Balmain will get a second bite at the grand final cherry next weekend after losing 1-0 to Trasandinos in the major semi final on Sunday. Played at night in greasy conditions after light rain had fallen for most of the afternoon, the game was a very tight affair with neither side managing to create many quality opportunities to score. Trasandinos shaded the Tigers in the first half, and went closest to scoring with a swerving free kick that Justin Delaney kept out with a fingertip save. Urged on by the extremely vocal Balmain supporters that had filled the stadium, the Tigers midfield took the game to Trasandinos in the second half, with Matt Jaffrey in particular having a stormer. With less than a quarter of an hour to play, Trasandinos banged in a goal from about 25 yards out on a rare foray into the Balmain half. Coach Campbell responded to the roar from the supporters urging him to “show us the muff” and duly brought on Julian “Muff” Bracewell in an attempt to find an equaliser. The Tigers went agonisingly close in the final minute when Jake Flower’s free kick missed the far post by only inches with brother Nick unable to reach the ball with a desperate lunge. So Trasandinos march on to the grand final in a fortnight, while the Tigers will have to defeat Sydney Cedars next Sunday to earn themselves a final day rematch.
The Reserve team earned themselves a spot in the grand final as they comfortably accounted for Sydney Cedars 3-1 in their semi-final. The Tigers attacked from the outset and had shots from Dylan Zammit and Peter Glavis go narrowly wide. The first goal came after 10 minutes as Jem Richardson split the defence with a ball to Honza Capek, who calmly rounded the last defender and slotted the ball into the corner of the net. Balmain’s task was made easier shortly before half time when the Cedars had a player sent off for his second booking, granted immediately after he was heard to say to the referee “you can’t give me a yellow card”. Despite the numerical advantage, the Tigers allowed the Cedars back into the game immediately after the break when some lazy defending allowed an unmarked man at the far post to score with a volley. Only after the equaliser did the Tigers reassert their superiority with some flowing football that began to tear the Cedars apart. Richardson restored the lead with 20 on the clock when a goal mouth scramble saw the ball roll free to him on the edge of the six yard box. Capek then wrapped things up when he chested down a Richardson free kick and volleyed the ball past the stranded keeper. The win gives the Tigers the luxury of a rest next weekend, where they will wait to see whether their grand final opponent will be Sydney Cedars or Gladesville United.