LCWM45 vs Mount Colah 14/06/2008

Mount Colah 3, Lane Cove West 1

14 June 2008, Queen Elizabeth

A forgettable game. If we’re lucky. Played nowhere near our best and let a mediocre side (one win all season) look good.

 

I said last game that when we win, it’s usually because we score early, settle down, play good football, create lots of chances, blow too many of them, but nonetheless gradually accumulate goals.

 

Today started that way. Distracted by the two-week layoff, a new venue and a noon kick-off, we began hesitantly – passes astray, tackles missed. But there was acres of space up front, their defence looked wobbly, and sure enough, pretty soon came the settling goal.

 

And Tim almost scored it: almost his very first goal for the club, in this his 20th season! A goalmouth melee brought the ball to his feet, in the area. (And what was he doing there?!) But the firm shot was blocked, and bounced around a bit more till Peter planted it in the net: 1-0 and settled, and away we go. Create lots of chances, miss a lot, score a few – 5-0 or 6-0, here we come.

 

But no. In retrospect, the vital failure was to score, as Graham Taylor so memorably put it, “what we call the second goal”. When you think about it carefully, no-one has ever won 5-0 or 6-0 without it.

 

We came close: most notably when I pulled the ball back from the goal line to James, in space in front of the goal. But it was a difficult height and he hooked it wide.

 

 As the half went on, something else was going on besides us not scoring: Mount Colah were getting good. Their forwards were finding space, their midfield was winning lots of ball, the gaps in their defence closed up. They got a series of corners.

 

They almost scored when Dave blasted an attempted clearance straight at our goal.  The circumstance probably distracted us from noticing that it took a really good save from Tony to turn it away for a corner

 

So it wasn’t really a surprise when they scored, right on halftime. Poor marking (by me, I regret) let a forward control the cross from a corner. He pushed it across the area where a lone colleague stabbed it in. Lone enough to make us hope for offside, but Eric confirms that he played him on, so 1-1 it was.

 

This, and the chance for a halt-time regroup, should have stirred us into action. But we continued flat, and the gloom deepened when they scored again just after halftime. Again I regret that I may have distracted us by debating with our opponents why they hadn’t provided a linesman, when our injured Phil was struggling to keep up with the last defender. Whilst this was going on, they took a corner, and it was very smartly flicked in at the near post:1-2.

 

Eric later confessed that he thought at this point that we were going to lose, and I fear that most of us did. Not that we gave up trying, but nothing seemed to click. They now looked the more assured and skillful side, and although the bumps and sticky patches on the field were there for both sides, somehow it seemed to be us who fell foul of them.

 

Then Steve B got booked for clipping the heels of an onrushing attacker (who might well have been clear on goal otherwise). And I drew blood by elbowing a defender in the face (quite unintentionally, though he wouldn’t accept this, even after the game).

 

Dave had another spirited attempt at blasting an own-goal, but this time was off-target.

 

The only surprise about their third goal was how it came, rather than that it came at all. A goal kick went straight to a forward in front of goal who happily slammed it in: 1-3.

 

18 minutes to go: almost exactly the time we went 1-3 down against Kissing point, before recovering for a dramatic draw. And today we soldiered on too, but again: the second goal syndrome – if you’re 3-1 down, you can’t get a draw without it!

 

And we came so close. Peter crashed a shot against the bar, and the rebound almost fell for us. Howard had a great shot that flew across the face of the goal. Dave and James floated crosses over. Jon B had a good effort on goal. But the defence held firm, and the whole of the Mt Colah team was now brimming with the joy and determination of being on the point of winning a game against the odds. The clock ran down, and so did our spirits.

 

We couldn’t argue with the result, but such was our disappointment at the end that no-one had the will to arrange the man-of-the-match voting when Ernie had to leave. There was a move, though, to give the points to John S for refereeing, and to Scott for running the line (after starting the game as ref). Theirs were certainly more ept performances than most of ours.

 

Thanks again to Phil for organizing the subs.

 

We slip a place to fourth. As Monash only drew, had we won we would have been just two points behind Clarke Road who are again top. But we didn’t, and we’re not.

 

Eric and I got some perspective on our disappointment on the way home, however: we spoke to a Northbridge A player who told us that their game was abandoned after Andy Mackie, the St Ives full-back (the one who has played in every one of KDSA’s 51 years), had a heart attack on the field. We now know that if this is going to happen, Northbridge A are the opponents of choice: they have a leading cardiologist, as well as a GP in their team. They kept Andy alive for the 20 minutes before the ambulance arrived, and a by-pass operation now seems to have fixed him up.

 

Makes you think. I’ve often told my wife that dying on the football field is my aim, but age 105 is what I have in mind (so if it happens before, feel free to revive me!)

 

MARK BRYANT