3rd Grade Men’s v Northern Districts 18 June 2022 at Sydney Olympic Park

Result: Glebe 2 defeated Northern Districts 1

Half-time: Glebe 2 Northern Districts 1

Penalty corners: Glebe 7 (two goal) Northern Districts 1 (no goal)

Scorers: Simon Wark, Tony Wark

Glebe players: Chris Farrugia, Sam Bagley, Adam Campano, Tony Wark, Clark Foster (GK), Max Spalton, Craig Martin, Aiden Najdzion, Pat Wark, Brad Goodridge, Andrew Cheong, Simon Wark Cameron Johnston, Jamie Travis.

Glebe umpire: Mac Noller

Unavailable players: Michael Wark (permanently retired, career-ending recurrent hamstring injury), Jacob Warnock (broken bone in hand), Jackson Howe, Sid Roache,

Pre-match prediction:

It is three weeks since we last played a game and we might be a little rusty. After eight games we are equal eight with Briars on the competition table, with our opponents Northern Districts last out of eleven teams. Northern Districts have had 69 goals scored against them in eight games, have yet to score a goal and have zero competition points. Looking at these statistics I predict that Glebe will win this game 2-0.

Match Report:

It was a perfect day for playing hockey, with the sun shining, the sky blue, little wind and a temperature of around 15oC. This was our second game on the Olympic pitch this season.

Time-on was started before the teams ran onto the pitch and two and a half minutes had elapsed before the starting whistle for the game was blown. The Tech Official’s dugout was a bit trigger happy today.

I would like to thank Club Captain Mac Noller for umpiring our game today. Your efforts are much appreciated. He did an excellent job. An official umpire officiated at the other end.

The initial stanzas of the game were played in the mid-field and it took both teams five minutes to settle into the game. Glebe needed more anticipation as to where the ball was going next. Northern Districts telegraphed a lot of their passes but the Glebe players did not read the game well enough to pick these passes off. Glebe looked best when we broke quickly from defence and the ball was moved quickly down the sideline. Several very promising breakaway movements broke down when a Glebe player could not gather in the final pass with only the goal keeper in front of him.

Somewhat against the run of play ND attacked the Glebe circle in the inside right alley. The ball was won by a Glebe defender, but the clearance was not well directed and was pushed directly to a ND player. The ball was passed to the ND winger on Glebe’s defending 22 metre line as it intersected with the sideline. The ND attacker ran the ball down the sideline and along the backline and had a shot at goal from millimetres from the backline. An angle from which very few goals are scored. I am not sure that the ball would have passed through the gap that he was shooting at.

The ball was not struck particularly well and hit the Glebe goalkeeper Clarke Foster pads and lodged between his pads. Clark moved his right leg back to dislodge the ball, and freakishly the dislodged ball rolled backwards and over the Glebe goal line for a ND goal. The ball struck by the ND defender would have missed the Glebe goal if it had not hit Clark on the pads. This ND goal was a very lucky break for them, a fluke, but that is sport. Extraordinary things do happen. Clark was in good position on his post, but the fickle finger of fate was against him.

The rest of the first quarter was hard fought with Glebe creating several good goal scoring opportunities which went begging. An overhead from half Craig Martin  standing on halfway against the left-hand sideline to Jamie Travis on ND’s defensive 22 was a great pass. Jamie gathered the ball ran into the circle evaded two defenders with a brilliant change of direction and hit a cracking shot at the ND goal from the top of the circle. Unfortunately, the hard-hit shot went wide of the goals. This was a great piece of hockey. The score at quarter time was Glebe 0 ND 1.

Glebe needed more determination and intensity in the 50-50 contests and when scoring opportunities in the circle were in the offering. Glebe created several guilt edged scoring chances, but the goal craft in the circle by the Glebe forwards was poor. In a one on one with a goalkeeper advancing from his goal towards the ball, it is a poor option to push the ball directly at his pads. What is required is to drag the ball to his left-hand side and only push the ball goalward when there is a clear path beside the goalkeeper into the goal.

Some of our players were a bit too soft in the tackle and we needed to be more committed to getting the ball in the tackle. Nine minutes into the second quarter Simon Wark had a cracking shot at goal which was tipped around the post by the ND’s goalkeeper’s stick. This was a very good save, I am not sure whether it was luck or great skill, either way Glebe were denied a goal. Two minutes later ND were awarded its first and only penalty corner of the game. The ball was stopped and hit by a ND player into the Glebe goal and it looked as if Glebe had slipped to a 0-2 deficit. The goal was disallowed as the umpire ruled that the ball had not left the circle before the shot was taken. The rules state that the ball must travel outside the circle before being brought back into the circle for a shot at goal. This was a let off for Glebe.

Twelve minutes into the second quarter Tony Wark made a fast run down the left wing into the ND circle where the ball found the foot of a ND defender and a penalty corner was awarded to Glebe. From this corner Tony Wark hit a hard shot straight at the goalkeeper who made the save, but the ball rebounded to Sam Bagley who had a shot, also saved by the goalkeeper, with this rebound falling nicely for Simon Wark who pushed the ball into the back of the net. Glebe 1 ND1.

Two minutes before the end of the second quarter Glebe centre-half Pat Wark 30 metres out from the ND goal in the inside right alley pushed a hard ball to Tony Wark in the ND circle. The ball caught a ND’s defender’s foot and Glebe were awarded their third penalty corner of the game. Tony Wark sent a hard flick to the right of the goalkeeper. The goalkeeper got a glove to the ball but could not stop it flying into the back of the net. Glebe 2 ND 1, which was the score at half-time.

Fullbacks Chris Farrugia and Adam Campano were solid at the back and rarely did the ND forwards get past them. They tackled outside the circle if they could and their distribution was excellent.

In the third quarter, at times, there was too much aimless passing around the back. The defenders need to occasionally take the ball to the line, draw an opposition forward to them and hit the ball to a Glebe player in the mid-field or in the attacking line. Glebe used the long-driven pass from the back along the sideline to good effect in the third quarter. This was a good tactic, spread the ND defence and opened up gaps for us. It should not be overdone, but it is a good option to have in the kitbag.

Halves Max Spalton, Sam Bagley, Craig Martin and Cameron Johnston had solid games in the half line. They were effective when tackling, closed gaps quickly, took good field position and delivered some excellent balls down the sidelines to our wide forwards. Cameron delivered a few excellent overheads down the sideline. Inside forwards Andrew Cheong and Aiden Najdzion covered a lot of territory, closed our defensive gaps quickly and read the game well.

Glebe won three penalty corners in the third quarter. The ND first runner was getting out very quickly and prevented the first shot on two occasions and the third corner Brad Goodridge hit wide of the goal. Glebe was making frequent penetrations into the ND circle, making excellent scoring positions but were let down by poor circle craft and poor goal shooting. It was disappointing to realize that we were not converting favourable field position, circle penetrations and excellent goal scoring opportunities into goals. The score at the end of the third quarter was Glebe 2 ND 1.

Heading into the final quarter and only leading by one goal, Glebe’s hold on the game was precarious. ND were not making many circle penetrations and did not look dangerous, but they had a couple of forwards with a bit of speed who looked as if they might be able to score a goal given the right opportunity. It was still anyone’s game.

Early in the fourth quarter Glebe made an excellent attacking raid down the right side of the field. The ND defence was split. The ball came across the face of the ND goal, but the Glebe forwards attempting to sweep the ball into the goal missed the ball. An excellent scoring opportunity went begging.

ND played a man high, but the Glebe defence read the game well and did not allow the ND forwards any room to manoeuvre. Chris Farrugia passed a couple on 40-50 metre hard driven passes down the left-hand sideline, from deep defence which were particularly effective. These passes turned defence into attack. Playing the ball along the sideline was a low-risk option for us and did not allow ND to easily transfer the ball from one side of the field to the other and dangerous midfield turnovers were eliminated. Brad Goodridge made a couple of crucial tackles in deep defence late in the quarter to dispossess a ND forward who was starting to look dangerous.

We started to get too slow with our passing, which allowed ND to get set in defence and subsequently hard to penetrate.  In defence we started to aimlessly pass the ball around the back, which did not yield any results for us. A defender with the ball needs to advance, draw a forward to him and hit the ball hard, at right angles to the backline into the space vacated by the advancing opposition forward.

Half-way through the final quarter ND after an excellent passing movement from deep defence, had one of its rare circle penetrations and scoring opportunities.  The Glebe defenders put the ND forward shooting for goal under pressure and his shot at goal went wide. A ND goal at this stage of the game would have been disappointing.

In the final quarter the territory was around 50-50, with most of the play in the middle of the field. In the final minute of the fourth quarter the ball caught a ND defender’s foot inside the ND circle after an excellent Andrew Cheong run and Glebe were awarded their seventh penalty corner. The ball from the battery was pushed to the lefthand side of the ND goal looking for a deflection from by Andrew Cheong as he advanced from the top of the circle. Andrew missed the ball and an excellent chance was missed. Sound familiar.

The final whistle was blow and the game finished Glebe 2, ND 1. The result was in doubt up until the final whistle. Today’s game was a win and the three points are ours, but it was a game in which we had enough chances to score four or five more goals.  Today’s game was the first time for a long time that we were not under the pump for most of the game, and in which we had a territorial advantage. It felt great to be in the driving seat for most of the game, rather than marshaling desperate defence for long periods of a game. Congratulations players on your win.

Next Saturday 25 June we play UNSW at Cintra Park at 12.30 pm. Tip for the forwards—practice a bit of circle craft and goal craft during the week.