Balmain ushered in a new era of professionalism on Saturday when they unveiled their shiny new scoreboard before doing battle with Hakoah. Sadly no Tiger was able to trouble scoreboard attendant Ollie Bracewell in a dour 2-0 loss to Hakoah. In a match devoid of highlights, Hakoah took a 43rd minute lead when their striker held off two defenders in the box then stabbed the ball into the corner of the goal. Within ten minutes of the restart they doubled their lead when a defensive mix-up left an attacker in acres of space. He was able to round Balmain keeper Justin Delaney and casually push the ball into an unguarded net. Despite enjoying massive amounts of possession and trying every conceivable method of getting the ball into the box, the Tigers were unable to create a clear-cut chance, and the visitors held on for a comfortable 2-0 victory.
Alex Kaltenegger bleeds uncomfortably close to the new shiny white Balmain scoreboard
Balmain’s only moment of joy for the day came when the 21s grabbed a deserved last minute equaliser in a dramatic 1-1 draw. An entertaining first half ended scoreless with both sides having their keepers to thank after some fantastic saves at both ends. The second half served up more of the same, and Hakoah’s keeper again did well to hold a Steele Bonus screamer, as well as a free kick from Jem Richardson that was headed for the top corner. Substitute Simon Roddy had a great chance to snatch the winner, but his half volley looped agonisingly over the bar. In the 85th minute Alex Kaltenegger had to be helped from the field with blood gushing out of a head wound that eventually required six stitches. Having made three substitutions already, the Tigers had to play out the match with 10 men and Hakoah took advantage, hitting what looked to be a cruel winner in the 90th minute. Not willing to give away all three points the Tigers surged forward and grabbed a vital injury time equaliser. Jem Richardson drove in a corner that a hapless Hakoah defender tried in vain to keep from curling in at the near post, managing only a touch to help it on its way. In all the excitement there was still time for Matt Mulhall to make another good save to keep the scores level at full time.
The 19s were outclassed in a 5-0 drubbing in the first game of the day. After going down 2-0 in the first ten minutes, the boys showed some promising signs of a fightback, coming close to scoring on a couple of occasions. Hakoah ran away with the game in the second half though, knocking in three more on a day the Balmain boys will quickly want to forget.