If our match against them at Cawley Park was anything to go by the return game away to Unanderra was always going to be close, plus they still had the play offs in their sights.
The game began as a midfield battle but slowly Russell Vale got a grip on the game after some superb play by Hayley Waller. She teed up Brody Armour who swung in a great cross which found Jordan Errington unmarked in the box and he made no mistake with goal No.24 for the season. Unanderra responded quickly and Ethan Johnson had to make a good stop at the near post, then at the other end Jordan Errington very nearly made it 2-0. Although Russell Vale saw far more of the ball than Unanderra we didn’t create that many clear cut chances but still ended the half deservedly in the lead.
The second half started with Russell Vale determined to put this game to bed and they made chance after chance but could not find that elusive second goal. In fact the half was probably 15mins old before Unanderra made one of their rare excursions into Cobra territory but the defence held firm. There were some excellent individual skills on display as Harrison Benn, Christian Baade Mortimer and Baxter Bowler Prentice showed off their dribbling prowess but again the final touch in the box was missing. Another time Blair Dunn went clean through the Unanderra defence and with only the goalie to beat unselfishly squared the ball to Jordan Errington but once again we couldn’t find the target. Late in the game Christian Baade Mortimer’s pass across the face of the goal found Hayley Waller at the back post but even the captain saw her shot somehow miss the top corner.
With only a few minutes to go and with everyone pushing forward Russell Vale lost cohesion in defence and were caught out by a Unanderra hoof out of their own half. Jack Donnelly suddenly found himself three against one and when their striker lined up his shot and was about to pull the trigger out of nowhere Clayton Walker came to the rescue and took the ball off his toe. It was a warning well heeded as the team closed ranks and saw out the game to win 0-1 and continue their winning form in the league.
I am proud of the teams effort, they all gave 100% and Ethan Larnach even tried to play on with a strained neck but in the end I had to take him off for his own good. I’m also very pleased that we managed to create so many chances especially in the second half, it’s just a shame we couldn’t find that second goal as it would have taken some of the pressure off. Hopefully the players will learn a few things from the experience, (1/ important to maintain concentration in defence, 2/ remain calm and don’t snatch at chances in front of goal but most importantly 3/ the need to kill off the match and control the pace of the game). Technically the players are way above the other teams in their division but they still have a long way to go and a lot more to learn. However at the rate they are progressing I’ve no doubt what so ever that these little Cobras will be a Division I side within the next few years.
N.B. The attachment is the draw schedule for the play offs. It’s the first time I have ever seen “six” teams qualify, normally it’s only the top four .Interesting format but I will make sure the players don’t get ahead of themselves, we’ll just focus on one game at a time, starting with Figtree next Saturday.