With the rain causing a late change of venue for this clash to the sandy fields of West Beach I was actually able to make it to watch the A’s, which was nice as it enabled me to get away from house renovations for an hour or two.
I doubt anyone was displeased at the ground move, as Unley High becomes a genuine bog on a rainy day, although perhaps this favoured our boys, who like the opportunity to pass the ball around, rather than play ‘stuck-in-the-mud’, which is an Unley High favourite.
The A’s had another very strong first XI to go into this match, with the only change from last week being the in-form Titus coming in for the injured Alex.
Again I noticed though that our A’s bench was filled with guys who’ve played B’s – Lewis, Zidan & Alan all having played & only Conan sitting on the bench ‘fresh’.
Early on the game was pretty tight, Unley made a couple of chances as our boys misjudged the breeze, but once we got a handle on that the Whites started to gain the ascendancy. Gabe was in outstanding touch at right back & his decisive passing to the midfield & strikers set our boys up on a number of occasions.
As the half wore on, we really took complete control. With our midfield seemingly winning every 50/50 ball & one or two touch passing being the order of the day, the whites boys got around the back of Unley’s defence time & time again.
Unfortunately, the boys had left their goal kicking boots at home, as Steve, Jose, Mark, Scott & Anoop all had chances to score, but none of them were able to seal the deal. The Unley keeper really did an excellent job of covering where his defence went missing, but we were probably also guilty of spurning a few very good chances.
The second half really was a case of more of the same early on. Again our passing was crisp & incisive & Anoop, Steve and Jose were blasting past their defenders with ease. However we still weren’t able to get the crucial goal to gain the ascendancy.
Unley made a couple of changes that really turned the match – with the new striker & winger on all of a sudden we were on the back foot. After a couple of near misses, Unley finally made us pay as we gave their attacking midfielder & then the striker too much room.
To the boys credit, we fought straight back & Mark was able to send Jose through with a perfectly weighted long ball (Wimbledon in the 80’s would have been impressed). Jose was able to out-sprint his defender & then slot the ball home, much to the relief of the 10’s of supporters & coaching staff on the sidelines.
At 1-1 though, we inexplicably took the foot off. Gabe & Titus were replaced by Lewis & Zidan, but Unley continued to have the ascendancy. In fact, they probably should have sealed the win – but thankfully big Dan made a couple of crucial saves late in the game.
It wasn’t until Conan came on (perhaps too late) that we created a chance to win it late, but unfortunately Scotty’s shot sailed high.
The end result was a 1-1 draw, in a game where we were in control for at least 60 minutes. Out best over the past 2 weeks is as good as anyone in this league, but the crucial difference between last week’s 6-0 belting of Sacred Heart and this week’s game was finishing. By not killing the game off in the first half, we allowed Unley a chance to win it and really we were lucky to hold on for the draw.
We really need to show that killer instinct when we get on top, next week’s game is against ladder leaders Pembroke, which really is the perfect warm-up for our Cup Quarter Final against an as yet unknown opponent the week after.
There’s still plenty to play for this season, I think this squad is good enough to go deep in the Cup, we just need to finish off teams when we have the opportunity.
Yours in White,