Tuesday, 20 July 2010
Narrabundah FC 1
0 – 1 5′
0 – 2 26′
0 – 3 54′
1 – 3 Dziubinski 76′
1 – 4 87′
On a freezing night out at the AIS, the out-of-sorts Reds faced up against a red hot ANU side who promptly gave them a footballing lesson. On a near perfect surface, ANU slickly passed their way through a porous Narrabundah team to finish with a comfortable score line which could have been much larger if not for a combination of terrific keeping from Ruiz and poor finishing from ANU.
And it took very little time for the scoring to start. The fans were still settling into their seats when ANU, after a couple of warning shots, took the lead through some great build up play down the right, which finished by setting up the ANU striker with a shot from the edge of the box. With the time to look up and pick his spot, for the second game running, Ruiz was beaten by a curling shot into the far top corner.
Narrabundah though failed to learn from that and were soon two down to a near replica of the first goal. Build up play down the right set up a ANU midfielder with time for a shot on the edge of the box, this time the ball was coolly chipped over Ruiz’s head and into the net. Narrabundah were looking completely out of their league as ANU continued to keep possession stroking the ball around nicely whilst Narrabundah seemed in an increasing hurry to give the ball back to their opponents as simple ball control and short range passes consistently went astray despite the luxurious surface. Without having fired a shot in anger, Narrabundah somehow made it to the break only 2-0 down.
After a deep and meaningful half time chat in which the Reds discussed at least trying to put some pride back into the performance, the players re-emerged but it was soon normal service resumed as ANU continued to make the running. And they soon had their third.
This time a break down the left saw a ball crossed into the box where the Narrabundah defence failed to get a clean head on the ball. The ball ended up being deflected almost straight up and dropping around the penalty spot. Despite the considerable air time, the ball was allowed to drop where the ANU midfielder had set him self up for a volley. His first effort was a complete air swing, but such was the time afforded the ANU man by the charitable Reds defense, he was still able to bring the bouncing ball under control on the second attempt, and play in another ANU player on the edge of the 6 yard box who spared his mans blushes and finished.
This lead to a period of about 15 minutes where Narrabundah attempted to push on to get back in the match, but were serving only to leave themselves open to a counter attack which ruthlessly exposed the Reds defense time and again. How ANU didn’t put away 3 more goals in this period is a question that will pondered for years to come. To their credit, Narrabundah did seem to lift at that point and actually re-discovered their ability to play and control simple passes. Despite not really threatening the ANU defense, they became more secure in possession and were not looking like conceding every time ANU came forward.
As reward for this period of looking like a team from at least the same division as their ANU counterparts, Narrabundah were gifted a goal when after a scramble in the box, Dziubinski hit a shot goalwards which looked to have been cleared off the line, but was adjudged to have crossed it. ANU, perhaps a little stung at having conceded in a game in which they had looked supremely comfortable, came forward with renewed vigour and after some goal keeping heroics from Ruiz, including a spectacular double save, restored their three goal advantage with perhaps their hardest chance of the game, when the striker who opened the scoring hit a hopeful shot on the turn (and with his eyes closed) from the edge of the 18 yard box which flew top corner.
A chastening experience for the Reds as they were shown the extent of the task in front of them if they are to secure anything from this season. The extent of the victory can be slightly mitigated by the fact that ANU had a significant contingent from their Division 1 side lining up for them, but the disappointment from the Reds perspective will not be in the fluency of their rivals, but in their own spectacular failure to utilise the perfect pitch and space afforded to them. A long road ahead for the Reds but they can take some comfort from the fact that when you are at the bottom (figuratively speaking, not literally, the team are still comfortably in 4th position on the table), there is only one way to go.