Kariong vs Barnstoneworth D South Report

A very relaxed Barnstoneworth team was manning the sideline at Kariong Oval, when your correspondent arrived, struggling under the combined harassment of children, folding chairs, dogs and an appalling hangover. The team was apparently unconcerned with the need to warm up before the match, being too busy trying to shield themselves from the positively Baltic gale howling in from the west.

Nevertheless, after treating the drivers on the freeway ramp to a display of brightly-uniformed men urinating on the fence-line, the game started. Within five minutes, Kariong’s left winger came racing down the sideline and crossed to the striker who, displaying skills that sadly weren’t to be seen again in the game, used the wind to loft the ball delicately over the defenders and right into the top corner of the net where the crossbar caught it and dropped it in-goal.

Barnstoneworth soon discovered though, that Kariong’s centres were a bit slower than last week’s batch from Umina —as Jason Bush put it “I’ve never seen such a ball-shy bunch of centres”— and soon the passes were beginning to stick. Receiving a long ball from the said Bush, Pez Miller did his usual carve-up and, sensibly keeping the ball low, landed one in the goal to level the scores. The wind was now so strong that Adam Chandler had to chase the ball along the ground to take a free kick, and any airborne kicks moved a metre sideways for every metre forward.

With ten to go, Ben Johnson made one of his five-minute ‘impact player’ cameos off the bench and took the ball from deep, side-stepping his way through half a dozen defenders to launch a long shot at the goal. It hit the cross bar and fell straight down, where all players from both sides seemed to regard it as some sort of radioactive potato and watched it roll over the line unmolested. After some confusion the ref agreed it was a goal, bringing the score to 2-1. At this point we should note that the quality of the refereeing in this game was superb. Unobtrusive, balanced, no abuse of players and not a card in sight, well done sir.

Minutes later, it was Brett ‘Wanderer’ Fenton’s turn. He advanced through the centre and, two metres out, with the goalie completely wrong-footed, butchered a perfect scoring opportunity, the ball sailing well to the right of the post. It could have been argued that the wind had something to do with it, but Brett accepted no excuses and donned the elephant hat immediately at half-time.

In the second session the wind veered a bit in Barnstoneworth’s favour, and soon the team was lining up scoring opportunities … and failing utterly to take them. Over the next forty minutes virtually every forward and centre had a shot and missed. Even the backs had a couple of shots from halfway to no avail. Particularly fine efforts included Anthony Broadbere’s shot from right in front (skewed to the left), Chris Peers’s shot from right in front (handily deflected by the goalie) and Tek Tea’s attempt from inside a scrum of defenders (off the post). Ryan Bush’s shot from the right with no-one marking him (over the bar) was also a fine example of the game at its best, although in his defence, he had copped a kick in the cods shortly beforehand. Somewhere in there, Tom Lynch and Adam Chandler actually managed to get the ball into the net, bringing the score to 4-1.

Maybe it was the absence of Tony ‘Rib’ Roma and his ambulance entourage that undid them, but, Kariong were clearly hard-pressed in defence. This didn’t prevent them from attacking though, and in the latter part of the second half they mounted several raids down the left flank from goal-kicks. Will Belford at left back was kept busy and, despite a throw-in fail, succeeded in marking a man without knocking him over, a personal-best that won him Man of the Match for the first time.

All-in-all a highly-enjoyable game despite the climatic conditions.

Final result: Kariong 1-4 Barnstoneworth

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