Late goal beats Crazy Lansvale

Cracking goals, controversy, incompetent refereeing, fist fights, a last gasp winner – Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Gazy Lansvale had it all. With an injury list longer than one of Dave Grill’s agonising training warm-ups, several players had to double up as starters after the reserve grade game (thanks Andre, Marcus and Luigi). You wouldn’t have known they were tired though as Andre’s back heel teed up Marcus whose cracking a half volley into the top corner from just outside the box left the keeper spitting chips. Lansvale hit back midway through the half as a ball headed across the goal line was bundled into the back of the net along with keeper Harry who was holding it at the time. The second half saw Balmain bomb chance after chance and it looked like the game was heading towards another frustrating draw until all hell broke loose.
A Lansvale player objected to Dave Hardwick’s late challenge on another player and came in swinging punches like a windmill. As Hardwick protected himself he was knocked off his feet by a blind-side punch from another “Lansvale player” that ran 20 metres to get involved. All this happened right in front of the referee and you can forgive yourself for being totally gobsmacked to learn that all he could come up with was a yellow card for the second man in, and nothing for the first. The referee was last seen heading for the airport, eager to catch the first plane back to Italy, mumbling something about “if this happened in Italy they would have both got reds”. Hello? And by the way Lansvale can we see the ID card of the guy who ran in second and knocked our player out? Oh you can’t find it?
Anyway this all fired up Balmain like nothing else could, and with five minutes to go Hassan Reda finally broke Lansvale’s back with a low shot that the keeper could only parry into his own net. Rarely is the taste of victory so sweet.
New reserve grade coach Leo Cirillo enjoyed a much less controversial game as his team outclassed Lansvale 5-0. Balmain played some excellent football in the first half to all but end the game with a 3-0 lead – Andre scoring two and Max bagging one. The second half saw more of the same and Paolo Gravina, back from his mid season vacation, popped up to score two. This game was the last played by Max Civili for Balmain, who has headed back to Italy with his family. Ciao Max and thanks for all your goals over the last few seasons.