To use a cliché, this was definitely “a match of two halves!”
In the first half we struggled with our intensity. There was a lot of ball watching going on, and not a lot of our usual hard running. Perhaps it was the later game time? Biorhythms perhaps? There were glimpses of our normal selves with a few penetrating runs out of midfield. But unfortunately once the ball turned over we just sat back and watched it go the other way and failed to chase and tackle. It took a combination of luck and some good last minute efforts from Ben (who was subbing for us this week) to go into halftime nil all.
While we had our oranges (thanks again Madeline!), Coach reminded us that we come to play football, not just watch it. The message sunk in!
After the break we ran. And we ran. And we ran. Every Russell Vale kid ran as hard as can be. As a result we benefited by an overwhelming majority of field position. Whenever the ball did come into our half, either Bailey, Ben or Stuart took control and sent us forward. Anakin, Jackson, Josh and Tom controlled the middle. It was only a matter of time before we took advantage and scored. Both goals came from corners. Both times, the opposition failed to handle the high ball coming at them. The first goal was an own goal off a lifted knee. The second came from a free kick awarded after an opposition player handled the ball. And talk about free kicks! The opposition crowded the goal line while the referee placed the ball about 8 meters out just of centre. The strike from Josh would have split an adult in half had they been in the way! Despite the crowd in front of goal, the ball went whizzing past the Balgownie kids heads (lucky it missed them!) at about a hundred kilometres an hour! The crowd went wild!
We finished with a 2-0 win, and Coach was very pleased with our effort. While the second half saw many outstanding performances, our medal went to Tom and the trophy went to Anakin. Both boys made some great supporting runs and only just failed to score on breaks, while they were often back in defence to help clear the danger area. It was Anakin’s corners that caused so much trouble, while Tom’s control on the ball is setting a standard for the team.