3rd Grade Men’s v Macquarie University 17 June 2023 at Cintra

Result: Glebe 1 lost to Macquarie University (MU) 5

Half-time: Glebe 1 MU 2

Penalty corners: Glebe 7 (1 goal) MU 4 (1 goal)

Scorer: Tony Wark, penalty corner rebound

Glebe players: Jacob Warnock, Chris Farrugia, Tony Wark, Simon Wark, Paul Jowett, Andrew Cheong, Cameron Johnston, Aiden Najdzion, Darren French, Zane Goodridge, Clayton Herbst, Adam Campano, Will Brine, Ken Wark (coach).

Unavailable: Brad Goodridge, Sam Bagley

Pre-match prediction:

MU has played 7 games, for 3 wins, 2 draws, and 2 losses, scored 21 goals, and had 11 scored against it, with a goal difference of 10, and sits fourth on the competition table on 11 points. Glebe has played 7 games, for 1 win and 6 losses, scored 9 goals, and had 35 scored against it, with a goal difference of -26, and sits tenth out of eleven on the competition table. Last game on 3 June MU drew with Ryde 1-1. Glebe played Ryde on 15 April and lost 1-10.

Looking at the statistics it suggests that Glebe will lose this MU game 6-0.

If Glebe can trap the ball better, tackle much earlier, nail its penalty corners, take free hits quicker, pass the ball quicker, more accurately, earlier, and to the stick of a teammate, we can get much closer to MU than 0-6.

My prediction is for a 4-1 loss, provided we play to our potential.

Match Report:

It was a lovely winter’s sunny day at Cintra, ideal for playing and watching hockey.

MU was the better team and deserved to beat Glebe by 2 goals. Glebe played reasonably well and could have easily scored another 2 or 3 goals with better circle craft.

From the opening whistle MU had Glebe under pressure and Glebe were finding it difficult to get the ball out of their own defensive zone. Back passing, side passing, and piddle little passes to teammates under pressure in the middle of the field were persisted with when a good hard clearing hit parallel to the sideline was the much better option. Glebe needed a bit of breathing space and the tactics it was employing, with the ball on their stick was not doing it for them. The ball needed to be cracked hard and early.

In the sixth minute, MU was awarded a penalty corner for a Glebe foot inside the circle. The corner was perfectly executed and the ball slammed against the backboard having just snuck inside the righthand post. Glebe 0 MU1.

The Glebe forwards press was not aggressive enough and gave the MU defenders time to precisely pick the direction and weighting of their passes to their forwards. Thirteen minutes into the quarter MU counter-attacked at speed down the right wing. The ball was quickly crossed to the top of the Glebe circle where it was controlled by a MU forward who had an ambitious tomahawk shot from the inside left alley. The Glebe goalkeeper Jacob Warnock made a good hand save, but the ball bounced favourably for a MU forward who pushed the ball into the Glebe goal from 4 metres out, Glebe 0 MU 2. This remained the score at the end of the first quarter.

Glebe had trouble clearing the ball from the defence, partly as a result of its own ineptitude and partly as a result of good MU play. MU had 60% of the territory in this quarter. Glebe did not have one MU circle penetration in these 17 minutes of play. The fullbacks needed to bring the ball to the defensive line before cracking the ball wide. They much too often chose to use the back pass, or the 40-metre side pass, which was ineffective as a way of finding gaps in the MU press and frequently placed the Glebe ball receiver under pressure, in positions where losing possession of the ball placed MU in an excellent attacking position.

Glebe was solid in the middle of the field, with Andrew Cheong, Clayton Herbst and Simon Wark quickly snuffing out the down-the-middle option for MU. MU had more success when they quickly moved the ball wide and down the line, which was a tactic Glebe should have been using.

Early in the second quarter Clayton Herbst made a promising break from halfway and had a few passing options to Glebe forwards further up the field. He took the go-it-yourself option, which I think, under the circumstances was well worth a try, as the MU defenders were retreating to cover the pass forward. Ultimately a good tackle disposed Clayton of the ball. For the first five minutes of the second quarter MU had the Glebe defence under the pump, but it was defending desperately, with Chris Farrugia, Adam Campano and Cameron Johnston prominent all tackling well. Keeper Jacob Warnock made several excellent saves. The Glebe defenders needed to drive the ball down the sideline more, rather than try the short pass to a defender in no better position than the person with the ball.

Midway through the second quarter, Glebe started to get a bit more field position and exert a bit more pressure on the MU defence. From 40 metres out Paul Jowett received the early ball in space from the defence. He sprinted into the MU circle and took a shot from the top of the circle in the inside right alley which the MU goalkeeper confidently saved. A driven pass across the face of the MU goal where a couple of Glebe forwards were positioned may have been a better option, but the option Paul took was nonetheless reasonable. In the second half of the second quarter MU were awarded two penalty corners which were well-defended by the Glebe defence.

Nine minutes into the second quarter Tony Wark had a flick shot at goal from 4 metres out from the MU goal, two metres from the backline. The ball hit the crossbar and rebounded clear of the circle. A cross to the penalty stroke spot would have probably been a better option for Tony, but he made a very good attempt with a second-best option. Aiden Najdzion was doing a lot of cover defending in the mid-field and closed down many MU attacks with his persistent tackling.

A minute after Tony’s shot hit the crossbar MU staged a couple of swift counterattacks down the right wing that looked ominous for Glebe. MU won a couple of penalty corners which Glebe defended well. Clayton Herbst made some good fast-attacking raids down the centre. Zane Goodrich pulled off an excellent tackle of a MU defender inside the MU circle, which resulted in a Glebe penalty corner. The corner was well executed, and a good direct hit was had by Chris Farrugia, which was saved by the MU goalkeeper. Tony Wark pounced on the rebound to slam it into the MU gaol, Glebe 1 MU 2.

Glebe’s goal put a different complexion on the game and gave some hope that the Glebe team might be able to stage a fight back. The Glebe forwards were starting to find a few gaps in the MU defence and make some excellent runs. Moving the ball wide and running the ball, or passing the ball down the sideline was being used to good effect. Glebe’s trapping at times was mediocre and several promising moves came to nothing for the want of a poor final trap. The ball has to be watched right onto the stick.

With seconds left in the second quarter MU realised that the end of the quarter was seconds away and smashed the ball from 40 metres out into the Glebe circle. The ball was partially stopped and as luck would have it, bobbled to a MU forward at the top of the Glebe circle in the inside left alley.  The MU’s tomahawk shot found the back of the Glebe goal with 7 seconds left in the quarter, Glebe 1 MU 3, which was the half-time score.

At the start of the third quarter, Darren French tried a few big hits into the attacking zone from around the halfway line close to the lefthand sideline. These hits showed great vision and if the Glebe forwards had been able to pull them in it would have been a one-on-one with the MU goalkeeper. In the middle of the third quarter, MU put considerable pressure on the Glebe defence. Glebe’s trapping was poor during this period and the aimless side-to-side passing at the back and the purposeless, pitter-patter, soft-side in space passes to teammates in poor field positions returned.

Ten minutes into the third quarter Darren French situated 5 metres inside the Glebe half on the left-hand sideline cracked the ball 60 metres to an unmarked Tony Wark on the edge of the MU circle. Tony took on the MU goalkeeper at the edge of the circle, but the MU keeper was able to deliberately hit the ball out over the backline and Glebe was awarded a penalty corner. This was a 50-50 goal-scoring opportunity for sure. Unfortunately, Tony could not jink the keeper and push the ball into the unguarded net. This was a red-hot goalscoring chance.

Two Glebe players received yellow cards from the umpires in this game and playing with 10 men for 10 minutes did not help Glebe’s cause. To be truthful I thought the yellow card decisions were harsh, but it is not fashionable to be critical of the umpires in any way these days. With a minute left in the third quarter, Clayton Herbst pulled off a great tackle of a MU defender 10 metres inside the MU half. Clayton passed the ball quickly to Tony Wark who ran the ball into the MU circle to the backline and then passed to Clayton Herbst standing on the penalty stroke spot. This was a 50-50 chance of a goal, but Clayton was not able to push the ball into the goal before being set upon by a few MU defenders scrambling back. A Glebe penalty corner was awarded but the hit from Chris Farrugia went wide of the goal.

Glebe was awarded 7 penalty corners to MU’s 4, but Glebe was only able to convert one of them into a goal. A better penalty corner conversion rate would have kept us in the game. Glebe got 5 direct hits away, for 1 goal, 1 keeper save, 1 hit the runner’s foot and another penalty corner, 2 were stopped by the runner-out’s stick, and 2 hits missed the goals. The MU first runners were getting out quickly and putting pressure on our penalty corner hitter. Glebe needed to have a variation up its sleeve because I think a lay-off to the top of the circle would have left the Glebe person receiving the ball with a ton of time to move the ball forward and fire the ball goalward. MU had no defenders covering this option. At three-quarter time the score was Glebe 1 MU 3.

Glebe had a couple of great scoring chances in the third quarter and it was the Glebe team’s best quarter of the game up until that point. At the end of the third quarter, there was a faint prospect of a Glebe comeback as the momentum seemed to have swung Glebe’s way just a little. The territory in the third quarter was 50-50.

A minute into the fourth quarter MU staged a counter-attack from a few metres inside its own half down the righthand sideline. The ball was transferred across the top of the Glebe circle to a MU forward who pushed the ball past Jacob Warnock from 5 metres out, Glebe 1 MU 4. This was a well-worked goal, as were all of the MU goals, although a couple of them did have an element of good fortune attached to them.

Glebe was able to exert some pressure on the MU defence with some tenacious, early tackling and Glebe were awarded 3 penalty corners in the final quarter and made half a dozen very promising circle penetrations. Darren French, Aiden Najdzion and Adam Campano were tackling well and were keeping the MU forwards in check.

Midway through the fourth quarter, a Glebe player was disposed around the halfway line in the middle of the field. MU broke quickly and a 4 on 2 situation was created and a goal seemed likely. Glebe goalkeeper Jacob Warnock left his goal to meet the MU ball carrier at the top of the circle. The MU forward tried to pass the ball past Jacob, but Jacob read the pass like a book and made a great hand save. Jacob’s reading of the game and his option-taking, when confronted with this situation, was perfect.

In the last minutes of the game, Glebe started to exert pressure on the MU defence and several promising mid-field runs were made. Andrew Cheong made one, particularly promising dash, which resulted in a penalty corner, which was hit wide of the goal.

With less than 60 seconds left on the clock, MU smashed a hit from deep defence up into the Glebe circle, where a MU forward got on the end of it, the Glebe defenders had taken forward positions looking to improve Glebe’s goal tally. The MU forward hit a tomahawk shot into the Glebe goal from the top of the circle. The Glebe defenders needed to step forwards into the tackle rather than give this MU forward a free shot at goal. Having said this, it was an exceptionally good shot at goal, Glebe 1 MU 5, which was the final score.

Glebe had plenty of gilt-edged goal-scoring chances in this game, which were not converted into goals because of a combination of lack of skill and bad luck. Better penalty corner option selection needs to be looked at. Overall, I thought Glebe played reasonably well in this game and the final score did not reflect the closeness of the game.

Next week’s game, 24 June 2023, is to be played at the Olympic pitch, Homebush at 3.30 pm against SEHC ( Saint George).

Report on the Glebe v Macquarie University Third Grade game played 12.30 hours, 17 June 2023 at the Cintra Synthetic Turf, Concord.