Balmain took home all three points after a 1-0 victory over Kellyville in the annual Weekend at Bernie’s road trip. Arriving at the famously sloped ground to find a mud pit that had been destroyed by cattle during the week, all thoughts of a flair-filled short passing game were thrown straight out the window. Balmain created the early chances, with Daniel Totatro heading wide and Eric Lynch seeing a low shot skid agonisingly across the face of goal with the keeper well beaten. When the goal finally came on 20 minutes, it was Totaro who chipped the keeper after he had been unleashed by an outside of the foot special by Lorenzo Merlino. Meanwhile, with Guinness World Records officials standing by, the trigger happy referee began his quest for the world record for most number of cards handed out in 90 minutes of football. Six or seven cards, 43 free kicks, and 20 minutes later it was half time with the Tigers holding a 1-0 lead, and the referee was staking a solid claim for man of the match.
The second half was, I’m told by the neutrals, truly awful stuff. Seeing the impossibility of rolling a pass along the cratered pitch, both sides descended into a hoofathon, giving the defenders at each end plenty of heading and kicking practice. Kellyville had an Alan Smith lookalike sent from the field for his second yellow card after pulling back Julian Bracewell after he had been played into the clear. Anthony Trieste stole the record-setting limelight from the referee when he produced a crunching tackle that ended in three Kellyville players being yellow carded for complaining. The Tigers held on for the win, and that sends them into the top four for the first time this season, albeit with other teams having a game in hand. Gutsy defender slash midfielder Jackson Gothe-Snape earned the Exchange Hotel man of the match award.
On a sad note, young Balmain prodigy Noel Deasey suffered a broken nose delivered by an unprovoked head-butt from a sore loser while attempting to shake hands after the final whistle. This is now a matter under police investigation.
The 21s bad run continued with a 2-0 defeat to a Kellyville team that achieved only its second win of the season. After dominating for the first 10 minutes or so, sloppy marking at Kellyville’s first corner allowed the home side to take the lead, even after the inital header had rebounded off the crossbar. On 32 minutes a penalty for handball was awarded against Eamonn Byrne when a point blank drive was smashed against his back and armpit. Kellyville scored to make it 2-0 and if that wasn’t enough, on Balmain’s next attack Sami Yildiz cracked a cross into the box which hit a Kellyville defender in identical circumstances as Byrne’s. You guessed it, no penalty and a yellow card to Yildiz for his protests. The second half produced no goals but a much improved display from the 21s. Here’s hoping the boys can break the losing streak next weekend.
19s cult heroes Barnaby and The Reverand
The talk around the traps right now is the form turnaround from the U19s, and rightly so as they knocked off third placed Kellyville 5-3 on Saturday. The traditional early goal was conceded right on 10 minutes when a scramble outside the box led to a deflected shot that Vince could do nothing about. In the past this would have meant impending doom, but not so for the revitalised Tigers. A period of settling down followed until Chris “2 games” Grayson scored the equaliser after 24mins. The boys started to exude confidence and their pressure play resulted in a penalty which Simon Roddy slotted home for a 2-1 half time lead. New signing Mitch Bonus delivered a telling blow four mins into the 2nd half from a corner to make the score 3-1. Unfortunately within minutes a cruel deflection yet again left Vince stranded as the ball looped over his head to make it 3-2. Bonus scored his second, again from a corner, this time with a magnificent side footed volley into the top corner. Again Kellyville hit back to take the scores to 4-3, but Balmain captain Matt Coelho had the final say, lashing a volley through the hands of the Kolts keeper to seal the match. That’s nine points and 14 goals from their past three games, and all of a sudden the 19s look an outside chance for the semi-finals.