Balmain were desperately unlucky not to come home from Punchbowl with all three points after Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Sydney Cedars. The Tigers opened the scoring early when Jeremy Deasey played to the whistle, chasing down a ball that Julian Bracewell had let go seeing as though he was a mile offside. Deasey got to the ball before the charging Cedars keeper, strolled past him, then passed it into an empty net to make it 1-0. Cedars equalised 10 minutes later when their striker controlled a long ball over the top then left Justin Delaney stranded with a perfectly weighted lob.
Level at the interval, Balmain threw everything at their opposition in search of the winner but try as they might the ball would not get over the line. Keeping the grandstand full of travelling supporters on the edge of their seats, Julian Bracewell rounded the keeper then hit the post from a tight angle, Lorenzo Merlino had a close range effort blocked, and Grant Burgess hit the crossbar in the final seconds. Final score 1-1, and after a dashing display on the left of midfield, Deasey took home the Exchange Hotel man of the match award.
The U21s let a good first half slip in their 1-1 draw with the Cedars. Ben Shine gave the Tigers the lead when he met Eric LaRocca’s cross with a bullet header that slipped through the flailing keeper’s hands. Not the most mobile team, the Cedars tactics consisted of hoofing the ball long at their earliest convenience, giving the Tigers’ back four 90 minutes of heading practice. Unfortunately the gameplan was rewared midway through the second half when a defensive mixup allowed a Cedars striker to get on the end of yet another hoof and score to make it 1-1. There were chances at both ends after that and Andrew Pye, in goal for Balmain, pulled off a couple of first class saves.
With their opposition scoring 13 and conceding 11 in their first three games of the season it was not surprising to see a high scoring encounter in the U19s. The Tigers came from behind three times before eventually going down 4-3 with only 10 men. Big Sam Bonus headed the first for the Tigers before Grant Burgess grabbed two second half equalisers. In between, Chris Grayson was sent from the field after showing that he liked the Cedars kit so much that he wanted to pull it off the back of an opponent on two occasions.