A disappointing Balmain suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat at the hands of the University of NSW on Saturday. Balmain lost keeper Matt Mulhall to injury within the first quarter of an hour, which meant a first grade debut for Andrew Pye. The Tigers then conceded on the half hour mark after a period of sustained dominance from the home side. The Tigers went into the sheds at half time with little to show for their efforts apart from an Eric Lynch free kick and a Nathan Little header that both went over the top without troubling the keeper. The Tigers conceded from a free kick early in the second half, then lost Lorenzo Merlino for two bookable offences within the space of 10 minutes. UNSW took advantage of the extra man, scoring twice late in the game to round off a comfortable victory.
The U21s were extremely unfortunate to end up on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline against the competition leaders. Controlling posession and creating most of the chances in the first half wasn’t enough as Uni somehow managed to keep the ball out of the net. Among the near misses, Noel Deasey had a free kick that hit the side netting with the keeper well beaten and Dean Tutic had a headed effort cleared off the goal line. The game continued in a similar vein in the second period until the Tigers were hit with a classic sucker punch, conceding from a 70th minute corner when a Uni player was allowed to head home unchallenged at the far post. Despite the loss, the Balmain side looked more than capable of matching it with the competition front runners, and will look forward to possibly facing them again come finals time.
You could almost write an identical match report for the U19s – playing the league leaders they held their own and created several decent chances, only to concede an 89th minute goal to go down 1-0. Producing a performance of cool, calm assurance at the back, Dave “Cucumber” Pye took home the man of the match award, which ended up being a couple of glasses of coke drunk through an open window at the Exchange Hotel. Unfortunately the photo of sad looking Dave peering in through the pub window turned out to be unrecognisable.