elton, Fitzy, Howison, Meady, Newnham, Stew (1); Goal Assists Tally: Andy (6), Mick (5), Boz (4), Luca (3); Dale, Stew (2); Flanno, Gregg, Howison, Ryan, (1);
ROUND #10 (JUNE 15, 2019)
vs WYOMING 2 @ ALAN DAVIDSON OVAL 2
The second half of the season begun with the local derby, up against the undefeated competition leaders, Wyoming 2! We welcomed back Aza in goals, Stevie G back on the field and the jetlagged Boz returning from the US of A the previous day. Unfortunately it’s looking like Fitzy is gone for the season with that knee injury whilst Howison is still struggling with his own. Also out - his first miss of the season, games I mean, not goals, he’s missed plenty of those - was Luca due to family commitments. Another omission today, our yellow jerseys!! Yes, unfortunately it was our turn to wear the whites which did become somewhat disorientating during the game.
Having beaten us past the post last time with two set piece goals, the word was out to avoid conceding corner kicks and fouls near the box… plus, keep their star striker Mick Donafee at bay. We thought we’d done enough with the latter when he was forced to take his shot a fair distance out – and at an acute angle – but with a fumble from Aza the ball dipped inside the near post. Not to worry, lady luck graced us as well when a wayward pass from one of their defenders went straight to Mick McGarvey up front. He finished the shot with ease to bring a much deserved parity. They were dominating the flanks. One dangerous cross came directly into the path of Billy Bulmer but thankfully it was a swing and a miss. He was however on form with his usual sledging, something Stevie G lapped up. Unfortunately a second goal did come for Wyoming 2 courtesy of Donafee again. This one chipped Aza though Ryan almost managed an attempted clearance on the goal line. At the other end, Elton’s effort went wide, Boz’s went across goals and Mick’s quality through balls weren’t rewarded with that final touch needed.
The second half fightback got underway when Andy sent a long ball down the left flank for Mick to run onto. With only their keeper Bobby Hay to beat, Mick attempted to weave past him only to be fouled. He swiftly levelled things up with the penalty kick. It was game on now as both teams pushed for the win. Andy came close with a shot that sailed past Bobby but just over the crossbar. The ref at first thought it had gone in and Boz tried to persuade him there was a hole in the net to no avail. Brad had some good runs today with a few stints up front but it was Mick who continued to pressure the defense for the majority of the half. After a couple of efforts of bursting into the 18 yard but unable to get the pass away at the right time, he finally cut one back where Stew was perfectly placed in front of goals to whack it in. We’d hit the lead but could we hold it. You bet we could. The boys stayed strong and just for good measure, out came some scoundrel tactics. Beyond the classic kick the ball out as far as you can option, Boz demonstrated time wasting techniques at its finest with the ball in the corner trick and Meady when copping some late hits, milked them for as long as he could. Finally, that full time whistle blew. Back-to-back wins and thanks to other results, we sit just one point outside of the Top 4. Special thanks to Fitzy for running the subs and orchestrating the team structure from the sidelines during that second half.
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz)
Stats: Mick (25 Goals) [2018-2019]
Goals Tally: Mick (10), Andy (5), Luca (4), Boz, Dale, Elton, Fitzy, Howison, Meady, Newnham, Stew (1); Goal Assists Tally: Andy, Mick (5), Boz (4), Luca (3); Stew (2); Dale, Flanno, Gregg, Howison, Ryan, (1);
ROUND #9 (JUNE 8, 2019)
vs KARIONG @ ALAN DAVIDSON OVAL 2
With today’s game marking the halfway point of the season, we knew that anything other than a win could put us in jeopardy of losing touch with the Top 4 pack. That being said, we still could only manage 13 players with Aza, Newnham, Elton, Boz, Fitzy and Howison all out. The rain had put field 1 out of contention so across to the more intimate field deux we went. We were off to a good start when a long shot from Andy was blocked by a defender’s arm in the box. Andy took the penalty and sent it low into net, contrary to Brad’s wager that it would hit the No. 12 square on the kick wall behind. Ye of little faith. It wasn’t much longer till Wyoming had their second. Scott Barker charged down the left flank and sent a quality ball across the goals. Andy made contact at the far goalpost and cut it back to Luca who smacked it into the net almost uprooting the net pegs (no need to do that till full time, buddy). Porter got a shot in that did seem bound to the kick wall (where was your money this time Brad?) and Andy had one of those ‘koala killer’ shots, though he claimed he was aiming for a drop bear before it reached the playground. As the forty minutes neared, it was looking like a healthy lead going into the sheds but a quick counter in the final minute saw Kariong capitalise. The halftime whistle had blown as Steve removed the ball from the net, we’d given them a sniff!
One thing that reassured the team at half time was that Mick, playing up front, had yet to score. Surely that was to come. It was, but not until he filled in for the Wyoming 35CN team later that day at Gavenlock. It was not for a lack of trying though and he found himself being barged by the Kariong keeper a couple of times. Shoulders into the rib cage, that’s a fair challenge right, referee? He did steal one assist from Andy though when he took possession from a long ball through. His shot deflected off the keeper but Luca was there to rack up his second. A nice two goal buffer so was rudely reduced by the Cougars once again when out of nothing one of their players coolly chipped the ball from the left edge over Stevie G’s head and into the net just behind the right goal post. Not to worry, Meady was here. Meady had been trying variations when connecting with the ball on corner kicks. One attempt he got a shot whilst lying on the ground, another was a chip kick over the net, and of course vintage Meady, the header over the crossbar. The latter was just as well as if it had’ve gone in, it would have been disallowed due to a scuffle between Flanno and Kariong’s keeper. But Meady wasn’t done for the day. Courtesy of a charging run and shot by Brad, the resulting corner kick from Andy found it’s way in Meady’s path and he belted that ball with a low header straight into the net. Surely we could hold onto this win right? Just for good measure, Andy sent a ball through the middle of the 18 yard box for Luca to run onto. Luca feigned a shot and weaved past one player, then another, and then another. By now he had conned the keeper with one last side step. Now all he had to do was shoot. Shoot Luca, shoot! Finally, it was hits away and into the … f#%ing goal post! Luca’s chance for hattrick glory was blown! Oh well, the full time whistle soon echoed through the park scaring away the birds and that elusive drop bear. Special mention to Stew who was in the thick of the action for a majority of the second half. We will forgive that foul throw-in late in the game at our defensive end.
Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz
Stats: Andy (70 Goal Assists) [2011-2019]; Nigel (10 Goals) [2011-2019]
Goals Tally: Mick (8), Andy (5), Luca (4), Boz, Dale, Elton, Fitzy, Howison, Meady, Newnham (1); Goal Assists Tally: Andy (5), Boz (4), Luca, Mick (3); Stew (2); Dale, Flanno, Gregg, Howison, Ryan, (1); Yellow Cards: Flanno, Luca (2), Boz, Brad (1)
ROUND #8 (JUNE 1, 2019)
vs EAST GOSFORD @ ALAN DAVIDSON OVAL 2
We knew we’d be up for a tough afternoon. We only had two on the bench and were up against a team equal 2nd on points who’d only lost one game thus far. Yet we almost took the lead. Andy had found Luca on the edge of the 18 yard box. All Luca had to do was shoot but he saw Dale running alongside him. Dale had a better angle so the unselfish Luca passed it. Dale didn’t miss his shot but unfortunately he was in an offside position. The linesman’s flag and decibels of Italian profanity promptly rose.
With Stevie G unavailable this weekend, a plea was made for Aaron to return in goals despite still recovering from a hamstring injury. Plus, having already ordered his 100 game (perhaps prematurely), stats man Andy informed him he has to play all 11 games (if we don’t make the finals) to get it this year. The pressure was on and he answered the call with the proviso he wouldn’t be able to run much nor kick any bombs. Unfortunately, Nige didn’t get the memo and sliced back a backpass that had Aaron having to run hard to get to it in time. He did so, but his attempted clearance went straight to an East Gosford player who graciously took this gift and sent it into the net.
Not to worry, we hit back almost immediately. Mick had sent Boz a through ball. Hit shot was blocked by the keeper and sent the ball into traffic across the goalmouth. It bounced favourably for Andy to tap it in. Their keeper got some payback though when his bomb found bounced favourably over Nige’s head and into the path of their running forward. The No. 11’s previous two shots had sailed well high of the crossbar but not this time. The score at half time was 2-1 in favour of the Rams.
The Tigers were quick to restore parity in the second half. Gregg battled for a 50/50 ball and came up trumps, sending the ball up the field. Mick had opted to start this half up front and he didn’t disappoint as he raced ahead and got a shot away. The keeper got a touch to it but the ball spiraled out of his hands and kindly bounced over the goal line. With the scoreline locked up, a hard fought battle ensued by both teams pushing for a win. Nige came the closest with a header from a corner kick just popping over the crossbar. Mick was also unlucky not to win a penalty. One of Mick’s other shots went wide prompting one of East Gosford’s players to complain to the ref we were time wasting. Um, yeah sure, we were trying to secure a draw with us being 4pts out of the Top 4. Speaking of complaints made at the ref, there were many. Boz copped a yellow for one such gripe, as did Flanno for, well being typically Flanno. The ref’s strangest moment though was when East Gosford’s keeper stepped out of the box when making a clearance. The ref stopped play but rather than rule an indirect free kick to us, he told the keeper to take it again. What was this, the Under 6’s? So, another draw for us and the gap from the Top 4 is now 6pts. The comfort though is we were very competitive today and was our best effort in weeks. Let’s hope momentum gets us into the winner’s circle soon.
Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz
Stats: Aaron (90 Games); Team Draws [2011-2019] (20)
Goals Tally: Mick (8), Andy (4), Luca (2), Boz, Dale, Elton, Fitzy, Howison, Newnham (1); Goal Assists Tally: Boz (4), Luca (3); Andy, Mick, Stew (2); Dale, Flanno, Gregg, Howison, Ryan, (1); Yellow Cards: Flanno, Luca (2), Boz, Brad (1)
ROUND #7 (MAY 25, 2019)
vs TERRIGAL @ DUFFY'S OVAL
After two games of scrapping by with the bare eleven, we finally had a bench again. Free from coaching commitments due to a late afternoon kick off, Flanno and Meady were back, though the latter made Dale sweat with a late arrival. We also welcomed back Barker and Boz (sans big toe nails) from injury. Today also finally marked Stevie G’s 100th game (he has threatened retirement after getting his trophy). If he hadn’t have copped suspension last season with two red cards – and if we hadn’t bowed out at the semi final stage – he would’ve received this last year. His declaration of being “fired up” for this milestone was not meant to be taken literally though – the silly bugger burning his arm in a work accident during the week. With this and some knee strapping from Julia - sorry, the Boss - he was looking very mummified on the right side.
It was another one of those frustrating first halves where we dominated but couldn’t take advantage in front of goals. In particular, Andy, Mick and Boz all had several chances but shots either veered over the crossbar or sailed wide. A corner kick was to be the breakthrough we needed. Some nice work between Luca and Andy led to Flanno taking a shot. It was blocked but the ensuing corner kick by Andy found Elton inside the traffic. Those bright blue boots swiftly blasted the ball into the net. Our fortunes seemed to have doubled soon after when Mick made a charging run. He got fouled on the way through to the goalmouth but nailed the shot away. 2-0 right? Wrong! The ref had blown the whistle to pull up the foul rather than play advantage so we were robbed a goal. The ensuing free kick sailed over the crossbar. It was one of many frustrating moments regarding the officiating but to be fair, it is hard to see anything when you rarely leave the centre circle. There was concern he’d gone AWOL at half time as he took an age to return to the field to start the second half whilst the 22 players got sunburnt waiting around.
The second half was yet another series of misadventures. The formation was a mess, the passes weren’t finding their mark, team bickering reared its ugly head and lazy fouls were committed, one culminating in a Terrigal free kick that netted them an equaliser. There was only to be one winner today and that’s Di Burdack who receives a bottle of moet having won the bet that Flanno wouldn’t make it through five games without getting a yellow card. A toast to Di, bottoms up! With the point gained today we remain in 5th spot, four points out of the top four. Some wins are needed soon or we’re going to get lost in the quagmire of the bottom pack.
Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz
Stats: Andy, Nige (130 Games); Brad, Flanno (110 Games); Steve (100 Games); Mick (25 Games)
Goals Tally: Mick (7), Andy (3), Luca (2), Boz, Dale, Elton, Fitzy, Howison, Newnham (1); Goal Assists Tally: Boz, Luca (3); Andy, Mick, Stew (2); Dale, Flanno, Howison, Ryan, (1); Yellow Cards: Luca (2), Brad, Flanno (1)
ROUND #6 (MAY 18, 2019)
vs KILLARNEY @ ALAN DAVIDSON OVAL
With injuries, coaching commitments and one particular player seemingly visiting every pub on his way back from Queensland, we were struggling to field a full side again this week. Could we even manage eleven? Forty-five minutes prior to kick-off, only two players had turned up for the team photo (this ended up being postponed till after the game) and anxiety mounted as frequent head counts were made in the sheds. When we reached “seven”, Scott Porter bemoaned that now we couldn’t forfeit. Kudos to Scott by the way who turned up despite picking up an injury last weekend. Regardless of the dwindling numbers, Julia still had her hands full with the gaffer tape, blu-tack and staples to keep the boys upright. Boz, who was absent due to a 50km run today, had called upon Julia to strap his calves earlier in the week and made a seismic error … he called her “Boss”. So thrilled with this new moniker, she’s hoping it’ll stick even more than her strapping tape. Some players obliged but brother Scott appears to have vowed eternal defiance. Thankfully by kick off we had eleven.
We were under no illusion that this would be a tough afternoon. No subs, warm weather and an opposition who had beaten Avoca 4-0 last weekend (we were lucky to walk away with a 1-1 draw when we played them two weeks ago), plus they had a bench of subs and a match ball properly pumped up !! … So it came as quite the shock indeed when we drew first blood. In one of our rare instances of being up their end, Luca had weaved past a couple of players and flicked it out to Dale in front of goals. Dale pounced and booted the ball beyond the diving keeper’s reach. “Your first goal in 38 years” cheered Brad to the 38-year old Dale. And he almost made it two when he blocked a goal kick and took a quick shot!! Alas, it sailed wide. The majority of the half was spent repelling Killarney’s attack but a we held our own in the midfield and the backline was particularly solid. Even Keeper Stevie G’s knee held up after a nasty studs up challenge. It was a proud moment when the half time whistle blew to be in front.
The hope was to grind it out in the second half. We tried to slow the game down a bit, lots of long balls and 40/20 attempts. One long ball from Mick found a tenacious Dale on the end of it. He smashed it at goals and forced their keeper to tap it out for a corner. Something from nothing. Unfortunately, it was only a matter of time for tired bodies to slip up and an error at the backline saw Killarney equalise. Frustrations flared and soon after, Brad’s shoulder (perhaps some elbow too) sent a Killarney attacker into a horizontal position. Despite appeals that this was outside the 18-yard box, the ref declared it was a penalty and now suddenly, Killarney had the lead. There were some attacking chances but nothing came to fruition. It could’ve been worse. We could’ve taken a battering akin to the one the halfway sideline flag took when a fuming Luca uprooted it from the soil and sent it flying. I’m curious what the yellow card stats are for such an offence. It certainly lacked that Tim Cahill flair. So we weren’t winners today but we were gallant and never resorted to team bickering. On another day, with a full compliment of substitutes, we’d be singing the club victory song. Special kudos to Elton who stayed on despite a hamstring affliction and Ryan, who turned up under the weather but put in a huge 80 minute effort in defence.
Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz
Stats: Gregg (130 Games); Luca (75 Games); Ryan & Dale (25 Games);
Goals Tally: Mick (7), Andy (3), Luca (2), Boz, Dale, Fitzy, Howison, Newnham (1); Goal Assists Tally: Boz, Luca (3); Mick, Stew (2), Andy, Dale, Flanno, Howison, Ryan (1); Yellow Cards: Brad, Luca (1)
ROUND #5 (MAY 11, 2019)
vs WOY WOY 1 @ AUSTIN BUTLER OVAL
With eight players absent, we had no subs today and were marred by injuries throughout with team strapper Julia having a busy day. We were down 4 nil at one stage but managed a couple of late goals by Newnham (assist by Dale) and Mick (Luca) making the score line a more respectable one.
Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz
Goals Tally: Mick (7), Andy (3), Luca (2), Boz, Fitzy, Howison, Newnham (1); Goal Assists Tally: Boz (3), Luca, Mick, Stew (2), Andy, Dale, Flanno, Howison, Ryan (1); Yellow Cards: Brad, Luca (1)
ROUND #4 (MAY 4, 2019)
vs AVOCA @ FROST RESERVE OVAL
It was one of those days where we did everything to lose but still managed to salvage a point. We looked great at the start with several attacking chances culminating with Mick McGarvey netting his 6th goal in three games after a quality through ball from Boz. Poor Boz though hobbled to the sideline shortly afterwards with a calf strain. From then on we struggled, particularly in the middle of the park. Gifting the ball to Avoca far too often and plenty of missed tackles meant it was a very busy day for Aaron Quill in goals. Miraculously time and time again, Aza was a serial menace, a thorn in the side of Avoca getting onto the scoreboard. Not only was he strong with the gloves, thwarting every shot with a catch or a block, but read the opposition’s attacking runs perfectly by making tackles at the precise moment. Unfortunately, Avoca’s tenacity was eventually rewarded. A shot hit the inside post and bounced off Aaron’s arm into the net as he desperately tried to scoop it up. Our luck could only hold out for so long. Up front, opportunities were slim. Andy did get a break from a long bomb from Aaron but his shot narrowly missed the upright. Mick and Elton also had digs, sailing either high or wide. He might have struggled being short of breath today but Luca was certainly not short in effort nor emitting a few swear words out of frustration - Mick had to remind him to revert to Italian. With only a few minutes remaining and barely hanging on, Aaron pulled a hammy whilst ending another of Avoca’s attacking runs. With Aaron’s afternoon done, Stevie G ventured to the sideline to put on the spare keeper’s jersey. He’d barely returned to the field when the ref called full time. Stevie promptly boasted he’d picked up another clean sheet in goals, unlike Aaron. Hmm.
Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz
Goals Tally: Mick (6), Andy (3), Luca (2), Boz, Fitzy, Howison (1); Goal Assists Tally: Boz (3); Mick, Stew (2); Andy, Flanno, Howison, Luca, Ryan, ?? (1) Yellow Cards: Luca (1)
ROUND #3 (APRIL 27, 2019)
vs GOSFORD @ ALAN DAVIDSON OVAL 1
A big, comfortable win for the boys on home soil. Fresh from the easter break and with a healthy compliment of 16 players available, we seized control early. McGarvey found the net first after reaping the rewards of their keeper spilling the ball from Stew’s straight-into-the-bread-basket shot. He would’ve had a quick brace if not for a Gosford player blocking Mick’s shot with his hand. The ref pointed to the spot and reached into his pocket. Both teams pled for him not to send the offending player off but the ref was not swayed, producing a red and reducing Gosford to ten men. Boz sealed the penalty with ease. Scott Howison made his first appearance for the season and wasted no time making an impact. He had two close moments: a long shot narrowly sailed over the crossbar and a curling free kick hit the upright. But when Boz sent him into the 18-yard box there was no chance of missing this time as he thumped the Tiger’s 3rd into the net. And then Mick finally got his brace. Ryan sent him up the line. Mick took it almost to the goal line, weaved back inside past a couple of defenders and on the narrowest of angles slotted it just inside the opposite post. “That’s a goal” he gloated as his niggling banter with the opposition continued.
When Nige arrived a tad late after kick off, he asked Andy how we were going. Still 0-0 at that stage, Andy responded “we haven’t been tested yet”. Then sure enough a scare at the back with Stevie G following the ball and attacker to the sideline. Normally this would be quality defensive shielding but not when you’re the goalkeeper! The attacking player managed to get it past Steve and sent it across to a teammate. Thankfully Gregg was there to save the day, blocking the shot. Steve conceded he’d forgotten he was keeper until he saw gloves on his hands. Why he kicked it straight to the opposition in a later play though is anybody’s guess.
The half time chat involved an intent to go out in the second half with a focus on more passing as a unit. That’s fine except when no one ends up seizing the moment to take a shot. There were several times where we seemed to get in each other’s way at that pinnacle moment. Poor Boz just couldn’t get that perfect moment to get a shot in and when he finally looked ready, a panting, snorting Luca rushed in behind him. Stealing his lunch, Luca took the shot instead (to be fair, Boz let him have it). Blasphemous words in Italian ensued as the ball sailed towards the clubhouse. Nige also got a head to a couple of corner kicks and almost concussed himself again as he collided with the keeper and then the net. Vintage Nige!! Elton had a dig as well. We were also gifted a couple of free kicks after a frustrated Gosford resorted to fouls on our tricksters up front. They weren’t far off the mark. Mick, at the receiving end of several fouls and ridicule from the opposition had the last laugh after running onto a through ball from Stew, his second assist for the afternoon. Mick put away his third goal and retired for the majority of the remaining second half on the bench. Andy, who’d had several chances, including two quality passes from Scott Porter, was finally gifted a perfect through ball from Scotty H. Darting past the backline, all he had to do was get it past the keeper running at him like a bull. Unlike the first half, he avoided the shoulder barge and slotted it past him. It rolled and bounced agonizingly close to the upright but thankfully tucked inside. Shortly after, he found the net again courtesy of a cross from Luca. Luca, whilst not getting on the scoresheet for the first time this year, did at least pick up the team’s first yellow card of the season, though apparently he was an innocent man. Yes, after nearly 240 minutes of football, it was only now that anyone had received a yellow card, surely that’s a record. Flanno usually has one in the first five minutes of the season opener.
Full time. We’d kept a clean sheet for the first time this season and possibly the first for Stevie G’s tenure as a goalie in this team, though he did his best to avoid this. Special mention to Ryan and Dale who are doing it tough at the moment. Thoughts are with you guys. Dale in particular suffered two popped ribs in some goaL shot blocking heroics in last week’s game and then someone stole his car and torched it during the week. When it rains it pours. Hang in there buddy. Thoughts too are with Fitzy who had to be carried to the sideline early in the game after succumbing to a knee injury. Here’s hoping for a quick recovery. Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz
Stats: Team [2011-2019] (300 goals); Mick (20 goals) Goals Tally: Mick (5), Andy (3), Luca (2), Boz, Fitzy, Howison (1); Goal Assists Tally: Boz, Mick, Stew (2), Andy, Flanno, Howison, Luca, Ryan, ?? (1) Yellow Cards: Luca (1)
ROUND #2 (APRIL 13, 2019)
vs WOY WOY 2 @ ALAN DAVIDSON OVAL 2
Two of our new recruits – Scott Barker and Mark “Boz” Bohringer - made their debuts today. They were welcomed amongst the bouts of banter and Luca’s phone emitting Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger in the sheds. A warning though when welcoming new players, always be mindful of what’s on your playlist. Luca, there is a time and place for Savage Garden’s Truly, Madly, Deeply and it is not in the dressing room. Fitzy aptly demonstrated this point when he asked “what the f#%@ is that??”. Thankfully it was not enough to scare the newbies away and de-register.
Today was our first away game for the season so we had to venture out to erm, Wyoming. Perhaps CCF felt bad that they couldn’t put us in the North comp this season so they gave us a break from having to get our passports out and venture over the bridge into the Shire. If it wasn’t for the last game of last season where we’d broken the curse by finally winning on Field 2, we would’ve preferred to play away.
The first half was certainly a goalfest. Andy found the net first, turning onto a beautiful through ball from Fitzy and chipping the keeper. It wasn’t long though until Woy Woy found an equaliser. Flanno, who’d been controlling the midfield space nicely, almost collided with Luca before getting a little pass off for the lovable Italian to charge onto. Luca took a pot shot and it paid off, racking up his second goal in as many weeks. Despite dominating possession and control of the game, one of Woy Woy’s speedsters enacted revenge with a swift run down the right flank. Beating several defenders he made it look too easy and we were locked up again, 2-2. A handball by a Woy Woy defender gifted us a penalty. Fitzy sharply put that one away. Woy Woy helped us out again with the fourth goal. An attempted header clearance from Andy’s corner kick instead found its way into the net. Andy was promptly told by Brad that he could only claim this as an assist for the stats sheet. Up the other end, Woy Woy’s biggest player went crashing down in the 18 yard box claiming Nige had fouled him. The ref obliged him. When the penalty shot sailed over the crossbar, he was promptly heckled: “it went over as easy as you did”. For good measure, Mick finally found the net late in the first half with his first goal of the season. We went into the break with a 5-2 lead.
With Woy Woy having no subs, the hope was we could tire them out and run away with this game in the second half but we made it much harder on ourselves. Bickering didn’t help. When Woy Woy found the net again, a couple of players were at odds without each other regarding effort being made. There was a concern that a couple of Woy Woy’s speedsters could easily turn the tide of the game if given too much space. Thankfully for the most part we kept them at bay. Adding to the frustration was a disallowed goal. Scott Barker had sent the ball up the left edge for Andy to chase onto. A Woy Woy defender shielded the ball as it rolled towards the goal line. Andy circled around and reached the ball before the line. He sent it into the goalmouth where Ryan surged forward and smacked it into the net. Celebrations came to a crashing halt when the referee claimed it went over the goal line. There hadn’t been any appeals from Woy Woy - they knew it was a goal - but without a linesman, the ref made a judgement call. Thankfully the decision didn’t have a baring on the game and we soon had another goal. Boz, in his first game in 6 years, hadn’t had much luck in putting one away up front but his delivery was on song when he sent Mick away. Composed, Mick sprinted forward, sliced the ball past the keeper and put Goal Number 6 on the board. Woy Woy did get a consolation goal with 10 minutes to go. Despite a goal difference of two, the final minutes were a nervous affair but we held on to pick up our first win of the year.
Stats: Team [2011-2019] (75 wins); Elton (50 games); Mick (20 games)
Goals Tally: Luca (2), Mick (2), Andy (1), Fitzy (1); Goal Assists Tally: Andy (1), Boz (1), Flanno (1), Mick (1), ?? (1); Yellow Cards: Nil
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz)
ROUND #1 (APRIL 6, 2019)
vs WYOMING 35DS-2 @ ALAN DAVIDSON OVAL 1
With the ever-expanding Over 45s comp and a new mixed-bag Friday evening competition, the amount of Over 35s divisions has shrunk and the E-grade is no more. The leftover teams have been crammed into six divisions: The A’s, the B’s, C’s (North & South), and D’s (North and South). Despite a request to stay in the North competition, we’ve been returned to our old stomping ground of the South. Unfortunately this also means we are in the same group as another Wyoming team, founded by former teammate Ben Wilkinson. And here we were, round one, already pitted against each other for the ultimate derby. This was technically our home game so Dale made sure we’d be first to wear the new jerseys and for extra measure, he even locked one of the entry gates to the changerooms to keep Sanga from eavesdropping on team tactics, not that we have any.
On a somber note. Prior to kick off, we observed a minute silence to pay tribute to those we lost in the last few months. Steve Schultz (Ngari’s father), David Flanagan (Kevin’s father), Roberto Crecca (Tony’s brother) and Julie Smith (Dale’s mother), may they all rest in peace.
Poor weather had prevented any full-team trial games so a majority of the players were putting on their footy boots for the first time in months. In Elton’s case – a few years – as he sported a bright sparkling new pair that you could see from space. Speaking of boots, Newnham opted for a real pair rather than the joggers he wore last season and thinking man Brad Avery had a second pair ready to go, lucky too as one of his capitulated within the first minute of the game whilst trying to keep up with the opposition’s star striker, Mike Donafee.
It must be said, it wasn’t the most cohesive 80 minutes we’ve played and the 28 degree heat certainly didn’t help but we did have our chances. We could have been up 3-0 if Mick and Andy had capitalized on the chances they had. Their attempts either veering wide of the target or being marred by Bobbie Hay. Meady’s headers skimmed over the top net on a couple of corner kicks. As the first half came to a close, some things were becoming clear: there wasn’t enough communication out there and infringement penaltiies needed to be established, eg. what is the fine for a foul throw? If the answer is a six-pack of beer, we could’ve had at least a carton by the end of the game. Those offenders shall remain nameless … for now. On the plus side, the backline were particularly solid forcing several offsides and keeping Donafee pretty quiet. Unfortunately it was the opposition’s set pieces that killed us. Their first goal coming from a curling corner kick. A corner kick that was conceded rather cheaply it must be said, thanks Meady. To make it worse, their new star recruit and our former teammate, Billy Bulmer, did enough at the goal line pestering goalie Aaron as the ball curled inside the near post. Not to fear, Luca was here. As passionate and tenacious as always, Luca brought parity. Mick sent the assist. Luca, on the edge of the 18-yard box, well composed, put a shot away. The ball bounced of the inside of the far post and found the net. He celebrated in style with son Marco cheering from the clubhouse. In hindsight though, it did sadden him that he was already off the nudie list. He does after all, like to get his gear off.
We could’ve lived with a draw but a free kick from our opponents caught us flat footed as their attackers surged forward and connected. And that was that, not our day!
Stats: Andy (125 games); Luca (70 games); Dale (20 games); Ryan (20 games); Luca (10 Goals); Mick (10 Goal Assists).
Goals Tally: Luca (1); Goal Assists Tally: Mick (1); Yellow Cards: Nil
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz)
The end of season 2018 saw two events that hadn’t happened for a couple of years. One, a return to finals football and two, we’d successfully managed to organize an End of Season Trip Away !! If 2019 registrations are anything to go by, the four straight days together in Shoal Bay back in October did nothing to break up the team bond with almost all returning. This, the ninth season for the team’s founding members, sees 14 return from last year. Of the regulars, sadly Mark Wallace (work commitments) and Chris O’Connor (Kids Rep timetable) are sitting out this year. Whilst we almost saw the return of Tony Crecca, we do get another founding member back for more, Elton Richardson. Scott Howison also makes a welcomed return. Plus, three new recruits: Scott Porter (Julia’s brother), Scott Barker and after years of begging, Luca finally recruited the esteemed Mark Bohringer. Andy has passed on the managerial duties to Dale Smith who wasted no time rounding up the weary, aging troops for another year of groaning, limping, swearing, drinking and hopefully, more fun-filled adventures in the annals of football. Let the season begin …
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz)