A beautiful sunny day saw Barnstoneworth run out against East Gosford on a pitch that was hard, uneven and mostly dirt in front of the goals. With a strong breeze blowing against them and the sun in their eyes, Barnstoneworth had a storming first half, with the Lynch brothers and Pez getting ample opportunities to shoot for goal, to no effect.
In the centre Ramin was having the time of his life, showing some extraordinary ball skills and putting through some solid passes to the forwards. This sustained pressure, backed up by Brett and Trevor, eventually paid off. A through-ball released Tom into the corner from where he lofted a beautiful cross to his brother Andy, who got it past East Gosford’s first-class goalie and into the net.
Having spent the past week suffering from the flu, Andy eventually succumbed to the pressure to sub (for about two minutes), putting Will up front with Pez. Minutes later Pez put a perfect cross right at Will’s feet directly in front of the goal, and he left-footed it … directly into the hands of the goalie.
The East Gosford goalie took another goal kick opportunity shortly after to hoof the ball high in the air, where the wind caught it and dropped it in the dirt just short of Simon. It bounced over his head, but he scrambled brilliantly and got a hand to it just in time.
So, 1-0 at half time, and with East Gosford suffering from no subs, we thought we had a good chance to close out some of our goals in the second.
East Gosford came out like maniacs though, and Barnstoneworth’s control of the centre started to fragment. A free kick led to a throw-in, which led to a brilliant cross and the East Gosford striker put a ferocious header straight over Simon’s hands and just under the bar.
The rest of the half was trench warfare, with both teams fighting hard for possession. Barnstoneworth kept the pressure on, with Pez kicking at least five conversions over the crossbar, and Andy and Tom both had cracks at the goal to no avail. As always, Luke was solid at centre back, and Chris and Nigel both covered well on the flanks, shutting down numerous opportunities.
Adam received the elephant hat for blasting a certain goal over the crossbar with a shot that, by Jason’s description, “Only needed a nudge with the side of the foot”. “Believe it or not, that’s what I was trying to do,” said Adam.
This was a game notable for the number of players who came off injured and then came back on again, and for the number of position changes—some players managing to get work their way through four or five different positions. Cries of “Who’s centre-back? Me! No, me! Oh we’ve got two then,” echoed back and forth. This may have contributed to the team’s inability to score a second time.
Still. Better than losing.
Final result: 1-1 draw.