I’ve watched every type of football match there is over the last half century but this had to be by far the most amusing, or maybe it was just the medication?
Putting the defeat last week into perspective, it was a one off, these things happen in football. So this evening for the first time in 12 years of coaching I bowed to player pressure and for the last game of the regular season reversed the positions, (ie. striker in goal, midfield in defence and defenders up front). There was no disrespect intended to Bulli as I still wanted the Cobras to perform at a high level although I’m not sure if they actually achieved that but it was certainly funny at times.
Right from the first whistle the pressure from the home side was relentless and it only took 6mins to score the opening goal. Tigger, whom was supposed to be playing centre half broke with the ball and provided a perfect cross for Blue to hit on the half volley from 18 yards out, his shot looped into the top corner, 1-0. Soon after Tom Thumb put a dangerous ball across the goal mouth for Speedy but unfortunately his shot shuddered the bar and was cleared away to safety. It was about now that Russell Vale had 4 or 5 consecutive corners but incredibly failed to get on the end of any of them. Then Jaws got in on the action when a great ball from Red put him through one on one with the keeper but he pulled his shot wide, a typical defenders shot. Telstra then set Blue up with an opportunity to score his second but this time his effort went just over.
Bulli eventually threatened Russell Vale’s goal and Jibber Jabber pulled off the simplest of saves but somehow contrived to make it look world class. Then I saw something I thought I would never see, in the space of two minutes both Neymar & Jaws each managed a shot on target, wonders will never cease! A good tackle by Goldilocks on the halfway line set the Cobras up for number two, his forward pass found Neymar and once he and Jaws had finished getting in eachothers way on the edge of the box, Zippy (who should have been playing in defence) nipped in to steal the ball and score right on the stroke of halftime, 2-0.
During the break we switched keepers and the Wizard went between the sticks.
Right from the restart Goldilocks put Tigger away and his cross found Tom Thumb in a good position in front of goal but his first time effort went straight at the keeper. Bulli were not out of it yet and broke quickly on the counter attack but the Wizard pulled off a dramatic dive to intercept the cross. When Fonzie (always cool under pressure) calmly side stepped two Bulli players in his own half his subsequent pass found Jaws who in turn passed to Zippy but his shot hit the bar and the follow up by Tigger went wide.
Determined to score, Neymar let rip from the edge of the box but only managed to hit a Bulli defender in the side of the head knocking him clean off his feet and from the rebound Tom Thumb tried one of his “training trademark” scissor kicks but unfortunately for him it skimmed the outside of the post. From one of Neymar’s corners the ball was cleared to Telstra about 25 yards from goal and his powerful shot whistled over the bar but whether he was passing, crossing or meant to have a shot I guess we will never know?
The third goal eventually came after a combination of passes between Fonzie, Red and Telstra. The ball found Zippy, he ghosted past two players only to see his shot deflected but it did however fall kindly for Tom Thumb and he duly obliged by scoring in off the post, 3-0. Then came the moment that will live long in the memory, Jaws scoring his “first goal” for the Club and that includes training too!
It came about when a Bulli defender gave away a penalty for a clear handball, the sending off that ensued was a bit harsh though. I nearly sent on Peg Leg to take it and then remembered I had promised the first penalty to Jaws. Unperturbed by the pressure he stepped up and scored via the post, 4-0. Chances are Jaws was aiming for the other side of the goal but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. It was nice to see he was still smiling when I substituted him near the end of the game.
With the extra player advantage the Cobras were now running wild with Tigger, Jibber Jabber and Zippy all going close to scoring. There was just one last attempt from Bulli but Neymar intercepted the ball and passed back to the Wizard in goal. The whole ground nervously held their breath waiting to see if he would illegally pick it up but were all relieved when he chose to pass the ball out wide to Goldilocks instead. Speaking of goalies, I think Telstra momentarily forgot he was on the pitch today when he was pulled up for handball. Soon after he made amends when Blue slipped him the ball and he provided Jaws with an opportunity but instead of putting the ball in the net he found the creek instead (nice to see there’s no sibling rivalry there). Before being substituted Jaws had one last chance to score when Jibber Jabber crossed into the box but unfortunately for Jaws he even missed the ball………the penalty had obviously gone to his head so it was time for the bench. Speedy was the next to go close to scoring, several times in fact but every time he had a clear chance he shot straight at the keeper, defenders eh?
Jibber Jabber scored the best and final goal of the game, picking up the ball wide and running at the Bulli defence he let rip from the corner of the box and the ball flew into the net, 5-0. Soon after we won a free kick in roughly the same spot, so the Wizard made a 100M dash to take it. His shot come cross caused havoc in Bulli’s area, it was the craziest goal mouth scramble I have ever seen. Tigger, Red, Speedy, Neymar, Zippy and Jibber Jabber all had goal attempts blocked or saved. Even one of Bulli’s defenders got in on the act, out of shear panic she shot straight at her own keeper but still the ball wouldn’t go in. At times like that I wish I could have played Peg Leg, he might only have one good leg but I’m sure he would have scored.
Throughout the whole game the lads were vocally cheered on by Meg who was desperate to get in on the action. Whereas Rosie took a more analytical and tactical view of the game, her eyes never left the ball once.
The players have had their fun, now it’s time to focus again. Training Monday and Wednesday because the business end of the season starts next weekend with the Major Semi Final.
Telstra = Sean Donnelly
Speedy = Ethan Larnach
Jaws = Jack Donnelly
Neymar = Baxter Bowler Prentice
Tom Thumb = Tom Curren
Red = Bailey Baide Mortimer
Tigger = Tommy Heaton
Blue = Christian Baide Mortimer
Jibber Jabber = Jody Errington
Fonzie = Jarod Tuckwood
Wizard = Blair Dunn
Zippy = Zach Winter
Goldilocks = Riley Hanlon
Peg Leg = Louis Ready
Meg = Meg
Rosie = Rosie