Welcome back gentle reader. Since the last report we’ve actually played three games, the first two of which, sad to relate, passed largely unregarded by history until now. The thrilling third match is reported below for your considered delectation. As for the first two, the first was a sad 3-0 loss against Ourimbah which broke our winning streak but not Tom’s 100% record (he wasn’t there), and was otherwise remarkable only because of Ourimbah’s repeated early appeals for handball which were denied by the ref, but earned them instead Leigh’s hilarious and repeated ironic shouts of ‘handball’ whenever the opposition touched the ball at all for the rest of the entire match. Following this we restored our winning ways with a hard earned 1-0 win over Avoca on a slippy Duffy’s pitch, the goal coming from an opportunistically placed Simon after fine work on the wing from our very own Glorious Leader(™), Tim.
And so we returned to Jubilee Oval chasing a 5th win and the opportunity to rise to the lofty heights of 6th in the league. Arguably this was probably the most important match of the season so far, against a Killarney team that had endeared themselves to precisely nobody at our last meeting, not least because they had literally had 12 men on the field for the whole game – and before the censors start bleating, that’s not an opinion, that’s a fact, and not an ‘alternative’ one either.
The match started in the worst possible way… unless you count the unlikely possibility of a napalm attack on Long Jetty. From the kick off the ball went to one of their forwards who charged straight into the box and promptly went down like an inexpensive escort, having been under relatively modest and frankly quite legal looking pressure from Nick. The ref pointed to the spot and waved all protests away. Up stepped their striker, and Pierre took his place on the goal line, bombarded by multiple contradictory suggestions as to where he should stand or dive – ‘Stand tall!’, ‘Dive left!’, ‘Balance on one hand and wiggle your toes!’. Really helpful I’m sure.
Well something must have helped because he only went and saved it, not once but twice! He stood his ground and solidly blocked the first hit, their striker ran in and whacked the rebound but Pierre was there again and away it went! Incredible scenes of jubilation followed, and some would say justice was done. Back into the fray we went, and it soon became clear that a real contest was unfolding, both sides hungry for ‘glory’. There were spirited exchanges in midfield, some scrappy breakaways at both ends, but apart from another fine save from Pierre, the goals were not really threatened again and we walked off at half time with the score 0-0.
Except we didn’t, because apparently at some point in the first half we had gone 1-0 up and your constantly vigilant reporter hadn’t even noticed. Allegedly, whilst I was fisting about with Killarney’s steam driven Babbage Engine to update the team details that Pierre had been unable to do before kick off, we had won a free kick at some unspecified distance from the goal, Ade had taken it, and after a sizeable deflection it had gone in! I’ve seen the Harvey Norman Replay and I still don’t believe it. I only realised we were in the lead during Tim’s half time talk when it became clear he was talking as if we were winning. Oh well, I like nice surprises.
So, buoyed by this unexpected lead, we returned to the field in search of victory. As had happened in our last game against these chancers, the second half became increasingly aggressive, only this time there was a referee who wasn’t one of their mates to keep control. And keep control he did, pulling up overly zealous challenges and policing the lavatorial verbal sparring between Ade and most of the opposition. Like Avoca last season though, Killarney fell prey to that particular brand of dim strategy that involves doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result, namely fouling our players 25 yards out in front of goal. With the game rapidly descending into free kick practice, we had no fewer than three such kicks, the first two taken with vigour by Della, keen to replicate his hammering strike against East Gosford – although sadly it was not to be today – and the third by none other than Ade, alleged goal scorer from the first half. Well I did see this one, and it screamed over the wall and hit the bar, rebounding high into the air above the goal. At this point your faithful scribe found himself stood next to their keeper, watching the ball descend in slow motion. Now I’m not going to say that I made contact with it, because frankly I didn’t, but I like to think my intimidating presence (!) contributed to their keeper’s panicked flapping of the ball into his own net. 2-0! How entirely splendid.
After that there isn’t much to add. There was more ill-tempered grunting from the opposition (anyone would think they’d been dug up in Mordor), a couple of attacks and corners that we stoutly repelled, and then the final whistle was blown, and the points and 6th position were ours. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but what Tim apparently said at halftime (I don’t really know, I wasn’t listening…) proved to be true – the team that worked the hardest would win the game, and by Crikey that’s what happened. Man of the Match went unanimously and well deservedly to Pierre for an immense performance between the sticks, followed by Ade (who may have scored a goal) and Simon. And, in what is looking less like a chain of coincidences and more like something from the X-Files, Tom maintained his 100% win record, which applies even if he’s not playing but is just there on the sidelines ! (cue spooky arpeggio). Whatever the reasons, it was a well deserved win and one that makes it 5 wins out of the last 6 games – even Alvaro now knows what it feels like to win! Strong work chaps.
Final Score: Killarney 0 – 2 Barnstoneworth C