At the start of the season I predicted it would take at least 6 games for this lot to become a team and right on cue they proved me right. The result was irrelevant as far I’m concerned but the performance was brilliant.
Kiama were by far the best team we have faced this season and prior to the game they sat above us at the top of the table on goal difference, (albeit by only one goal). Right from the kick off Kiama dominated possession and moved the ball around at ease. Ethan Larnach was kept very busy defending on the right but overall Russell Vale managed to absorb the pressure. Sean Donnelly whom looks more like a goalie every week also did well to keep the Kiama attack at bay. It’s worth noting that Kiama’s forward line was led by the tallest 12 year old I have ever seen but Jack Donnelly and Tom Curran never stopped battling to keep him under control.
After a hesitant start Russell Vale finally took the game to another level. With 10mins gone Jarod Tuckwood threaded a superb pass for Zac Winter to leave the home defence flat footed and slot the ball home, 0-1. A few minutes later Blair Dunn left several defenders in his wake and his cross into the box set up the second goal. After having an indifferent (to put it politely) start to the game Riley Hanlon found space in the box to control the cross and calmly finished in style to make it 0-2. He was obviously inspired by his goal because he then went on to have his most competent game in a Russell Vale shirt.
After having such a bright start Kiama were struggling to come to terms with the scoreline and while they were on the ropes, the Cobras added number three. Jarod Tuckwood once again played a slide rule pass (yes….I’m old school) for Zac Winter to leave the defence in his wake and score, 0-3 to Russell Vale. A few minutes later Zac Winter claimed his second hat-trick of the season when Jordy Errington set him up, 0-4. Then it was Jordy Errington’s turn but unfortunately his finish was just off target. Prior to half time Baxter Bowler Prentice nearly added number five but his run and shot could only find the side netting, to leave the score 0-4 at HT.
In the second half Kiama’s defence had learnt their lesson and didn’t play with such a high line, defensively they sat further back in an attempt to prevent the Cobras lightning strikes. Sadly as a football spectacle this also meant they sacrificed their passing game for a route one hoof to the big lad. For a while it worked and the closest Russell Vale came to adding to the score was a superb turn and half volley from 18 yards out by Jordan Errington that skimmed the outside of the post.
Russell Vale maintained their patience and it finally paid off, Jordy Errington was hacked down from behind for a penalty. Up stepped Tommy Heaton and after playing a one–two with the keeper made it 0-5 to the visitors. Kiama’s resolve was now broken and a rapier like thrust from Louis Ready down the left flank resulted in a great finish into the top corner, 0-6. Another move that must have involved at least 8 players started on the right flank but Blair Dunn quickly switched the play to the left for Louis Ready and he was off to the races again. At the final moment of execution Zac Winter nipped in front to steal the chance and score his fourth and Russell Vale’s 7th of the evening. No one was complaining because Zac Winter had deservedly capped an outstanding individual performance. With only a few minutes to go Jordy Errington set up Tommy Heaton again to round the night off with an 0-8 victory.
It’s always easy to mention the goal scorers but as Coach I keep emphasising to the players it’s a team game. As such it’s certainly worth highlighting that Bailey & Christian Baade Mortimer, Blair Dunn, Ethan Larnach, Tom Curran, Baxter Bowler Prentice, Jarod Tuckwood and that Jeckal & Hyde character Jack Donnelly all put a good shift in and played a huge part in this Cobras victory.
Although the formation remains the same each week the players have become very flexible and adapt well to the different roles I ask them to play during the course of the game. As a team they looked very good tonight but individually there is still room for improvement and that’s something we will have to concentrate on at training…………that’s where the real work is done.
One very proud Coach