Once again the playing stocks looked thin. Senior coach Scott did the B’s a massive favour, allowing us to play two from the A’s starting XI for the first half. Dan “Dr Dong” Ong and Ellery “Albino Beanpole” Shopen were due to just play 45.
With James “O” Reilley and “Mad” Max Demianyk still in the A’s, and Kirsten Staff “Infection” AWOL for the week, Alan “Train?” Evans rejigged the structure… many times… on the whiteboard. His final tactics: Paul “Sausage” Krzystoszek, Joe “Wojindows” Windows and Lewis “Teen Wolf” Whittenbury formed a 3 man defence, with the midfield loaded, and Alex “Macca” Makridis, Reza “Pillow” Ali Bakhsh and Beanpole told to play high.
But the plan stalled as the ref didn’t show up… After trying to steal just one of the 3 officials assigned to the Grads Red/Blue derby without luck, we were told by the CSL to wait 15mins and then pull rank over the D’s. Mel did the deed and left the D’s at 2-0 down, with a combination of Steve “Had it covered” Bresolin and Alex “The Greek” Tsirbas to cover the remaining 75mins.
As captain for the day, I asked Ellery which end he would score goals. Rostrevor called and won the toss, so I didn’t get a look in, but they conveniently chose the other end. So we got the kickoff, and Ellery now had to put his money where his mouth was.
45 minutes and 2 goals later, he had done it. The tactics had worked a treat, with the Whites hitting Rostrevor again and again on the counter. The first goal came after about 15 minutes: Ellery slotting a 1 on 1 passed the keeper. We had more chances in the half with further 1 on 1’s from Ellery and Dong. Rostrevor’s diminuitive striker Dom was their main concern, causing havoc as he skipped passed our midfield and around the defence unfamiliar with the tactics. Their best chance came as he burst down the left, putting a low ball past Callum. His strike partner looked certain to convert, but the Teen Wolf performed an amazing block/tackle on the line and then got back on his feet first to clear the ball.
The second goal came after Ellery’s shot was blocked out wide to the keeper: Fatthul gathered the ball, and with quick feet, chipped the ball to the back post. From the back, it looked like it was too far, but Ellery’s diving header knocked the ball into the top of the net, and it was 2-0. The ref blew for half time.
Half time consisted of Alan back at the whiteboard: Ellery was staying on, Lewis was out. Another shady deal by the coaches. The love for the new tactics was put to the test as Alan announced Jon “Nippy” George would be taking Lewis’ place in the defence… Macca moved to the middle, and Fairuz “Detached Knee” Jum’ee went to the wing.
Only 2 mins into the second half, a high press from our forwards caught Rostrevor out. Macca pounced, and managed to toe poke the ball under the keeper for 3-0. We’re in dreamland.
While we still played pretty well, we tended to drop off too much in the second half, giving Rostrevor more space in the middle. We were under the pump for a lot of the half. After poor clearances from 2 corners, a third corner was knocked in for 3-1 after about 20mins. Kevin “Pants” Bock came on shortly after for Fatthul to add some strength up front.
With about 10mins left, we coughed the ball up from right back, and then failed to clear from about 10 yards when we had the chance. The Rostrevor striker, who hadn’t stopped whining since half time, added insult to injury by using Sausage’s signature toe poke to hit the top corner. 3-2.
In the end, the referee balls up helped both the B’s and the D’s. The D’s took full advantage of the break in play to hit back with four unanswered goals for 4-2. The B’s ref decided that no injury time was to be played in the match for some reason, letting us sneak away with a 3-2 win.
Well played and strategised by all on the day against the league leaders. A big thanks to Scott, Ellery, Lewis, Dan, Fatthul and (as always) Callum for helping out both teams on the day. Same goes for Bocky for playing for the B’s before the C’s.
The song was sung by the remaining few who weren’t running off to play again…