BMFC O35.1W: 2
Blue Mountains O35.1B: 6
BMFC Goal Scorers: Own Goal, Skinner
Player of the Match: Football
Match Report: Every so often the football gods dish up the most succulent of dishes for the ever hungry public, a dream fixture that has any broadcaster drooling puddles enough to drown a horse – this Sunday saw one of these treats.
It was semi final time, time to step up and take the glory, time to make all those kms from pre season worth it, time to use up one more tube of deep heat.
It was time for the Battle of the Blueys. The Underdogs vs the favourites, the People’s Champions vs the runners up, the Mighty Ducks vs the Russians, Rocky Balboa vs Apollo Creed, David vs Goliath, Blue Mountains White vs blacks. Winner takes all.
Due to the important nature of the fixture and the expected crowd size, the powers that be made the call to move all other fixtures away from the home of football to allow extra room for stadium expansion, it was going to be a sellout. The extra police on duty for the expected crowd trouble weren’t needed as the white cloaked fanatics were on their best behaviour on the march from the Lappo down to Knapsack “When the Whites, go marching on”.
After the first test of the series didn’t go the Whites way last weekend, Dre called for the heavy rollers to be used all week to remove all possible traces of moisture from the pitch to help favour the Whites pace attack. The curators obliged and we were presented with the beginnings to the first runway for Sydney’s new second airport.
Add 2 tins plum tomatoes, the finely chopped leaves from ¾ small pack basil, 1 tsp dried oregano, 2 bay leaves, 2 tbsp tomato purée, 1 beef stock cube, 1 deseeded and finely chopped red chilli (if using), 125ml red wine and 6 halved cherry tomatoes. Stir with a wooden spoon, breaking up the plum tomatoes.
The players were met by a wall of noise as they entered the field of play from the tunnel, not because any of the fans truly loved any of them, more so they were cheering the fact that so many of them had made it to the end of the season and were still able to walk. It really is a testament to the fine specimens of the over 35’s that these supreme athletes, nah Adonis’, were still standing after such a long and intense season.
The game started like a Fast and the Furious movie, full of amazing end to end action, some quick witted dialogue, some beautiful looking characters and some villains. This was definitely going to be a game full of goals, it was only a matter of time.
Blacks scored a couple of tap ins.
The game started to simmer like your Nonna’s secret bolognese sauce, tackles were flying in and somehow the intensity lifted again.
With their backs against the wall and their season on the line, the mighty Whites needed to find a way back into the game before halftime, and find a way they did. After some inspirational play in midfield the ball was played through into the box and the defenders knew what to do from there, slotting straight past the helpless keeper. It was back to 2-1, but they weren’t done yet.
With the seconds ticking down, a beautiful ball was played across the park that had the defenders cloud watching and before it was too late the keeper was in no mans land. Rumour has it that the striker could be heard giggling like a school girl as everything fell into place and he calmly lobbed the keeper. The crowd lost their collective heads as the halftime whistle was blown and the score was 2-2.
The moods in the two dressing rooms at halftime couldn’t have been more chalk and cheese. The Whites were full of positivity and at no moment during the season had more bottoms been tapped. Whether from shock from the comeback or fear of the inevitable, some of the blacks wouldn’t return after halftime.
The second half passed without much fanfare apart from a certain defender getting more lost than Tom Hanks in the movie Cast Away, getting tackled by the ball twice, looking for a free kick from it, then almost being yellow carded for defacing the field of play when his shot took out the corner flag, good times.
BMFC O35.1W: 1
BMFC O35.1B: 3
BMFC Goal Scorers: Skinner
Player of the Match: Fate
Match Report: Ah, the drama of last match day! All games today being played at the ungodly hour of 9am, with the heroic O35 Whites sitting 3rd, but a loss and other results could see us 5th and bundled out of the Finals.
And what a more dramatic way than to play in the 2nd leg of the Old Man Bragging Rights Cup (or ‘El Geriatrico’ as the locals and pundits alike now call it) against our evil step-brothers, the BMFC O35 Blacks, currently leading the series by 1.
The team bus arrived covered in snow due to the polar storm/antarctic blast/sharknado, whatever you want to call it, but with all seats filled spirits were high, even Macca decided to turn up 20 minutes early which was a welcome change, but we lost Rusty late again as he is seemingly allergic to pre-midday kick offs.
The question on everyone’s lips – was the weather a sign that it would be a White Winter or would it suit the Blacks cold dead hearts?
An early pitch inspection and Ian Chappell’s key could hardly penetrate the surface – there would be plenty of Knapsack bounce and swing, and after winning the toss the Blacks elected to bowl from the Paddington end.
A real arm-wrestle as always is the case in these games, with our pre-game strategy of ‘marking,’ ‘passing,’ ‘defending’ and ‘attacking’ really paying off, the ball firmly planted down their end of the pitch. Andre also realising after his 4th corner attempt in a row that the ball needs to be at least directed at a teammate and somewhat off the ground – things were looking up.
Blacks scored on a counter.
We continued to apply the pressure with our sub rotation and supreme fitness earned from that 1 training session 3 months ago we all showed up to really coming to the fore. Skinner, Felts, Andy and Anth defending from the front and JB (Thor’s stud marks now barely visible on his face), Macca, Dirty and Crussel mopping up at the back.
Blacks scored on a counter.
Halftime and Dre elected to move us away from the ladies toilet block for his speech this week so as to avoid the Blacks in their change room and due to complaints from previous weeks. “More of the same,” was this weeks instructions.
Second half and we picked up where we left off, creating plenty of chances, but just missing the target or getting denied by post and crossbar (yes, another cultured lob by Dre hitting woodwork and yes we will be hearing about it for a while).
Our midfield rotation of Ads, Rod, Marty and Ghost were pushing hard on transitions and their industrious work soon paid off, Ads sneaking in from the blindside to pick Archie’s pocket then slotting Skinner through with his weaker right foot, Skinner overcoming Stage 5 man-flu and fear of coughing up not only a lung but also another team fine for missing a 1-on-1, calmly finding the back of the net. 2-1, game on!
Blacks scored on a counter.
With time running out and no word as yet from the ground announcer over the loudspeaker as to the results of the other matches, our intensity lifted to levels higher than any other moment in our season – so, roughly 7 out of 10. Ads had his tail up and found the ball sitting up nicely on his favoured left hoof at the top of the box, but strategically elected to find touch instead, under the guise of a half-volley shot, his brilliance not unnoticed by teammates and opposition alike.
Dre decided to lead by example soon after, sliding in a little Gascoigne-esque on Zap and what followed can only best be described in canine terms: Zap had a bark and a nip at Dre; Dre submitted and rolled on his back with his paws in the air to let Zap know he would not bite back; Anth saw his pack-mate in a compromising position, so had a bark and a nip back at Zap; Zap’s attention was now on Anth, so Dre crept away with his tail between his legs … luckily the ref was on hand with a few Schmacko’s, and after a few pats on the head we were all let off our leash for the rest of the day.
3-1 final score and still no word from the ground announcer, which was frustrating as we really needed to know whether to start Mad Monday now or not…. then the Whites section of the grandstand erupted upon news the unthinkable had occurred – 4th and 5th place had also lost.
Tickets then proceeded to sell-out immediately for an all Blueys semi final next week – El Geriatrico III – while club owners knew a Blueys team guaranteed a spot in the grand final would surely hurry along the new carpark and grandstand.
BMFC 12.1: 6
Emu Plains FC: 3
BMFC Goal Scorers: Josh x 1, Louis x 2, Jacob x 2, Tom x 1
Player of the Match: Josh
Match Report: The first round of three in the semi finals and we were lucky enough to be at Knapsack vs Emu Plains. The opposition struck early from an unlucky penalty to take the lead 1-0. At the 11th minute the Blues were awarded a penalty on the spot with Josh pushing it past the keeper to level the score 1-1.
One minute later, a through ball finds Louis with incredible pace to outrun the defenders, the goalie gets wrong footed inside the 18-yard box and bang 2-1. At the twenty-two minute mark the run was identical, shouts of offside were ignored by the ref as the run started from our half. Louis again out paces the defenders and deals with the goalie 3-1.
Half time and the message is to remain calm, our passing, skill and patience can be the difference. Through balls, solid passes and teamwork is what got us to half time and needs to continue. Two minutes in and Jacob takes a long run down the right side supported in the centre by Zac and Tom. Jacob takes the shot at a tight angle that gets chipped over the keepers fingers to start the second half 4-1. The eight minute mark the goalathon continues with Emu Plains nailing one off the post to come back 4-2.
Emu Plains are on the march with our boys doing some back-pedalling and being done for pace. Emu made a great run straight through our defence and it was one-on-one, Jackson decided as goalie it was up to him to close the angle. The attacker didn’t expect Jacob’s sheer pace and he closed down the opportunity. A few minutes later Jacob again takes control with another run down the sideline. He heads towards the centre and unleashes his boot for a 5-2 lead. Matthew has been incredible in muscling up at left back, not much got through with him toiling against the attack. Sam, Bodhi, Bailey & Aiden held the back and midfield well with good vision on the play and pushing the ball into gaps that lead to opportunities for our boys up front.
Nine minutes to go and Jacob gets taken down in the box for a penalty on the spot. Jackson runs full length of the field wanting the kick but Tom self appoints to deal with it. 6-2 with cartwheels back to halfway from TC, he will hurt himself one day that boy!
Seven minutes to go and Emu take a corner with a deflection to finish at 6-3. What a great game! Our boys were one of only two teams that had a win in the first week of semis, should be a fun final series with all boys enjoying the experience.
BMFC O35.1W: 5
Springwood United FC: 2
BMFC Goal Scorers: Ads, Felts, Crussell, Skinner x 2
Player of the Match: Slash
Match Report: After the heroic 10 man win last week in the windiest conditions recorded in the mountains, Blueys returned to action with the news that the bookies had significantly slashed their odds of winning the title.
Dre’s decision to make training optional this week worked wonders as there was a near full roster of “fit” players available for the game against Springwood. Macca continued his policy of turning up so fashionably late that no one actually notices his arrival.
There was standing room only come kick off, as all 9 camping chairs were full. The game started as most 9am kick offs do, with both teams slowly testing each other out while they waited for the dencorub to kick in.
After a flurry of chances at either end it was Blueys who opened the scoring. Ghost released Skinner down the wing, he was able to dink a tidy cross to the back post and it was met by the man who normally doesn’t like eating from silver platters, Ads, to nod home.
Blueys took the lead again after they were awarded a free kick 25 yards out. Digger decided to change the match ball for a peach and dropped it in on the far post. Despite the cold, Marty was able to find an extra couple of inches and won the header to send it crashing into the post and just like the seagulls circling the white cliffs of Dover, there was Felts to pick up the scraps and put the ball away.
Halftime was a heated affair, with Blueys looking for answers from a well below par first half, the weight of the lowered bookies odds perhaps playing on their minds. Things were said, bums were patted and minds focused.
The second half started with much more intensity than the first. The backline rotation of Macca, JB, Crussell, Dre, Andy and G was working a treat and what little chances they allowed, Steve Buffon was easily dealing with.
Blueys superior fitness was starting to show with the combinations of Rod, Ghost, Marty, Digger, Rusty and Ads in midfield starting to take a stranglehold of possession and field position.
The deadlock was broken mid way through the first half when some strong midfield play from Rod and Rusty provided an opportunistic through ball, one that a goal scorer in the form Skinner is in was not going to let slip. Channeling Dre, he cooly lobbed the keeper, 3-2 Blueys.
Springwood were on the ropes now, and in a rare venture forward, and it’s rare not because he isn’t allowed, but because he isn’t fit enough to get back, Crussell made it 4-2 with his best Lionel Richie impression with a “Once, Twice, Three times a lady” finish. The Springwood keeper clearly wanting to help Crussell get off the nudie run, and for that we thank him.
The game was put to bed soon after when G, or maybe Felts, well one of the Mollydookers anyway, put Skinner and Digger into a 2 on 1. As hard as Skinner tried to butcher another chance, Digger was able to find him in space and he made it 5-2.
The win further cementing the Bluey Whites position in the top 4 and many pundits believe that as long as they don’t lose too many players to bigger teams before the transfer window closes they will be the team that no one will want to play come semi final time.
BMFC O35.1W: 3
Hazelbrook FC: 2
BMFC Goal Scorers: Dre, Felts, Skinner
Player of the Match: The woodwork
Match Report: The dreaded mid-winter fixture at Hazo saw the team snowmobile arrive to sub-zero conditions, a howling gale and an empty stadium, the fans still refusing to travel in protest of our last 2 losses.
Last minute withdrawals of Marty and GK Steve meant we had to call upon the still somewhat injured emergency reserves of Andre, Crussel and Ads, the latter being handed the gloves and long Grobbelaar pants, which were warmly received as snow surely wasn’t far from falling, and as apparently he once was a keeper, despite his insistence this was never the case.
Dre tried to work out the best formation, and then called upon some assistance as either his math was wrong or 4-4-1 somehow involves 11 players – the combined intellect of the leadership group confirming there was indeed only 10 men to take the park. Dre then did what any captain-coach worth his salt would do and nominated himself lone striker and therefore avoid any of the heavy lifting that would be required.
A very even start to the game ensued despite Hazo outnumbering us, Ghost a welcome addition back at centre mid after what seemed to be 3 months on the sideline with a grade 2 sprained pinky. He soon reminded the punters why transfer records were broken for his signature, putting a gem of a ball through for Dre, and after what was arguably the slowest chase of a through-ball ever between centre back and striker, Dre somehow got there first and calmly side footed past the keeper.
1 nil halftime, and screenplay rights for ‘Ocean’s 10’ already being negotiated.
Second half and our backline of JB, Crussel, Macca and G continued to absorb the pressure and looking to counter. Some nice work from Skinner putting Felts through who showed some actual speed beating fullback and oncoming keeper to slot it through. 2 nil up and could have been 3 not long after, Felts finding himself in similar position, but with far too much time and no one marking him he was never going to score.
Hazo managed to get on the sheet and felt the wind at their backs (literally), pouring the pressure on, until G made a strong run from the back, igniting some great interplay and finishing with Skinner back-heeling the cross into the back of the net in true show=pony style, and celebrating thusly.
We failed to deal with a bit of a messy corner and Hazo headed in to close our lead to just 1 goal, but a big final effort from the 10 blueys, and a couple of nice saves from our goalposts ensured the miracle complete.
“Ocean’s 10 – the game that defined a season” in cinemas soon.
BMFC O35.1B: 1
Baulkham Hills FC: 1
BMFC Goal Scorers: Mark Sem
Player of the Match: Zap
Match Report: State Cup 1/4 Final v Baulkham Hills
We arrived early at the HQ of Football NSW. Like FA Cup finalists at Wembley we all walked onto the playing surface pre-game for a pitch inspection. Imagine our horror when we realised it was an artificial surface and after a few passes saw that the ball ran true – no Knapsack bounce! The usual excuse for an error had been taken away
With 17 available for selection someone had to take a bullet for the team and yours truly found himself in the firing line. After negotiating with The Gaffer for 90 minutes as centre forward for the next 3 games a deal was struck and I put all my efforts into getting the team sheet written out correctly – that might sound easy to those non-Managers out there. It’s not
The changing room was bigger than my lounge and The Gaffer found that his usual piece of cardboard used to show the starting line up and formation was obsolete with a large white board on the wall
The game underway and not too much to report until about 10 minutes in. A long corner nodded in at the back post and we were 1-0 down. Baulkham Hills got on top for the next 15 or so but the defence of Brad, Tolly, Paul, Greenie & when introduced Pom were excellent and when they were beaten Zap was on hand to make a brilliant save or two. Chicken was introduced into the centre of midfield and added real bite and the tide turned. An early ball out of midfield from Captain Marvel got Mark Sem away – coolly firing past the oncoming keeper. 1 all
The second half and we suffered a few injuries. Captain Marvel went down taking a short free kick, his knee giving way. Chicken’s knee couldn’t handle the hard surface any longer. Dave was introduced and provided an entertaining 10 minutes for the crowd – 2 yellow cards and a penalty! Zap brilliantly saved the penalty to keep it level. We won a free kick on the edge of the box with time running and JB curled it over the wall, the keeper doing just enough to turn it away for a corner
Extra time and the 10 boys continued to put their bodies on the line to keep Baulkham Hills out. We had one last chance to win it late on when Archie threaded the needle to set up Thor but his first touch was a bit heavy and the chance was gone. Iceman went down with a minute to go and with penalties looming we all held our breath – unfortunately he had to come off
The penalty shoot out was close – all scoring aside from Archie who was denied by the width of the post. A cruel way to lose but heads held high as the team performance was superb
Player of the match to Zap for some outstanding saves to keep us in it and honourable mention to Tolly for an excellent game at centre back
BMFC O35.1B: 7
Springwood United FC: 1
BMFC Goal Scorers: Thor (2), Chicken, Paul, Dave, Archie, Potty (pen)
Player of the Match: Thor
Match Report: The Steam Train pulled into Summerhayes to play the other Springwood team
In the warm up, the Gaffer talked the defence through how to defend
Captain Marvel was benched and fuming as he whispered to Cobra ‘doesn’t the Gaffer know I was Churchies Comp 2005 All Age 16 Player of the Season’
We started at full steam with Paul racing through and firing home early. Springwood utilised the long ball to the big fellas regularly but this was managed by the calm back four of Brad, Potty, Iceman and Cobra with the squabble brothers of Pom and Davey also benched
A couple more goals late in the half – a penalty from Potty (with Iceman waving away the appeal for him to take it) and Chicken leaping more like a salmon than a chicken to challenge for a great cross by Captain Marvel (‘see, I told you I should have been on from the start’) and then peck away at the scraps to knock home
Just before half time, Iceman was felled as an air swing at the ball followed through and chopped him down
At half time the Gaffer said to run at the defenders more to which Hollywood enquired ‘so, I have the green light to do my thing then?’
Dave played centre back, occasionally, in the second half as he sought to get himself off the nudie run. A quick short corner from Cobra to now free flowing Captain Marvel and Dave screaming ‘lay it off…too late…get in!’ as he belted one past the keeper from outside the box. Thor also belted one in a similar manner, showing great technique to keep the ball down
Archie finished things off, carrying out the Gaffers instructions to a tee, floating in off his wing, dribbling past a couple (and heard saying ‘where ya gone?’ or words to that effect, in the process) and shooting neatly in the corner
Looking forward to our re-arranged State Cup 1/4 final v Baulkham Hills this Sunday at 4pm at Valentine Park – support very welcome (we had 2 supporters this week and possibly some bloke Dave works with watched, but left before his goal was scored)
BMFC 16.1: 4
Cranebrook United FC: 1
BMFC Goal Scorers: Ethan (3), Jake
Player of the Match: Shared Ethan and Eli
Match Report: A late afternoon game at a chilly Knapsack field 1. Max was out, recovering from the flu
We expected Cranebrook to come hard at us early, as had been the case in the first encounter. Surprisingly this did not eventuate and we dominated from the off. We scored when the ball was cleared from our corner and Martin fired back in from the edge of the box – Jake sticking a leg out to deflect past the keeper.
Eli made a brilliant one on one save and a minute later Alex Crambrook and Ash combined well down the left, Ash jinking past the right back to cross from the bye line – the ball coming through to Ethan just inside the box to clinically rifle in the corner. In control until a mad final minute of the half. A dubious free kick was conceded near the corner. Alex Crambrook was shoved to the floor and set upon – some pushing and shoving but unbelievably no cards shown. The free kick was taken and Millsy was very harshly adjudged to have fouled and a penalty was given and dispatched
The boys were rightly animated in the sheds at half time! Pointing out we were well in control of the game and to re-focus on playing good football seemed to calm the boys down. Within 30 seconds of the re-start Ethan hit a a half volley from fully 25 yards past the keeper – that definitely calmed things down!
Numerous free kicks were awarded our way in the second half and the boys did well, not reacting adversely, simply getting up and getting on with the game
More chances were created – Damo’s header off a corner just over most notable. Ethan completed his hat trick when Martin provided his second assist for the game
A good test of character today and was very proud of how the boys handled it. Players player shared between Eli – mainly for two brilliant saves and Ethan – non stop work rate and three great finishes
BMFC 12.1: 4
Penrith FC: 1
BMFC Goal Scorers: Josh, Bailey, Jacob, Tom
Player of the Match: Bailey
Match Report: The boys continued the form of the second half last week. Right from the kickoff the boys were hungrier, faster and stronger than ever before. An early corner was forced with Aiden dropping it into the box nicely with a hungry boot from Josh finishing nicely to take a 1-0 lead after only four minutes. The boys looked sharp and working well together.
One minute later Bailey is off for a run and hits the back of the net to make the score an early 2-0.
The rest of the first half was a display of skill from BMFC, the boys pushing the ball gently over the top for some great runs by Jake, Jacob and Josh. Samuel, Bodhi and Matt held the back and midfield with complete control making passes that were strong and straight. The play was lovely to watch.
Half time came with coach Andy a little calmer than last weeks half time talk! Six minutes into the second half Penrith handballed in the box, after a meeting of the minds it was decided Jacob would deal with it – and he did 3-0! Ben was solid as rock delivering again and again, Myles took it to Penrith winning his 50/50s and ensuring our boys had a sense of urgency
Penrith took an early crack and it paid off 3-1. Oscar has had a great few weeks in goals with very few getting through. He looks intimidating by prowling around the box and making the opposition work for their attacking raids.
15 minutes in a push in the box and the ref awards another penalty on the spot, this time Tom delivers what is needed 4-1. Cartwheels all the way back to the half way line! The whole half BMFC took control of the ball again and again, delivering key passes to each other and making solid field placement decisions that delivered. Four minutes from full time Bailey has another run and gets tripped inside the box, the ref again delivers a penalty along with a yellow card. The goalie leaps high and tips it over the bar. 4-1 is where we end for a solid performance from our boys.