3rd Grade Men’s v Briars 7 May 2022 at Cintra

Trevenar- Wark Cup Day

Result: Glebe 1 lost to Briars 3

Half-time: Glebe 1 Briars 2

Penalty corners: Glebe 3 (no goals) Briars 6 (no goals)

Penalty Stroke Glebe 1 (no goal)

Scorer: Tony Wark

Glebe players: Chris Farrugia, Sam Bagley, Adam Campano, Tony Wark, Paul Jowett, Clark Foster (GK), Simon Wark, Andrew Cheong, Max Spalton, Craig Martin, Lachlan Hall, Zane Goodridge, Aiden Najdzion, Brad Goodridge stand-by.

Unavailable players: Michael Wark (permanently retired, recurrent hamstring injury induced), Jacob Warnock (broken bone in hand), Jackson Howe, Sid Roache, Pat Wark (knee injury)

Pre-match prediction:

A retirement and a couple players out with injury has dinted our playing strength for this game, but this has provided the opportunity for a few of our under-17 players to join the team and test themselves in a higher grade. Briars have yet to have a win a game this season, but for the last few seasons the Glebe-Briars third grade fixture has been close, and hard fought. I would expect this game to be a ding-dong battle with goals hard to come by.

Match report:

This was a keenly fought game between two teams in the bottom half of the competition. There was little between the two teams but Briars took its goal scoring opportunities better than Glebe and subsequently won the game.

Briars started strongly and put sustained pressure on the Glebe defence for the first five minutes, creating several half chances which either missed the goal or were relatively easily dealt with by the Glebe defence. The Glebe players were tending to go one out and were easily picked off by the Briars defenders.

Six minutes into the game Briars broke down the right wing. The ball was hit across towards the Glebe circle where it struck a Glebe defenders foot, with a penalty corner being awarded. The direct hit at goal from the corner was superbly stopped by Adam Campano. Adam tackled solidly all game, trapped well and had a good game. Most of the Glebe attacks were quick breaks from defence , which for the most part were well covered by the Briars defenders.

The Glebe defenders and mid-fielders tended to be too slow in taking the free hit and delivering the ball to the forwards. This enabled the Briars defenders to regroup and get set and close off the gaps that were there a few seconds earlier. Briars had 55% of the territory in the first quarter and looked like the team most likely to score. Briars had a couple of penalty corners just before the end of the first quarter which were well defended by Glebe. Max Spalton our first runner on the penalty corners was quick out to the battery and the Briars corner flicker was always under pressure to get his shot away quickly and consequently could not get a lot of power into his short at goal. The score at the end of the first quarter was Glebe 0 Briars 0.

Briars started the second quarter strongly and Glebe were under the pump for the first five minutes of the quarter. During this period Glebe had one lighten raid into the Briars circle, which saw Tony Wark in an excellent position to score for Glebe but sadly the opportunity evaporated as the goalkeeper and several Briars defenders converged on the ball and stifled Glebe attacking raid.

Seven minutes into the second quarter Briars were attacking in the Glebe circle, when Glebe won possession of the ball. The Glebe defender had time to weigh-up his options but took the worst option available to him. He pushed the ball, at a slowish speed  towards the centre of the field. The Briars centre-half who was standing five metres outside the Glebe circle stopped the ball immediately passed it to an unmarked Briars forward inside the circle in the inside left position , who hit it past Clarke Foster from eight metres out. Briars 1 Glebe 0.

When defending in the circle the ball must go wide, or if it is going straight, it must be hammered at supersonic speed. This is a goal we coughed-up.

A minute later Briars from a passing movement that started around half-way. The ball traveled down the left wing, before it was hit across the face of the Glebe goal for a Briars forward to deflect it into the net from three metres out past Clark Foster. This was a well-constructed team goal. Briars 2 Glebe 0

Glebe was still too slow with its ball distribution, and consequently had trouble clearing the ball out of its own 22 metre zone. Our trapping was poor and many balls bobbled just out of the Glebe players reach for the Briars opposition to pick-up and counter attack. Max Spalton, Andrew Cheong and Simon Wark were toiling away in the midfield and were effective in stifling the Briars attack through the centre.

Five minutes after Briars second goal Lachlan Hall made a good run from half-way before passing to an unmarked Simon Wark who quickly transferred the ball to Tony Wark standing on the penalty stroke spot. Tony pushed the ball past the advancing goalkeeper into the Briars’ goal. Quick delivery of the ball from defence was the key to this goal. There should have been much more early delivery of the ball to enable our forwards to get the ball in space, before being closed down by rapidly retreating defenders.

Under-17 Aiden Najdzion  was having his first game with the third-grade team in this game and seemed to have fun. He is agile and has a good turn of pace. Zane Goodridge played in the forwards and halves and covered a lot of territory. He had a slight hamstring/ cramp problem that restricted his movements a little, but tried hard all game and tackled strongly and early.

Lachlan Hall was everywhere and ran his legs off and never gave-up. He made some strong individual runs with the ball, which put pressure on the Briars defence. One very small criticism is that he tended to over-do the one-out, hero runs, when an early pass to a teammate would have been a better option. He then needed to quickly run into a field position to get the return pass from his teammate.

Our hitting and passing were inaccurate and many of our passes did not go where we intended them to go. The second quarter was played mainly in the mid-field and either team had many genuine goal scoring opportunities.  The half-time score was Glebe 1 Briars 2.

Glebe attacked for the first few minutes of the third quarter and were exerting pressure on the Briars defence, when after a turn over Briars broke quickly from defence and the ball travelled 80 metres from one side of the field to the other. The Glebe defenders sprinted  back to plug the gaps, and close down most of Briars’ options, but a few deft Briars passes saw a Briars forward have a tomahawk shot from near the top of the circle while under strong pressure from Glebe defender Sam Bagley. The ball was well struck and flew past Clark Foster for Briars third goal. This was a well-constructed goal. Glebe 1 Briars 3.

Glebe struggled to put pressure on the Briars defence and circle penetrations were hard to come-by. Midway through the third quarter Glebe started to build more momentum. Seven minutes into the third quarter Tony Wark passed quickly to Andrew Cheong who relayed the ball to Simon Wark inside the Briars circle. Simon hit the ball hard at goal, but it was straight at the Briars’ goalkeeper who made a good save. This was a good opportunity for Glebe and gave the team confidence that it was able to create scoring opportunities.

Briars had 55% of the field position for the first two-thirds of the game, but Glebe were pickling-up more momentum as the game progressed. With five minutes remaining in the third quarter Briars had a quickly taken shot at goals from six metres out. Clark Forster made an excellent hand save to prevent a goal being scored, which if it had of been scored would have definitely put the game out of Glebe’s reach. In the final five minutes of the third quarter Briars had three penalty corners on the trot, which were well defended by Glebe. Max Spalton’s speed to the battery greatly aided Glebe’s corner defence. The score at the end of the third quarter was Glebe 1 Briars 3.

Glebe was struggling to made goal scoring chances all game and a Glebe come-back seemed unlikely, but the mood in the team was optimistic and upbeat. I got the impression that the players still gave themselves an outside chance and the feeling among the players was we can do this.

Briars were passing the ball well without creating any circle penetrations. Glebe was trying very hard to get back into the game, and every player was putting in maximum effort. Paul Jowett made a few incisive runs down the right wing and linked up well with Tony Wark. The intensity of the Glebe play lifted for the last ten minutes and Briars had few scoring chances in this period. Briars was defending its lead and Glebe were adopting an attacking approach and sending men forward at every opportunity. Most of the fourth quarter was played in the midfield, with Briars having most of its players behind the ball.

With two minutes remaining in the game after a Glebe attacking raid Lachlan Hall found himself unmarked in the Briars circle, but at a bad angle for a direct shot. He passed the ball back to Tony Wark who was ideally placed to have a red-hot crack at the goal, but a Briars defender, took a gamble, read the move and made a critical interception.

In the last-minute Chris Farrugia pumped a 40-metre hit into the Briars circle finding Tony Wark, who found a Briars foot inside the circle and a Glebe penalty corner was awarded. Chris Farrugia and Sam Bagley, our wing-halves both had solid games. From the penalty corner Tony Wark’s push along the ground hit a Briars defender’s foot, which stopped the ball going into the goal. A Glebe penalty stroke was awarded. With our two main stroke takers absent, under-17 Zane Goodridge was delegated to take the stroke. His push to the goalkeeper’s right was saved by the keeper. Fortunately, the penalty stroke miss had no bearing on the result of the game, and it was good experience for Zane. If you take enough strokes you are going to miss some of them, no matter how good you are.

Briars better execution in front of goal won them the game. On balance I thought Briars were slightly the better team, but we definitely had our guilt-edged chances. The game was in the balance until the final three or four minutes of the match and the Glebe team showed great resolve in the way they came back into the game in the final quarter.