A rather gloomy account of the Reserves V Abbotsford
Gorillas Reserves were eager to brush off the disappointment of loosing a hard fought game to Liverpool the week before and get back on track with another win.
With a full compliment of players back at the managements disposal, James and Tore were able to name a strong starting eleven and confidence was high as the first half got underway. With Cory injured during the warm up thanks to a rasping header from Frankie, Graeme stepped up to deputise between the sticks. The back four was slightly re-jigged from the week before with Steve and Chris being joined by Guy and Spiro but the rest of the team was fairly consistent – Damo and Omar controlling the midfield, Oli and Luke on the flanks and Neil back in alongside James up front.
Despite the confidence amongst the squad leading into the game, the first half started very nervously with end to end opportunities, most of which were created out of mistakes from the opposing team. When Glebe did get the ball down they once again looked the better team and showed the potential they have to get a result against any side in this league. However, too many loose passes and poor control kept gifting Abbotsford opportunities to play their direct style. The usually well organised back 4 were struggling at times to keep their structure as Abbotsford 5/6 attacking players were always on the move and rarely held position. As the half wore on the defence gradually sorted themselves out just before Spiro pulled up with a recurring tight thigh and had to be replaced with Sam. Despite this change the game started to swing in Glebes favour as confidence grew in the midfield and the Abbotsford team began to tire. The opposition began to resort to late challenges and grabbing hold of players because they couldn’t keep up with the passing style of Glebe and more and more free kicks / corners focused the game in Abbotsfords final third. The Abbotsford goalkeeper was getting busier by the minute but was standing up well to the task, his best moment saving a free kick bound for the top corner from Chris. Finally 5 minutes from the break, Neil was upended after some neat trickery inside the box and James confidently stepped up to fire the subsequent penalty into the back of the net ensuring Glebe went into the half time in control.
After some re-hydration and constructive encouragement on areas in which could be improved, the Gorillas went back on for the second half determined to use their superior fitness to see out the game. Abbotsford also looked keen to get back into it resulting in a hard fought, if not rather sloppy, first 10 minutes. Abbotsford continued to play long balls up the field trying to capitalise on the bright sun blocking the view of the defence and Glebe continued to try and play their passing/possession style but were giving the ball away cheaply all over the field.
Early in the second half, after a period of attack around the Abbotsford box, the ball was once again cleared long and high up the field straight over the Glebe back four who were beaten for pace by the Abbotsford centre forward to tuck the ball past Graeme and bring the game back to a tie. A mistake made far too frequently this season and the reason behind more than half of Glebes conceded goals so far this year. It was to be Glebes undoing again shortly after as Abbotsford beat the offside trap to make it 2-1 with the Groillas appearing already defeated and out of ideas. Heads dropped and the advantage swung towards Abbotsford as they pushed forward looking to see off the game. Glebe replaced Guy and Oli with Frankie and Gupta hoping fresh legs would rekindle the belief in a team looking as though they were praying for the final whistle. Unfortunately despite a few last ditched attempts to get back in the game, Glebe were once again caught on the break and Abbotsford crossed in low from the right to find their forward ready to tap it in from 5 yards to end the game.
Glebe Reserves left the field dejected with a feeling as though they and beaten themselves, gifting a game to an opposition they felt they should have beaten and disappointed that they had not been able to give a better account of themselves. After 2 clean sheets a few weeks ago the reserves have now conceded 6 in the last 2 games and must bounce back against the Golden Stars next week. We know their strengths and weaknesses having played them numerous times over the past few years and so we must work hard at training to ensure we are ready and focused to get our season back on track.
Once again we can’t fault the effort from all the boys with everyone putting in a good shift but the quality just wasn’t there this weekend. We need to shake this one off, get back to believing in our own ability and communicating better on the field if we are going to pick up some well needed points on Saturday. As Tore said at the end – we do not want to feel like we did at the end of that game again this season!
How my free kick would have looked if the keeper hadn’t got in the way !!!! ….
(and one of my favourite moments in footballing history 🙂 )