Glebe Gorillas vs Balmain Wanderers

Having put in a disappointing performance the weekend before against Randwick the Gorillas were motivated to put things right against a Balmain side who took last years title and currently sit top of the pile.

Glebe lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, with Gavin McColl slotting back into the centre of defence following suspension. Early play was fairly disjointed with the ball failing to stick in the final third for Glebe. The Wanderers were constantly targeting the ball in behind Sowerby at right-back, causing a few awkward moments but once Daniel Rep and McColl resolved to sit a little deeper this inroad became closed.

James Cotterell and Paul Dolan were putting in some solid work up front but James was often isolated and unable to bring others into the game. Balmain’s pressure eventually told around 20 minutes in, when the ball kindly broke in behind George Veneris at left-back, and the Balmain attacker nipped in to knock the ball past the goalkeeper to make it 0-1.

The following 20-25 minutes saw Glebe really come in to the game, fighting harder, stringing more passes together – particularly down the left-hand flank with Houlihan and Veneris linking up well – and looking more of a threat. With the strong end to the half the Gorillas came in to the half-time break buoyed that in the 2nd they could make that pressure count.

HT: 0-1

The comments at half-time were to perhaps look to the simple pass rather than the difficult 40-yard ball and to commit to our challenges more as Glebe were coming off 2nd best in the physicality stakes.

Too many speculative passes

The half started in rip-roaring style with McColl and Yearsley putting in some bone-shattering but fair tackles to finally let Balmain know they were now in a game. Sadly Glebe’s use of the ball was still leaving a lot to be desired with most players guilty of favouring the spectacular over the simple.

Despite the Gorillas improvement, Balmain extended their lead around the hour mark, when a ball in behind Sowerby at right-back was lofted over Will in goals leaving the Balmain striker to bundle in from a yard out, despite pressure from Rep and McColl0-2.

The goal was a fair hammer blow to Glebe, with some players having little left in their legs to see out the match. James Cunial and Dave Brunker came on to try and inject some life into the tired legs but the game saw little change in flow. Balmain’s substitutions were providing more of a threat than Glebe’s and it was the right-winger who played a huge part in Balmain’s third, exchanging passes on the wing, leaving the Balmain striker the space to rifle home a powerful third, 0-3.

Glebe were dejected but still put in a serious shift to try and get some consolation from a match that they had put their all in to. The consolation came with a few minutes left in the match – Yearsley taking one of his monstrous long throws into the box and McColl rising, unchallenged, to place the ball expertly in the bottom corner out of the keepers reach, 1-3.

Ronaldo ‘trying’ to emulate McColl’s header

The drama wasn’t over yet though, as Balmain breached the Glebe defence and the Wanderers striker was brought down, resulting in a penalty for Balmain. Balmain’s midfielder was full of confidence in grabbing the ball to take the penalty – he even had his mates filming it from behind the goal! His glorious moment was short-lived as his arrogant attempt at a chipped penalty was wonderfully saved by Will’s outstretched leg. The ball spilled back to the player with the goal gaping but the Balmain midfielder embarrassingly sliced at the rebound, sending it wide of the goal.

Where Joe Hart failed, Will succeeded

So again Glebe’s effort results in 0 points. Whilst players should be commended for work ethic, we should also be under no illusions that work ethic alone is not going to help us start racking up points. The use of the ball certainly needs to improve as we are tiring ourselves out in needlessly chasing the ball. Top marks again for Will who didn’t deserve to be on the end of 3 goals, and Veneris at left-back continues to get better with each passing week. James Lunt also put in a stellar shift across the park.

A big game ahead this coming weekend against a Leichhardt side who look there for the taking.

Starting X1: Will Saunders, Chris Sowerby, Daniel Rep, Gavin McColl, George Veneris, James Lunt, Chris Tredwell (70mins), Lee Yearsley, Padraig Houlihan, Paul Dolan, James Cotterell (77mins)

Subs: James Cunial (70mins), David Brunker (77mins)

Goals: Gavin McColl (88mins)