Saturday, 31 July 2010
Narrabundah FC 1
1 – 0 O.G. 48′
1 – 1 Padrotta 57′
2 – 1 I. Canrunfast 81′
On a day that at times was Antarctic in temperature, the Reds took to the ANU synthetic pitch and put in a dramatically improved showing on recent weeks, pushing 1st place chasing ANU all the way, and were perhaps a little unfortunate not to come away with at least a point.
After a slightly shaky start from the Reds, they settled down nicely managing to put together some nice passages of play at times. ANU were having the better of possession, but with the Reds sitting deep, they were lacking penetration and Ruiz in goals had little to do besides come to claim the odd cross.
Up front for the Reds, Tadic and Dziubinski were swapping in and out of the forward line causing confusion in the students’ ranks and also leading ANU to have difficulty dealing with the quick break as Narrabundah found plenty of space on the breakdown. The best chance for either side fell to the Reds about midway through the half as a Padrotta through ball played Dziubinski clean through on goal. Dziubinski held his nerve and fired low and hard aiming for the back post, but somehow the ANU custodian produced his best Peter Schmichael impression to quickly get down low and with a strong wrist push the shot to a defender who cleared. With little further goal mouth activity in the half, both teams left the field for half time with Narrabundah probably the happier of the teams.
After a positive half time talk, the players re-emerged but Narrabundah found themselves almost immediately behind. The ANU speedster on the right wing who had been fairly quiet all first half, found room to turn and run at the Narrabundah defense. Getting in behind, he managed to get to the by-line and square across goal where Quick managed to get to the ball first but could do nothing but help it into his own goal as the ANU striker bore down behind him.
Disappointed to have given up a goal so quickly after the break, the Reds responded well, pushing on for probably their best period of the match. Despite starting to dominate possession, the Reds were also having trouble breaking down the ANU defense. Exposito came closest to putting the Reds back on level terms when his effort from a free kick right in the corner thumped off the inside of the back post and somehow evaded the onrushing Dziubinski. Soon after that, a rattled ANU defense coughed up an equaliser where for the second week running Padrotta robbed the last man in possession, calmly went past the keeper and slotted the ball.
The game was now on a knife edge as ANU came forward once again but Narrabundah were now handling the threat of the right wing speedster much better and ANU were once again struggling to create openings. With the pace of Dziubinski still causing problems up front, Narrabundah continued to look dangerous on the break, but were failing to really test the keeper with several players opting to pass instead of shooting from promising positions on the edge of the box. By this stage Narrabundah were beginning to tire and began to sit much deeper in defense.
After a spell of pressure, ANU got their winner. A ball cleared up the line by Romero was easily picked off by an ANU midfielder who played it inside to the ANU striker (we’ll call him ‘Beardface’). Beardface set off on a run where he mesmerised several players with his wispy facial hair, evaded several tackles and found himself just inside the box. He managed to part his cheek beard for long enough to see the rightwing speedster honing in on the far post, played a beautifully weighted ball to the back post where it was hammered home. Narrabundah tried to get back in the match, but with tired legs failed to really trouble the ANU defense as they held on for a narrow win.
Plenty of positives to take home for Narrabundah from this match though. Their performance was a vast improvement on recent weeks and they held their own against one of the form teams of the competition. This is also hopefully a start of a revival after a mid-season slump. If Narrabundah can keep improving, they should find themselves in good shape come finals time. A win against Olympic next week will seal their passage and with tough games to come against Woden and Weston Creek, this is a game Narrabundah will not want to lose.