With the gaffer (John) at home with the 3B’s in their top of the table clash with Cardijn, it was left to me to sort out the div 5 boys up the hill at Mount Barker.
For some reason we had 18 players named, but i soon found out that Barry and Dom were unavailable. On the flipside though, in addition to our usual group we had the services of Lewis & Stu from the B’s and Cam from the C’s.
Last year when we’d played Mount Barker they were a bit of a rabble. But right from the outset they played a high pressure game against us and it worked. For most of the first half our midfield and defence were awarded no time or space & as a result we struggled to string any passed together.
The one exception from this was a lovely piece of play, with the ball moving across the back from Cam to Andy, who sent Stu through with a super ball – he crossed in for Declan to meet the ball at full tilt and knock it in – glorious to watch.
Almost immediately though Mount Barker scored to level as their big striker hit one from well outside the box which went in.
For the remainder of the half we were under intense pressure – we cleared 2 balls off the line – Markus put his body on the line for a crucial save and the woodwork also rescued us once.
Late in the half, we also had a slice of luck – as we got the ball down the wing & crossed it in, only for the keeper and central defender to fluff their lines and bundle one into the back of the net – a completely undeserved 2-1 lead was the half time result.
At the break i asked our boys to control and pass better, but more importantly to win some 50-50 balls! And from the outset we did a lot better. Declan was pushed up front – and he, Joshua and Stuart got behind the Mount Barker defence more. Our rotating midfield also lifted, with George, Matt, Lewis, Mariano, Jason and Andy all doing much better with the ball.
Whilst we had most of the play – no more goals were forthcoming, although Andy rattled the crossbar with a lovely header from a corner.
In the end, we snuck home for a 2-1 win. Standout performance from Declan, and also a mention to Markus who made a couple of magnificent saves.
The result leaves us just 1 game behind the top two teams at the halfway mark of the season. Everything to play for with the Glamorous ones!