Glebe Gorillas finally fulfilling early pre-season promise.
Glebes coach Graham Robertson was again scratching his head with team selection as Glebe‘s first team squad was missing key players in Robert Andersson, Johnny Evans, Mike Verhoeven, Tristan Lopes along with utility defender Stuart Hanway(broken foot). Injuries to central defender Conor Dunne and goalkeeper Neville ‘Jamie’ Southall meant that the only remaining players in the same positions from the back 5 for the game against Liverpool were the both in form full back’s Lyle Harris and Scott Arnold respectively.
Robertson was however able to call upon central defender Gavin McColl who badly cut his head the previous week resulting in him missing the Liverpool game. He opted to move the adaptable Pardraig Houlihan to a more attacking left midfield birth rather than central defence along with pushing Conor Dunne from central defence in to goal. In midfield he opted to drop the busy Bob Nicolson back from central midfield to partner Gav Mccoll in the centre of defence.
The midfield still had Graham Robertson sitting in his Gatuso like role with Karl Rowlands in the middle supporting James Cunial up front. Adam Burns was making his first team debut after impressing in training recently on the right and David Brunker was called up from the reserve grade to play in central midfield with Christophe starting the match from the bench for the Gorillas.
Glebe started the game with very little rhythm to their play showing glimpses of the fluid football displayed against Liverpool the previous week but were still guilty of giving the ball away far too often along with giving away far too many free kicks for needless offences. In fairness
to Glebe after losing the first 4 games of the season and having to adapt so many changes to the starting team they showed really character to again roll up the sleeves and put a shift in.
Glebes patched up squad suffered communication issues and from a lapse in concentration coupled with a lack of understanding Abbostsford Wolves found themselves 1-0 up after applying most of the early pressure. What happened next might well be the turning point for the Gorillas season. The Gorillas exchanged stern words with each other and started to bring James Cunial up front in to the game along with creating a number of chances for the busy wide players Pardraig, Scott and Adam who were putting in a lot of work and looked dangerous.
Adam Burns had a spectacular chipped effort pushed on to the cross bar and was very unlucky not to have opened his account in his first appearance for the club. The Gorillas started to battle for every ball with the confidence finally flowing through the team and the communication levels appearing to be up to the highest level so far.
After a good few dangerous attacks on the Wolves goal which included another shot which came off the post, Graham ‘Gattuso’ Robertson found himself inside the oppositions penalty area after a spell of sustained pressure to then finish a great strike which levelled the scores at half time 1-1.
At half time the message was simple stick to the game plan, play the football on the floor and the first victory of the season will come. This really did prove to be the case with the Gorillas turning the screw on Wolves in the second half creating a number of fine attacks mostly on the counter attack and looking far more like their unbeaten preseason selves.
Adam Burns was enjoying a lot more possession in the second half and the débuting tricky midfielder was writing his own headlines when he skilfully took a touch past his man to curl in a fine effort in to the top corner of the goal to put Glebe in the lead with an equally impressive celebration – 2-1 and the gorillas in the box seat!.
After more Glebe pressure Adam found himself with the ball on the left corner of the Wolves box with the option of passing it square Adam confidently took the shot on and the ball deflected off the toe of the Wolves defender and under the keeper for the winning goal of the game 3-1 Gorillas from 1-0 down a truly impressive turn around.
In the last ten minutes Glebe’s men were struggling a little so the French ‘generous lover’ Christophe Blanchys strolled on to the delight of the mostly female Gorillas support to a chorus of cheers and wolf whistles. The ladies’ man was on the pich, the Gorillas were winning the game 3-1 and the Nag’s head were busy stocking up the cellars as Saturday night’s social was looking like it had the makings of being a big one!
The game ended 3-1 and credit must go to Adam Burns for bagging a brace on his debut which on another day could have quite easily been a hat trick. Special mentions should also go to Bob Nicolson, Conor Dunne and Pardriag Houlihan who all played great in different positions than what they have been used to this season so far.
So what does this result mean for the Gorillas? Firstly it shows that the squad if finally fulfilling its potential even when players are away and missing. Secondly it shows that when everybody is back the squad has depth and will be a match to any side on its day. When the Gorillas can welcome back Jamie Southall in goal, Robert ‘Limpar’ Andersson, Johnny Evans and put last year’s player of the season Conor Dunne back to central defence along with the settled middle three of Graham, Karl and Bob then Glebe’s team are looking extremely strong with solid foundations.
With the attacking flaire of Robert, Johnny, Adam and soon to be added former Japanese super star ‘Li Tie’ the dogs or war will be looking more like the Dutch team of 1974 possessing enough flair, power, free flowing football and danger from all angles even if it takes 4-5 weeks for the players to settle to a system and get used to each other’s game big things are expected from the Gorillas this season.