LCWM45 vs Northside Monash 02/08/2008

Northside Monash 3, Lane Cove West 3

2 August 2008, Primrose 3

For the second time this season, we came back from 3-1 down with not long to go to snatch an unlikely 3-3 draw.

 

But the circumstances were very different. Against Kissing Point in May we let an inferior side get away to what looked like their first win of the season. Today we were up against Monash who have lost just twice all season. Man for man you have to say that they were better footballers to us, stringing together many lovely moves (our count of lovely moves: approx zero), but we hung in, despite being two goals down twice. Particularly in the second half, we chased everything (but mostly a losing cause it seemed) and got the reward that our effort, if not our football, deserved.

 

Our opponents included four of our former players. Futhermore, Steve L and I had the foresight, about ten summers ago, to prepare for today by often joining their Sunday afternoon game for a closer look at their talent. And we’ve forgotten not one detail, of course, so we were able to tell our pre-game huddle that Ray and Barry were the main threats. A plan was agreed to deal with them.

 

So it was a bit of a disappointment when Ray scored after 5 minutes.

 

We had had our usual sluggish start, and Monash stroked the ball around with ominous aplomb. Ray got the ball some way out on the our right, found space to move forward, and cracked a shot, that (like the first goal last week) came out of the sun like a Messerschmitt [now that I recall who are opponents were today, perhaps that’s an unfortunate simile. OK: last week’s shot came out of the sun like a Messerschmitt, but today’s like an Israeli MIG]. Anyway, 0-1 was the result in both cases, and a long, hot and unhappy afternoon seemed very possible.

 

This fear was only heightened by the next 20 minutes or so.

 

Next we let Barry have a couple of shots, too (but luckily they flew wide or over). Monash seemed to move the ball away from us effortlessly in their own half, and were elusive in ours.

 

Worse, Brad Shofer then arrived. Now memories of Brad are rather older than of the others: he retired from our team, and from all football, at the tender age of 25 in 1986 (so yes: he is 45). And he was a wonderful player: regularly scoring hat-tricks and more. (This was back in the days when we won promotions in all-age, got to semis, that sort of thing). It was tragic that a knee injury ended his career so young. [Note 1].

 

Brad told me after the game that medical science has moved on in the last 20 years faster than his knee has deteriorated, so surgery has fixed it. This is excellent and welcome news for him, and Monash, no doubt (especially as he’s back to form: scored all 5 in a 5-0 win recently) but it wasn’t exactly what we wanted to see the evidence of at 1.30 today.

 

Sure enough, his arrival on the field gave Monash a further edge up front, and a series of chances for him and them could easily have seen them four or five up and coasting.

 

But we were holding on. Jon B, in particular, at the back was both playing well, and directing and encouraging others.

 

Then Peter had one of his mazy runs [see note 2] that ended with a shot blasted just over. Although this and Eric’s run up the right were our only memorable attacks of the half, and we’d been battered at the other end, it looked like we’d go to the break just the one goal down.

 

But then: disaster again. A Monash cross from their left looked to be covered by either Eric or by Phil in goal. But it was their forward who claimed it, and 0-2 was the result.

 

As last week, Peter had wise words for us at half time (but different words this week: there’s more than one set of words, it turns out): stay in your zone, don’t get pulled away, and push up on that sweeper. Howard added that we all needed to talk and encourage like Jon does. Armed with these simple intentions, we set off for the second half: which we duly won 3-1!

 

Pushing up on the sweeper had almost immediate effect. It meant that I was close on hand to tussle when a cross (James I think) swung over into the area. I missed it, and was puzzled when the ref blew; more so when he pointed at the spot, for a push by the ‘keeper on me. It did occur to me that perhaps I should tell him he was wrong. Had we not been two down against a team that had just brought on their wonder striker perhaps I might have done. And I thought: you don’t want to embarrass the ref in front of all these people; and maybe he saw something that I didn’t feel.

 

So up strode Peter. And if you want a set-piece nailed, there’s no better sight: WALLOP! Low inside the left post, and we’re back to 1-2.

 

But they’re still getting the best of the play; a bit nervy, perhaps, but still no doubt the better side.

 

And what seemed like the inevitable end was signalled fairly soon. Another good Monash move resulted in a low cross from their left which was eventually put in by a forward close to our line. We appealed for off-side and took a little comfort from the fact that the linesman had an arm raised. It was, though, odd that the arm wasn’t the one with a flag attached, and it was raised only to the horizontal: it turned out that he was merely pointing to the location of the defender that he thought had played the forward on. 1-3 was the outcome.

 

Still time to go, but not looking good. But as Ernie said later, it was probably significant that each time they went two goals ahead, we replied pretty quickly.

 

Once again, pushing up on the sweeper did the trick. Our close attentions caused him to handle a bouncing ball just outside the area. Another set-piece to be nailed, and there was Peter again: blasting to the ‘keeper’s right again, but this time from twice the distance. The ‘keeper got a hand to it, but could only help it in: 2-3.

 

Now we’re really getting excited, and they’re getting wobblier at the back. But they’re still a threat: Phil is forced to make an acrobatic save to push a shot over the bar: a vital save, as it turned out.

 

But James and Dave pound away up the right, and finally we’re stringing some moves together. Corners result, and from one Jon B has a free header: firmly downwards, as the textbook would have it, but the ‘keeper grabs the ball, and Jon’s head goes down, too, convinced that the last best chance has gone.

 

But no: a few minutes later, a gap opens in their area, there’s the ball, there’s Jon, the ball’s in the net, and, incredibly, it’s 3-3. (Careful readers will spot that I don’t actually remember much about what happened, including how our sweeper came to be there at all: more details next week when someone tells me).

 

An anxious last few minutes ensued for both sides. Brad almost got away a couple of times, and James and I were telling each other we were going to score (as is only right when mid-fielders and defenders are cashing in).

 

But it was not to be, and 3-3 was the result: a point gained for us, and two lost for them.

 

James and I were third in the MOTM voting, doubtless for second half hectoring. Peter’s two goals (now 10 for the season) got him only second, as Jon won for his defending, encouraging, and the memorable goal that I can’t remember.

 

MARK BRYANT

 

Note 1: But Brad’s less important career continued when his football stopped. For a while he was still working with me and Howard at Arthur Andersen, which was clearly a great learning experience: he then went off and helped form, and then move on from, MYOB, with one consequence, as reported in 2004:

 

 

Chief executive Craig Winkler bought most of the scrip - about $25.6 million worth - from fellow MYOB founder Bradley Shofer, who resigned from the board in the first half of 2004.

 

…and then the next year…

 

 Mr Schofer's interest in MYOB falls from 14.9 per cent to about 8 per cent and it appears his proceeds were in the order of $28 million.

 

So, he can afford his football subs!
 
Note 2: “Mazy run”. Isn’t Google wonderful? I wondered where it came from, and the first Google entry includes:
 
…this is a phrase I probably first heard from Barry Davies of the BBC in January 1978, when Leicester City's Keith Weller, wearing thigh-length white tights as protection from the freezing cold, half ran, half ice-skated half the length of the pitch, slaloming his way one-by-one past what seemed like the entire Norwich City team before slotting home a famous FA Cup goal.
 
'Mazy run' is the standard phrase used to describe the sort of jinking, bobbing-and-weaving, head-down-and-stick-it-through-the-full-back's-legs sort of scamper beloved of tricky wingers since the days of Stanley Matthews and before…
 

That’s it: it exactly describes what Peter does!