Immanuel 1 – Uni Whites 1

Blue skies and sunshine according to the weatherman. My arse it was. Grey skies and a howling gale straight off the sea front greeted the Whites as they assembled for an early season bottom of the table ‘six pointer’ at Barrett Reserve.

Buoyed by the good showing in the second half last week against Sacred Heart despite the loss, the Whites were in fine spirits and confident mood. The only blemish on this was the no show of new signing Nicky Whiteside due to work commitments and having to travel back from Bongo Bongo Land. Mrs Bock was somewhat disappointed at this as she had put her hand up for dog sitting duties.

Coach Haralam (resembling a Mafia boss in his Merc) made a few minor adjustments to the starting XI with yours truly between the sticks, Ollie, Cam, Bocky and Matt G across the back, Johnson, Simon, Dan G, Luke and Manny in midfield and Faruiz up top. Our CEO Tim ‘Levandowski’, Dave ‘The Fro’ and Hamad started on the bench.

Having lost the toss, Immanuel opted to swap ends and play with the wind at their backs. Our instructions were simple keep the ball on the deck, play our passing game and batten down the hatches for the anticipated 45 minutes of wind assisted bombardment. We stuck to our plan well playing the ball around nicely without really threatening goal. Any time we did try and lift the ball over the top it travelled 20 yards further back towards our goal than it had travelled forward thanks to the wind.

Immanuel created very little until we conspired to make a hash of things at the back by failing to clear our lines, which presented their striker with a golden opportunity from 10 yards out and the resulting ball in the back of the net. Immanuel only managed one more shot on target in the half as some resolute and at time awkward defending cancelled any threat.

Midway through the half we lost Johnson to injury, after he was caught from behind. Coach Haralam, showing why he is paid the big bucks, immediately sent on the CEO Tim ‘Levandowski’ and made a tactical switch. Fairuz (speed, pace, guile and flair) was dropped into the centre of midfield and ‘Levandowski’ (built more for comfort than speed) pushed up top in the loan strikers roll. The Whites huffed and puffed against the wind with ‘Levandowski’ starved of service. 1-0 down at half time and the Whites hadn’t managed a shot on goal.

The second half saw a definite change in momentum. The Whites were firmly in the ascendancy and our short passing game began to tell. Coach swapped Ollie and Manny out on the left and replaced Dan G with ‘The Fro’. Chances started to be fashioned but like our season to date we failed to put one of them away. ‘Levandowski’ was causing all sorts of problems for the Immanuel back four with his pace (wind assisted/slight downhill slope), size and most evident his willingness to chase and harass lost causes. ‘Levandowski’ was like a man possessed in his commitment to the cause, with some even going as far as saying ‘He’s all over it like a fat man at an all you can eat buffet’.

From a short corner the Whites were level. ‘The Fro’ swung in an inviting cross to the back post and there was ‘Levandowski’ (under strict instructions to not do the scoring himself) rising like a (tin) of salmon  to let the ball hit him and and have fate make it fly/drop/bounce/bobble into the net. 1-1 and it was all Whites. Chances came and went. Immanuel struggled to break down a resilient Whites defence and were firmly on the back foot. Yours truly thought he had discovered the cure for insomnia in the second half such was the Whites dominance. Despite all efforts the final whistle saw the spoils shared. Disappointing in many ways not to take the three points but lots of positives to take into the next game against Mount Barker.

Written by Matt Hawyes with Kevin Bock having to edit his atrocious grammar (and probably missing something anyway)