Balmain went down 4-1 to Trasandinos at Birchgrove on Saturday in a game that set a new record for having the most penalty kicks ever awarded in 90 minutes of football. The trigger happy referee awarded four spot kicks in an afternoon of whistle blowing madness – two to Trasandinos in the first half and two to Balmain in the second. Trasandinos took advantage of both their opportunities to take a 2-0 half time lead, then “did an England” in the second half, packing 8 or 9 men back behind the ball content to play on the counter attack. This strategy worked well as they snatched a third midway through the second period to all but sew the game up. Steve Lewis had the first of Balmain’s spot kicks saved by the keeper, so the duty was passed to Nick Flower for the next attempt and he made no mistake in pulling the Tigers back to 3-1. A sustained period of Balmain attack saw the Tigers entrenched around the Trasandinos box but unable to put the ball past the outstanding opposition keeper. Trasandinos then rubbed salt into the wounds with a fourth breakaway goal in injury time. Nick Flower earned the Exchange Hotel man of the match award.
Balmain reserves put a shocking first half display behind them as they came from behind to win 5-2 in the lead-up game. The curse of the penalty spot continued this week – this time it was Honza Capek’s turn to miss from 12 yards. Minutes later, Trasandinos took the lead with a long range shot that went in off the cross bar. Close to half time Eamon Byrne continued his goal scoring streak with a 70 yard screamer. Yes seventy. The Trasandinos keeper ran out to take Byrne’s edge of the box clearance on the full but misjudged the flight and ended up with egg on his face as the ball bounced over him into the top corner. In the second half, Tony Mersaides troubled the scorer for the first time this season as he took the ball past the keeper to make it 2-1. However Trasandinos hit back almost immediately to make it 2-2. Nick Bounds then had a piledriver saved by the keeper, but Jem Richardson was first to the rebound to slot it in from a narrow angle for a 3-2 lead. Richardson and Bryne then extended the lead to 5-2 with long range free kicks – both misjudged by the hapless keeper. Byrne’s goalscoring efforts from the centre of defence earned him the Exchange Hotel award.