Saturday, 3 July 2010

Brindabella Blues  1

Narrabundah FC 0

1 – 0  28′ C. Learlyoffside

It was a surprisingly warm and wind free day at the usually windswept, desolate Calwell playing fields as an injury ravaged Narrabundah side took to the field, shorn of 6 players through injury or other commitments, with 2 more hoping they could avoid being called into action.

Those hopes were dashed within 5 minutes as Narrabundah lurched about the pitch, failing to even put a pass together as a hard running Brindabella outfit made a mockery of Narrabundah’s position on the ladder, 11 points clear of their rivals on the day with a game in hand.

And it was no surprise when Brindabella did take the lead. A hopeful ball was swung in from the right hand side towards the edge of the 18 yard box, the Narrabundah defense missing the clearance completely as a Brindabella midfielder managed to bring down the ball in between two defenders and burst clear into the box. He fired a fizzing shot low across Ruiz who managed to palm the ball across the face of goal where another ‘not offside’ Brindabella player was practically standing on the goal line to tap it in. Brindabella had their lead, and even though not technically ‘legal’, was probably fair reward on the balance of play to that point.

With the emergency subs called into action, Narrabundah immediately improved and began what would later be referred to as the Siege of South Tuggeranong. Despite Narrabundah never reproducing the kind of form that beat Woden last week, they began creating a myriad of chances which either through poor finishing or excellent goal keeping somehow failed to find the back of the net.

A half time break provided brief respite for Brindabella as Narrabundah attempted to up the ante in the second half. Once again Narrabundah, far from their fluid best, still managed to open up the Brindabella defense regularly but were lacking that final ball as passes went astray and first touches deserted the Reds. Narrabundah were now effectively camped in the opposition half but with a patched up line up, couldn’t find the rhythm that usually serves them so well.

The best chance of the game arriving 15 minutes from time when Padrotta was played through 1 on 1 with the goal keeper, only to see the Blues’ custodian pull off a flying save and push Padrotta’s effort past the far post, which was literally the only safe place as two other Red’s players bore down on goal. The reaction of the Blues’ players at the final whistle said it all. They had held on and just perhaps had given themselves a glimmer of hope of making the top 4.

Narrabundah on the other hand will need to regroup. In light of the result, it is easy to be overly pessimistic of Narrabundah’s performance on the day. On a different day the score could have been 4 or 5 nil. In truth though, despite the missed chances, a convincing result would have papered over the cracks that have been appearing for some time now. Now there can be no denying that the Reds need to lift their game. And they won’t have to wait long for a test of their mettle as they have to front up to the run away league leaders Weston Creek next week. With several players still expected to be out, this could be a season defining test for this young(ish) Narrabundah side.