Saturday, 23 May 2009

Narrabundah FC 0

23′, 56′, 57′, 65′

Another week, another heavy defeat for Romero’s chargers for whom the heady days of the opening weeks of the season must now seem a distant memory. In truth, once again the score line didn’t do credit to a Narrabundah team who fought hard and were never really outplayed, but ultimately were given a lesson in clinical finishing by an ‘experienced’ ANU side.

The match started well for Narrabundah and from the off their hard running and tackling seemed to unsettle their older counterparts as ANU turned over possession cheaply and rarely troubled Narrabundah at the back. New recruit Aaron Perryman was winning everything in the air and slotted in very comfortably next to Will ‘dreadlocks make me faster’ Coulter who cleaned up anything on the ground, mostly opposition legs.

At the other end, Josh ‘I am why they invented shin pads’ Harvie and Renato ‘achoo’ Gonzalez were also causing plenty of problems up front with their willingness to shut down the ANU backline and indeed Harvie forced an opportunity early on. After another turnover, a quick ball was played through to Harvie in behind the last man. As he streaked away, the ANU keeper came out quickly to narrow the angle and, in the end, saved comfortably.

Then, against the run of play, ANU had the lead. A throw in at the back for Narrabundah was given away cheaply and a quick ball caught the backline napping and with literally their first shot of the game, ANU were in front. This seemed to set Narrabundah back and they lost the initiative going forward as Assistant Manager Romero attempted to freshen things up with some substitutions.

Despite being lessened as an attacking force, Narrabundah were still looking reasonably comfortable, although Pena was called into action several times. None of Pena’s interventions were more important than when he got down quickly to push away a blistering free kick late in the half before recovering quickly to pressure the ANU striker following up to put his effort against the post. Thankfully for the Narrabundah players as well as the complete berk running the line on the far side, the half time whistle was not long in coming.

As the players emerged from half time with Romero’s words still ringing in their ears, ANU picked up where they left off and continued to have the better of the match and after another cheap turnover in midfield, quick ball in behind and clinical finish Narrabundah found themselves 2-0. The fans would not have to wait long for the game-sealing goal as immediately off the restart, possession was conceded again, the formula repeated and from 1-0 and well in the match, in under a minute Narrabundah found themselves 3-0 and on their way to another one sided score line.

After another unfortunate goal conceded when a pinball style through ball found its way past the Narrabundah defense to the ANU striker, Narrabundah, seemingly freed from the shackles of expectation finally started to really put ANU under pressure. With nothing to lose, some crunching tackles were flying in and with Harvie restored up front, the ANU backline was starting to feel the heat. For the remaining half an hour, Narrabundah camped in the ANU half and forced several turnovers in good positions and missed several guilt edged chances when first Dziubinski twice shot weakly when in good positions and then Ellis saw a through ball take a wicked bounce off a line when played through clear on goal. A couple of dangerous corners were also whistled in with one effort scrambled off the line. The closest they got though was through Romero. After a short corner, a quick one-two on the edge of the box with Muller saw Romero with the ball just inside the 18. He let fly with a blistering shot but unfortunately saw his effort rocket off the junction of crossbar and post to safety. One shot that summed up Narrabundah’s day in effect – good, but not good enough.

So in the end, another improved display from Narrabundah, but they were ultimately undone by a clinical and experienced ANU side. Plenty of positives for manager Romero to take out of the match with new signings Walker, Perryman and Paulo Romero all looking very good prospects, but time will be needed to integrate them into the team. With a resurgent Juve looming large this weekend, Narrabundah will need to pick themselves up quickly for what is sure to be a feisty match.