Balmain keeper Justin Delaney was the hero in Saturday’s hard fought 2-0 victory over Kellyville. The Tigers took the lead in the 4th minute when Dave Hardwick did his best impression of a salmon, leaping high and heading in from a corner. Continuing where he left off last week, Delaney fisted away a dipping free kick, then produced the save of the season, flinging himself across the face of goal to deny an opposition striker a two metre tap in. After denying a couple of cast-iron penalty appeals, the referee finally ruled in favour of the Tigers when Julian Bracewell was felled in the box. Bracewell however hit his penalty against the inside of the post and the rebound shot from captain Eric Lynch was well saved by the Kellyville keeper.
As expected, Kellyville upped the tempo after the break and threw everything at the Tigers in search of an equaliser, even managing to hit the post on one occasion. A frustrated Bracewell received a yellow card for engaging in a bout of handbags with a Kellyville defender before Balmain sealed the win with 10 minutes remaining. Some midfield trickery from Jackson Gothe-Snape and Jem Richardson presented Lorenzo Merlino with a simple chance which he put away for his second goal this season. Delaney almost managed to score with a monster clearing kick which was headed onto the post by a backtracking defender, and Kellyville had one disallowed for offside before the referee blew full time. The supporters and coaching staff were unanimous in their praise of keeper Justin Delaney, earning him the Exchange Hotel man of the match award.
The under 21 squad put in a solid second half performance to record a 2-0 win over Kellyville. The match marked the return from suspension of Keith “Napoleon” Agnew, back to marshall the troops from the centre of midfield in a calculated positional move from coach Anton Ivancic designed to ensure his goalkeeping skills wouldn’t be tested. Alas a first half of few highlights ended with the teams scoreless. The introduction of Steele Bonus up front after the break provided the impetus Balmain needed to snatch a victory. Bonus unleashed Sami Yildiz into the clear on 55 minutes, and Yildiz smashed the bouncing ball past the stranded keeper. Bonus then got a goal of his own, when he hammered a Kellyville corner clearance into the back of the net square off the middle of his chest. 2-0 to the Tigers and they shoot up the ladder into second place.
The under 19s could not hide their disappointment after they saw a two goal lead evaporate in the final minutes of their 2-2 draw. Balmain opened the scoring only 3 minutes in, when keeper Vince’s route one clearance was latched onto by Simon Roddy and stroked home. Leading 1-0 at the break, Roddy then added a second and with 10 minutes to go it looked like the Tigers would stroll to their first win of the season. Kellyville had other ideas and grabbed a point with goals from a late free kick and a scramble in the box. All in all a fine performance for 80 minutes from the 19s, soured by a late lapse in concentration.