3rd Grade Men’s v Northern Districts 20 May 2023 at Cintra

Result: Glebe 1 defeated Northern Districts 0

Half-time: Glebe 0 Northern Districts 0

Penalty corners: Glebe 2 (1 goal) Northern Districts 4 (no goals)

Penalty Strokes: nil

Scorers: Brad Goodridge

Glebe players: Jacob Warnock, Chris Farrugia, Sam Bagley, Tony Wark, Simon Wark, Paul Jowett, Cameron Johnston, Brad Goodridge, Aiden Najdzion, Darren French, Zane Goodridge, Adam Campano, Craig Martin, Ken Wark (coach).

Unavailable players: Andrew Cheong, Will Brine, Clayton Herbst, Oliver Tordoff

Pre-match prediction:

Glebe, sitting last on the competition ladder, has had four losses from four games so far in 2023, with 5 goals for and 22 goals against. Northern Districts have had two losses and two draws from its four previous games and sit third last on the competition table with two points, with 3 goals for and 16 goals against.

Northern Districts have held the wooden spoon for the last few seasons in third grade, but with half-a dozen Pakistani players coming into its first-grade team this season, it has meant that accomplished hockey players have filtered back into the Club’s lower grades and strengthened them.

So far this season Glebe have played the best teams in the third-grade competition, whereas Northern Districts have played teams in the bottom half of the competition.  Today’s game will be evenly contested. I am predicting a 1-0 Glebe win, with Glebe scoring its goal from a penalty corner hit-in by Brad Goodridge. My estimate is that Glebe is 5-4 on favourites to win. The AI forecast is for a 1-1 Draw.

Match Report:

Glebe’s first win of the season from five games. There was much celebrating in the dressing room after the game, with the Glebe song sung loud and clear. I don’t think the team song will be sung much in 2023, but it was great to hear it at least once in the season.

It was an even game between two evenly matched teams with the territory being 50-50. Northern Districts had more shots on goal than Glebe, but failed to make the most of its goal scoring opportunities.

It was a beautiful late autumn Saturday at Cintra, with a light wind, clear, blue skies and a temperature around 17oC, ideal for hockey.

A minute into the game Glebe made a break down the right wing, before Tony Wark crossed the ball to the ND penalty stroke spot. The ball did not find a Glebe forward’s stick and an excellent opportunity was missed. The Glebe forwards do not seem well positioned to deflect the driven cross from the wing into the goal. The team had 4 or 5 such chances during the game without ever looking like a deflection into the ND goal was possible. It is an area of our attacking play that we need to improve and there are goals there if we can get it right.

In the first quarter the team’s trapping was poor, with many balls missed or edged to opposition players. For the first 10 minutes, play was end to end with plenty of hard running required by both teams. Glebe mid-fielders Chris Farrugia, Simon Wark and Darren French covered a lot of territory and tackled early and often. Both teams found it hard to make any headway down the centre of the field. ND had the first real chance with a hard score from the top of the circle, which was well saved by the Glebe goalkeeper Jacob Warnock, who made the save look easy. Jacob had an excellent game today and instrumental in keeping Glebe’s clean sheet, which is uncommon for the Glebe third grade team.

Five minutes into the first quarter, ND made several attacking raids into the Glebe circle and had a clear shot on goal which Jacob saved well. In the middle of the first quarter the game was played mainly in the middle of the field with neither team being able to make much headway. Tony Wark had a shot from the top of the circle which was well saved by the ND keeper. With 5 minutes remaining in the quarter ND put the Glebe defence under a lot of pressure. The Glebe defence desperately rallied and rose to the occasion, scrabbling, concentrating and anticipating with commitment and enthusiasm. Cameron Johnston, Sam Bagley, Adam Campano and Craig Martin were prominent.

Glebe’s passing was too slow, which allowed the ND players to regroup behind the ball and make any headway hard for Glebe. The passes need to be firmer, and given earlier before the holes in the opposition defence are closed off. Aimless running with the ball at half-pace is never a good option when the early pass option is available. Sam Bagley effectively used the hard hit down the sideline, which was a good option when hard pressed in defence. The Glebe forwards and halves need to take the front position and give the Glebe defenders a target to pass to.

Darren French tried a couple of cannon balls into the circle from the ND 22-metre line in midfield. This was a good tactic, as a deflection by a Glebe player looked quite possible. The straight nature of the pass means that it is much harder to stop than the 45o pass.

The first quarter was even stevens, with the game being open and free flowing. The score at the end of the first quarter was Glebe 0 ND 0.

The second quarter started with Tony Wark streaking down the leftwing, running it along the backline and passing the ball into the ND circle. The ball did not find a Glebe stick and a promising chance came to nothing. A minute later ND had an excellent opportunity in front of the Glebe goal. The Glebe defence scrabbled well and defused the situation.

Glebe’s back and side passing was overdone today. Fortunately, there were no slip-ups and we did not cough-up a goal. The fullbacks need to take the ball to the opposition’s line of forwards and then crack the ball at the right-hand corner post, or left-hand corner post on the left-hand side of the field, if no obvious pass opens up. The passing should be faster, sooner and not delayed. The forwards want the early ball before the gaps are closed down.

Midway through the second quarter Cameron Johnston drove the ball to Aiden Najdzion standing on the penalty stroke spot in front of the ND goal. A scrabble ensued and Glebe were awarded the first of its two penalty corners. The push-out was not accurate and the make-shift arrangements at the top of the circle resulted in a half-paced shot at goal which was easily saved by the ND goal keeper.

When a forward is in front of the goal the goal keeper positions himself between the forward with the ball and the goal. This is goalkeeping 101. It is pointless for the forward to shoot the ball into the goalkeepers’ pads. The ball has to be finessed around the goalkeeper before a shot is taken. The moral of this story is do not shoot unless you can see a clear path between for the ball on your stick into the opposition goal.

Towards the end of the second quarter there was too much pulling the ball back when a half a break was happing. The forwards should be prepared to ride-out defensive tackles and resist pulling the ball back and allowing the opposition players time to get in front of the ball. When half-a-break has been made every effort should be made to keep the momentum going forward and try to continue at pace and ride-out a tackle.

With four minutes to go in the second quarter, after a poor clearance from a Glebe defender, ND gained possession of the ball and penetrated the Glebe circle, with a penalty corner ensuing. The corner was well defended by Glebe aided by a poor push out by ND. The score at the end of the second quarter was Glebe 0 ND 0, although ND looked the team more likely to score, the territory was 50-50 and there was not much separating the two teams.

The Glebe mid-field needed to accelerate quicker and more often with the ball and draw opposition players before delivering a pass to the forwards. The side to side passing, which was too slow and ponderous did not create any gaps, as the ND team just shuffled across from side to side and no gaps were created.

A minute into the third quarter Glebe midfielder Paul Jowett passed the ball down the right wing to Tony Wark who raced down the wing before centring the ball into the ND circle where it caught a ND player’s  foot and Glebe were awarded a penalty corner. From this corner Brad Goodridge hit the ball, not a particularly hard hit towards the ND goal. It clipped a ND player’s stick and deflected into the ND goal. Glebe 1 ND 0, which was an ideal start for Glebe to the third quarter.

Glebe tended to be too narrow in attack, using the centre of the field rather than its full width. The pass was often turned infield when it would have been better to pass the ball wide and stretch the ND defence. Paul Jowett and Sam Bagley had the right idea with most of their passes going down the sideline, some driven, others a controlled, firm push.

A couple of the Glebe forwards had the ball running at top pace towards the ND circle, but were picked off by the ND defence. When running at pace with the ball a variation of direction, a zig and -zag here and there would prevent the defender from being able to decide when and how he is going to lay the tackle on.

For the last four minutes of the third quarter ND were pressuring the Glebe defence, probing for holes, which held firm. Adam Campano, Chris Farrugia and Cameron Johnston were reading the game well and took excellent field position. When the halves and fullbacks were hemmed-in and were having trouble clearing the ball from defence, particularly out wide, the Glebe forwards need to take the front position and not be content to stand behind a ND player, who would cut off the pass. The third quarter finished at Glebe 1 ND 0, with territory being 50-50.

Heading into the final quarter it was still anyone’s game. It was the first time in 2023 that Glebe came out for the fourth quarter in front. Glebe had a few charges down the right wing, with the ball coming across the face of the ND goal but the Glebe forward(s) in front of ND goal took poor field position and their attempts to deflect the ball into the ND goal were poor. More practice on this aspect of our game would yield significantly better goal scoring ability.

Five minutes into the fourth quarter a Glebe defender, 30 metres out from the Glebe backline and 15 metres in from the righthand sideline passed the ball towards a teammate in the centre of field. The ball was intercepted and a four ND forwards against two Glebe field players resulted. It looked likely that ND would score.  Jacob Warnock advanced towards the ball carrier who delivered a slowish pass to a teammate in front of the empty Glebe goal. Chris Farrugia had sprinted back in defence and managed to intercept this ball and saved a certain gaol. This was the one that got away for ND.

Midway through the fourth quarter Brad Goodridge on the Glebe 30m mark delivered a firm, quick ball to Zane Goodridge, who relayed the ball wide to Tony Wark, Tony sprinted down into the righthand pocket, before hitting the ball across the ND circle. No Glebe forward was able to get a stick on this cross.

ND were trying to rally, but Glebe did not give them any room and tackled well under pressure. Zane Goodridge, Darren French and Aiden Najdzion covered a lot of territory during this period. Four minutes from fulltime ND won a penalty corner after an attempted pass from a Glebe defender upfield, down the centre was intercepted by a ND forward and who then advanced towards the Glebe defending circle. A scramble developed inside the circle and  a vigorous tackle by a Glebe defender drew a penalty corner from the umpire.

The push-out of the ND corner was poor and they did not get much time to get a shot away. Goalkeeper Jacob Warnock easily saved the shot, but in doing so kicked the ball high and another penalty corner was awarded. From its fourth penalty corner ND flicked at hand height to Jacob’s right and he made a comfortable save. Sam Bagley and Cameron Johnston were getting out very quickly, denying ND anytime to organise a hit or a drag flick. Their running out was excellent.

The last three minutes were tense and exciting, with ND trying hard to level the score and Glebe trying equally hit to stop any circle penetrations and ND shots on goal. Glebe did well during this period to prevent ND entering its 22-metre area. With one-minute remaining Brad Goodridge produced an excellent 35 metre overhead flick into the ND defending righthand corner pocket and the game was over before ND could get the ball out of its half. The final score was Glebe 1 defeated ND 0.

It was an interesting tussle, which could have gone either way. Glebe had a bit of luck today. I think it was due for a change of luck, as I do not think we have been getting our 50% share in recent matches, particularly in our last match against Briars.

Congratulations Glebe third grade on your first win of the season.

Next Saturday 27 May 2023 the team plays UNSW at Daceyville with a 12.30 pm start time. I think UNSW are about the same standard as Glebe. Perhaps a fraction better, but we will see next week.


Harry Wark


Report on the Glebe v Northern Districts Third Grade game played 1230 hours, 20 May  2023 at the Cintra Turf, Concord.