East Gosford vs Barnstoneworth O35 C Match Report

Della's Thunderbastard

A Tale of Two Halves (or, The Dirty Dozen +4)

It was the best of games, it was the worst of games.  Seriously, it was both, read on and you’ll find out.  No doubt conscious of their previous 3-0 win over us earlier in the season – a game which your faithful scribe and several others players missed – we gathered on the sunlit fields of East Gosford in the hope of continuing our extraordinary run. Alvaro had graciously volunteered for the Bs so we had a full complement of 16 warriors, and in Tim’s detailed subs plan, an instruction book in how to use them.  Tally ho!

Pity no-one had read the aforementioned instruction book though.  The first half was an absolute and unmitigated clusterf@#k.  The ball was barely out of our half, and it was only thanks to a career-defining and heroic performance from Pierre that we weren’t 3-0 down in the first 15 minutes.  He made some terrific and well-judged saves (he really did!), and some that he didn’t know anything about, like the shot that hit him in the face and knocked his cap off.  On top of this they seemed to have more corners than an icosahedron, and had at least three more headers over the bar and a couple of shots wide.  It really was incredible that they didn’t score, but we continued to ride our luck like a well-used donkey (?!).  The only positive from our point of view was that East Gosford were getting a bit irritated with their failure to score.  We barely mustered an attack ourselves in the first half, and when the half time whistle went we trudged gratefully off the field.

Tim's speech was like Strider at the gates of mordorThere then followed an extraordinarily motivating speech from Tim, which had he delivered it on horseback or maybe mentioned orcs a couple of times would surely have resembled Strider’s speech before the gates of Mordor.  Anyway, it clearly had the desired effect, because we came out with a more constructive mindset and a head for battle, though without the swords.  And we very nearly got something early on when Kent picked up a through ball and collided with their keeper, who promptly got up and lashed out at our man on the ground.

There then followed a bizarre sequence of events, whereby their keeper went unpunished until he wandered out of the box carrying the ball to speak to the ref, who decided that it should only be a drop ball…?  How does that work?  I’m not a qualified ref but even I know that ain’t right, m’lud.  Anyway, Tom – against his better judgement, as he admitted afterwards – did the right thing and sportingly kicked it back to their keeper and that was that.

And then, about fifteen minutes into the second half, we won a deserved free kick about 25 yards out and this happened :

Transcript of report from ASIO monitoring station, Broken Hill, NSW

24.6.17 @ 1445

“Err…Strewth Bruce, do we have any ordnance in 2250 testing today ?”

(Bruce puts aside his copy of Ethical Surveillance Monthly)

“Ordnance ?  What’s ordnance mate ?”

“You know, BFGs”

“Oh yeah…no mate, nothing scheduled today. Why do you ask?  What’s up ?”

“Just had a big detonation spike at…looks like Hylton Moore Oval.  There’s nothing military nearby is there?  Shit, maybe it’s an invasion…best tell the boss.”

“Hang on Terry let me task a drone for overflight…wait a minute…”

(Tense seconds pass.  Bruce takes a swig of VB and mops his brow)

“Well all I can see is some lanky bald bloke celebrating on a soccer field…that must have been a hell of a free kick.”

CrikeyAnd no truer word was ever spoken.  The lanky bald bloke in question was our very own Della, who stepped up and unleashed a balls-out screaming Thunderbastard of a strike that bypassed the trembling East Gosford wall and hurtled goalward.  The keeper dived and got both hands to it but it didn’t help at all and in it went, top corner.  A phenomenal hit, and BANG we’re in the lead.

As you can imagine, this did not improve the mood of the East Gosford players one bit.  What started as somewhat justified disgruntlement in the first half soon grew into moderate unhappiness, and from there, in apparent ignorance of Yoda’s lesson, further into undisguised anger that unfortunately spilled out on the pitch.  Increasingly blatant unpleasant challenges abounded, and the ref was giving nothing.  It didn’t help that Kent kept beating the offside trap, much to the annoyance of the East Gosford defence, and also that our opponents failed to score.  Our defence may have been untidy, but it was also stubborn and unyielding, and despite riding our luck at times we held on.  The hairiest moment was also the most salutary in terms of demonstrating the difference between our two teams.  Whereas earlier in the half, after the goalmouth incident described above, Tom graciously rolled the ball back to their keeper, when presented with a similar situation in the second half – and even after one of their own players had gone down injured and caused the stoppage – East Gosford elected to view this as a scoring opportunity, and very nearly succeeded; indeed they may have done had Pierre not suddenly (and most comically) transformed from goalmouth ace into screeching fishwife to alert the defence.  Happily we survived this frankly disgraceful display of unsportsmanlike behaviour, but with it evaporated any sympathy any of us may have harboured for the lack of good fortune East Gosford had experienced during the afternoon.  And make no mistake, by this point most of their players were seething.

But the football fates were not yet done with our little match.  With five to go, and amidst increasingly ragged defending, a high ball loomed in midfield.  Against a leap from the opposition, Ade rose like a 53-yr old salmon with prominent elbows, and the resulting collision put their player on the deck bleeding from a 2-inch head wound.  Well that’s one way to end the game.  The seconds ran out like blood onto the battlefield, the final whistle went, and we were firmly into uncharted territory.  Three wins in a row, which after checking with the archivist I can confirm has NEVER happened to us before.  And of the three, this was undoubtedly the hardest earned.  A gritty performance, worthy of a crack military unit caught behind enemy lines.  Man of the match went deservedly to Pierre, for a titanic performance between the sticks and another clean sheet, closely followed by Della and Payney, but in the second half at least, the whole team did well.  Magnificent work lads, onwards and upwards.

Final Score: East Gosford 0 – 1 Barnstoneworth United

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