Uni Whites 2 – 1 North City
First off having been slack about this, the details have gone fuzzy and I can’t remember exactly when the goals came. It may also be biased to pumping up how well I played in my head!!!
With lots of young, newly recruited, largely unproven new blood, there was a very relaxed positive attitude before the game. Probably because no one knew what to expect so we weren’t stressing (a lesson we should try take into all future games).
The line up was a decent mix of veteran Uni White (used loosely) to new blood. New keeper Lim was protected by myself and Cam in the centre, with Dimi and newbie Julio as the fullbacks. Chairman Lev strode in to take up the pointy role of defensive mid and had Fairuz and Luke as his centre mids. Wide midfielders were Manny (looking very uncomfortable at the start) and newbie Dan Gartner with Matt Mostak up front. With no official referee assigned we had A team coach Kevin strap on his whistle and take charge.
The first 20 minutes or so were a bit nervy with the whites struggling to settle and too inclined to go for the long ball. Unfortunately Julio and Dimi were under the pump with North City’s wide runners being pacier and supported by runners from midfield that weren’t quite being tracked, however Cam. Lev and I were largely able to keep the crosses/passes/cutbacks and cut in runs out.
The first goal came sort of against the run of play as there had been a short while of long ball wastes from the Whites followed by North City through ball attempts. I managed to cut out one through ball and after passing back to Lim and then receiving it back we got a classic short, triangle passing move going up the left flank with a final through ball from either Fairuz or Manny to Mostak who slotted into the lower far corner from near the left edge of the box. In total I believe it was about 10 passes all up. Great team goal done the Uni Whites way.
That goal led to largely overall domination from the Whites with the second coming from 3 or 4 short passes after a throw in. Mostak again with the same kind of finish. This happened fairly close to half time so in we went with the general momentum.
The second half was largely uneventful for the first 15 or 20 with the Whites largely on top and sticking to the short passing mostly but struggling to get the final ball and finish in. Newbies William, Lee, Matt Gartner and Hamad were given a run and slotted in wuite nicely with no real change to team dynamic. About 25 minutes in there was some kind of set piece, a free kick I think, that bounced just in front of Lim and the ball spilled out to hit me in the chest and then roll down my arm and Lim pounced on it to stop it rolling in. Penalty, although when the whistle was blown all of North City thought it was a pass back (they were all behind me) and were talking about their indirect plays. The small crowd of A players we had accumulated by this stage had no idea what was going on either and once I indicated it was hand ball against me the good natured ribbing started to make me feel better. I must say it was a great spot by Kevin who was perfectly positioned so kudos for that and also actually calling it, unlike almost all the other Club refs I know.
With the penalty duly converted it led to a panickier performance as most of the Whites started playing too hard for the goal rather than just going back to what had been working with the short passes. North City were playing with more fight as they had the sniff but in the end we held out for the win with a performance showing good signs for the future but plenty to work on as well with composure being one of the more important.
Thanks to Kev for stepping in and given us a proper ref