Barnstoneworth DS vs Umina Report

Barnstoneworth approached this game against table leaders Umina in a slight state of trepidation, having been defeated roundly at the last meeting. Discovering that the match was to be adjudicated by the same female referee who’d delivered a poultice of penalties a few weeks before at Wyoming didn’t improve matters, but umpires’ decisions are fickle things—as, it’s rumoured, are women—and Barnstoneworth discovered the truth of this maxim five minutes into the first half when Peter ‘Pez’ Miller received a long pass and found himself in space with no-one but the goalie twixt him and the goalmouth.

Twixt? No. Behind? Yes! The accursed Umina sweeper threw caution to the wind and stuck a leg out, bringing Pez down in a tangle of limbs to the accompaniment of much outraged moaning from Barnstoneworth and their legion of devoted fans on the sideline. To our surprise, the referee, clearly keen to stamp her authority on the game, pulled out a red card and the offending Umina player was OFF FOR THE DURATION. Yeah baby!

Despite being a man up, Barnstoneworth seemed intent on kicking the ball to Umina, whose deft passing kept the centres busy. With ten minutes to go in the half, Tom Lynch threaded the defence and passed to Adam Chandler who closed on the goal amidst a swarm of defenders, shot and missed only to have Peter Miller whack it back in front of the goal, drawing the goalie out and leaving the net as wide open as a 19-year-old on her wedding night. Into the breach raced Tek Tea, who somehow managed to tangle himself up in the ball and flip it backwards and into the boots of a Umina defender, who cleared it.

Shortly after, Brett Fenton copped a boot in the nuts that had him hobbling off the field like a man whose first attempt at spuddage had gone horribly wrong, but he was back in ten minutes making some solid tackles in the centre. At half-time, despite numerous attacks from both sides and some superb saves from Simon Ashley-Binge in goal, it was still nil-all.

Breathing hard, Barnstoneworth came back on and started to mount some pressure, Tek making some sterling efforts at redress and making several strong tackles. Ten minutes in, Chris Peers stole the ball and made a charge through the centre, fighting his way through four defenders to pass to Tom Lynch who rifled a ball to Peter Miller lurking on the left flank. Umina were wrong-footed by the Miller sidestep and BANG! He nailed the goal to put Barnstoneworth ahead.

Minutes later, Umina charged down their left wing, crossed to the right and forced a corner. In the resulting melee, an undefended post allowed a headed ball to nudge its way in, and the scores were level.

It was at this point that Ben ‘Immortal’ Johnson showed his true colours as one of the few genuine soccer players in the team, taking a dive inside the box to produce a free kick, then running a mile and leaving it to Peter Miller to take the shot in the face of some serious yelling and abuse from the Umina team, who by this stage were starting to get a bit shitty at not being 5-nil up.

“They’re all soft-cocks” was one shouted observation from the number 14 who, if his girth was anything to go by, would be hard-pressed even to see the said member, let alone get a hand on it to find out whether it had any stiffness. The obvious reply from Barnstoneworth, tactfully made ‘sotto voce’, was “You’re soccer players, you’re all soft-cocks by definition.”

Ahead 2-1 with ten to go, Barnstoneworth despaired when Umina managed to produce a penalty inside the box and lodged it in the corner of the net to level the scores. In the last minute of the game, Johnson called for a substitution and ambled onto the pitch in time for the final whistle.

A tough match, well played by both sides.

Final result: 2-all draw.

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