Saturday’s clash against Kellyville shaped up as a classic late season six pointer with both sides sitting atop the table on equal points. With the championship in their sights and looking to make amends for Kellyville’s 3-0 triumph in the first round, the Tigers took the game by the scruff of the neck from the outset. Dominating the midfield and nullifying the Kellyville attack, the Tigers looked more likely to score and the opening goal duly came courtesy of Jake Flower. Unleashed down the left hand side after some enterprising build-up in the midfield, Flower let go with an unstoppable drive from just outside the area that nestled nicely in the far corner of the net. Not to be outdone, Dan Hanusek made sure of his entry for goal of the season when he turned his marker and drilled a looping volley into the top corner from 30 yards only minutes later. Flower scored his second and Balmain’s third in almost identical fashion to the first, this time beating the keeper at the near post with the sheer pace of his shot. Kellyville attempted to attack in the second period and threw an extra man forward only to find Balmain’s defence impenetrable – keeper Justin Delaney having little to do but take a couple of goal kicks. The fourth goal arrived late in the game from a Nick Flower penalty kick after Jem Richardson had been brought down in the box. Unsurprisingly, Jake Flower earned himself the Exchange Hotel man of the match award with an excellent performance including two stunning goals.
The chances of Balmain Reserves going a whole season unbeaten have sadly ended after they lost 2-1 in the earlier match. In a first half of few opportunities, Balmain were very unlucky not to have the lead when part-time striker Svenaldo headed into the top corner. The referee blew for a foul on the keeper by Julian Bracewell and it is fair to say that the replays were inconclusive. The Tigers finally took the lead shortly after the break when Bracewell beat a couple of would-be tacklers, surged into the box and drilled the ball past the keeper. However the celebrations were short-lived as Kellyville were back level two minutes later. The visitors again enjoyed the benefit of a dubious decision when a ball flicked off a Kellyville attacker and hit Peter Glavis in the arm, the referee pointing to the penalty spot. And just to prove it wasn’t going to be the Tigers’ day, Matt Mulhall got across smartly to save the penalty, only to see the ball go up in the air away from goal, hit the ground and spin back into the net. The game continued with the Tigers creating and missing a couple of good chances until Kellyville snatched the winner late in the game. The ball was cut back to the edge of the area to an unmarked Kellyville player who hit a low, hard shot that went into the corner of the net after taking a small deflection off another Kellyville player. Daniel Ault produced a solid performance in defence and was rewarded with the Exchange Hotel pints as man of the match.
In other news, the first grade points table seems to have changed significantly this weekend. It looks as if Gazy Lansvale may have had many of their results reversed and points stripped, including a draw which they gained against the Tigers. This is unconfirmed at the moment – it could also very well be a mistake by whoever compiles the Soccer NSW results. Stay tuned for confirmation.