Saturday, 25 April 2009

Narrabundah FC 2
Quiroga 34′ (pen), D. Park 83′

Brindabella Blues 1
A. Luckiprik 76′

Narrabundah came into this match missing several key players due to injuries and suspension picked up on international duty but were still able to come through with a result against a hard working Brindabella team that never gave up the fight.

As the players took the took the field on a wintery day in Narrabundah, it was an unfamiliar looking Narrabundah team that kicked off missing 7 players, and in contrast to the previous couple of matches looked bright from the opening, knocking the ball around well.

The Brindabella side they were facing also bore little resemblance to the team comfortably beaten in a preseason friendly a couple of weeks back with only 3 players making the squad for this match, and they seemed determined to leave an impression as some industrial strength tackles flew in early setting a frantic pace to the match. Chances were few and far between early on with perhaps the best chance falling to Brindabella after a rushed clearance from Narradundah goalkeeper Oscar Pena allowed an effort on an empty goal from 40m. The effort flew wide and Brindabella were made to pay for their wastefulness when Adrian Russell broke down the left and cut back a cross which was handballed by the sliding Brindabella defence. Quiroga stepped up to the spot and finished comfortably sending the keeper the wrong way. Narrabundah were up 1-0.

Unlike in previous weeks though, the goal didn’t seem to settle Narrabundah and they continued to look vulnerable on occasion, with only last ditch tackles and good fortune keeping the determined if somewhat limited Brindabella attack at bay. Narrabundah did continue to create chances as well though with the hardworking Josh ‘shinpads won’t save you’ Harvie combining well with Danny Park on a couple of occasions for shots on goal from close range. Unfortunately the young stars’ efforts went unrewarded and in a cruel twist, he suffered a re-occurance of an injury that has kept him out of action for several weeks already. As the half time whistle blew, the team trudged off through an antarctic wind, which served as a timely reminder that the opening of the new change rooms cannot come soon enough.

Emerging for the second half, Brindablla continued to press and were unfortunate not to be rewarded for their endeavour when former Narrabundah cast-off Todd Holcombe, who had been threatening all afternoon, received a ball on the side of the area, beat three players and looked to finish the move from a narrow angle. Unluckily for the winger he was unable to pick out anyone with his low cross and the ball was eventually cleared.

Narrabundah soon grew into the half though and starting creating chances of their own. The pace of Scott ‘slip and slide’ Dzuibinski was causing troubles for the Brindabella defense and after another rash challenge in midfield, a quick Will ‘the gentle butcher’ Coulter free-kick set Dzuibinski through on goal. Unfortunately for the large partisan crowd who had braved the cold, he was only able to volley wide what would have been a well worked goal.

Another occasion saw the hard working Danny Park play Dzuibinski through after a failed attempt at an offside trap, but unfortunately, he was only able to shoot wide. Then as Narrabundah seemed to be growing comfortable Brindabella struck. A rare Brindabella foray saw a cross drilled in from the right. It looked to be a comfortable catch for Pena in goals, but a sudden blast of snow and ice froze Pena’s eyelids shut and took the ball through his hands to the grateful Brindabella striker behind. A cruel twist of fate and weather and a life line for the team in blue.

This goal however did seem to spur Narrabundah into action and it was not long after they managed to restore their lead. Quiroga picked up the ball in midfield before going on a Messi-esque slalom through the Brindabella defense and laying the ball off to Danny Park, who showed all his experience to slot past the Brindabella keeper from the edge of the box. Brindabella did push for a second equalizer, but a determined Narrabundah defense was never likely to give away two leads in one match and held out comfortably.

Despite the result, the match should serve as a wake-up call for Narrabundah who, after a preseason of comfortable victories, have been pushed out of their comfort zone in both their matches so far this season. It will also cause concern that the side that caused them so many problems today were comfortably beaten 5-1 in round one by what looks to be the form team of the comp, Canberra FC. It would seem far tougher challenges lay ahead.