Saturday, 4 April 2009

Narrabundah FC 4
Ellis 17′, Muller 28′ (pen), Quiroga 66′ and 73′

Brindabella Blues 0

In unseasonably warm Autumn weather, Narrabundah entertained Brindabella Blues at home in a match that largely went to plan for a Narrabundah side high on confidence.

Drawn by the hype surrounding the match, the fans packed the balconies of the nearby apartments for this crucial encounter. With calls of “put in a curly one” and “you’re going the wrong way!” reverberating around the ground, the players kicked off in an electric atmosphere the likes of which only members at El Molinón in Gijon are treated to on a regular basis.

Despite the presence of the fans, the early pace of the match was set by the excitable Brindabella team who came out full of running. Although several dangerous balls were played through the defense, Narrabundah keeper Jarrod “JR” Ross was only occasionally called upon to sweep up the odd over hit pass. As the half progressed, Narrabundah came more and more into the match, and it was as of a result of their first real spell of possession that they capitalised. It was a sweeping passing move that started at left back and finished with Remy Ellis being played through on the right hand side of the box. Once inside the box, there was never any doubt as the player dubbed by his team mates ‘the pretty Ribery’ made no mistake slamming the ball inside the near post and past the stranded Brindabella keeper. Champagne corks were popping everywhere. 1-0 and Narrabundah were on their way.

Narrabundah continued to dominate the play after the goal and they created numerous openings, all of which were only lacking the final ball. On several occasions Brindabella were indebted to their keeper as he was called upon to snuff out chances as Narrabundah’s mobile forwards burst through. Eventually though, the ball found its way to Muller who beat his man in the box and was eventually felled by an industrial strength challenge from a tired Brindabella defender. He dusted himself off and slotted the ball home from the penalty spot. Narrabundah cruising as the half time whistle blew. 

The second half began much as the first half had, with Narrabundah under pressure. Brindabella to their credit were making a match of it and Narrabundah seemed unable to put their foot on the ball. It was in this early initial spell, a ball was chipped forward and with a small flick-on caught the outstretched hand of the scrambling Narrabundah defence. The referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty and a lifeline to Brindabella. Brindabella will have felt it was just rewards for their early domination, but as is so often shown, football can be a cruel game. The penalty taker strode up and hit a well struck shot to the keepers right, but they were thwarted by a great save from JR in goals.

Narrabundah seemingly stirred into action by this close encounter once again came back into the game creating several chances once again. However it was the hardworking Todoroski at left back that would prove to make the difference. Making a dashing run down the left sideline, he swung in a dangerous cross which found Quick wide open in front of goals. An unfortunate bounce took it off his foot but with his miskick managed to slice it over the onrushing defender, a few more bounces and some comical defending left Jose Quiroga with the ball at his feet and he finally put the game beyond doubt, bulging the old onion bag from close range.

From that point on Narrabundah continued to boss the game, seemingly creating chances at will, denied only by desperate last ditch defending on several occasions. It was off a blocked shot that Paolo Romero found himself with the bouncing ball on the edge of the box. With time to compose himself, he managed to play the ball through to Quiroga who hammered the ball home from 6 yards. A well taken brace for the Narrabundah veteran. And it did not stop there for Narrabundah.

As more chances presented themselves, it seemed that the dusty pitch and misfortune would combine to rob Narrabundah of a bigger score line. Another ball was played through to Quick who cut inside and was again felled by another rash challenge in the box. Another penalty, but unfortunately for Quick, another excellent save. As the players tired in the conditions, the pace slowed but Narrabundah continued to look dangerous with early balls forward. In the dying seconds, it was on such a ball that Russell, who had been a ball of energy all day, streaked through. With the Brindabella keeper practically playing on the edge of his 18 yards box in an attempt to negate the danger, both players attacked the ball with a ferocity that belied the 4-0 score line. As the players collided in a cloud of dust, it was Russell who was left in a tangled heap on the ground. Before either side could make a case for a free-kick, the final whistle had blown. Hands were shook, hip hip hoorays were chanted and players chatted amicably.

In the end it was a good hit out for both sides and there is plenty to be taken away by the respective managers. Brindabella will be concerned that they were unable to breakdown a tough Narrabundah defence, even on a relatively poor day. Narrabundah on the other hand will be looking to be more assertive in their play, not allowing teams a chance to dominate the way Brindabella did.