Result: Glebe 3 lost to Sutherland 4
Half-time: Glebe 1 Sutherland 3
Penalty corners: Glebe 3 (one goal) Sutherland 9 (one goal)
Scorers: Brad Goodridge, Max Spalton, Paul Jowett
Glebe players: Chris Farrugia, Sam Bagley, Adam Campano, Tony Wark, Paul Jowett, Clark Foster (GK), Max Spalton, Craig Martin, Aiden Najdzion, Pat Wark, James Martin, Brad Goodridge.
Unavailable players: Michael Wark (permanently retired, career-ending recurrent hamstring injury), Jacob Warnock (broken bone in hand), Jackson Howe, Sid Roache, Simon Wark, Andrew Cheong (second grade)
The game was played under a partly cloudy sky, with little breeze and an air temperature around 20oC, ideal for hockey.
Sutherland started strongly, had 90% of the territory for the first 10 minutes of the game and Glebe found it hard to penetrate the crafty, solid Sutherland mid-field. Sutherland’s passing, trapping, ball skills, speed and game plan were excellent. Things did not look good for the men in Maroon, but they kept tackling well, taking good field position and made life hard for Sutherland forwards.
Glebe was under constant pressure but Tony Wark was very kept high in the hope that a quick 50 metre pass from the back might find him in space and he might be able to jag a goal. This was a sensible tactic. Wing halves Sam Bagley, James Martin, Brad Goodridge, Max Spalton put in a sterling effort scrambling in defence and denied Sutherland any easy shots at goal. Under 17 mid-fielder Aiden Najdzion was more involved today, covered a lot of ground in both attack and defence and did well.
I had the impression that it was only a matter of time before Sutherland scored as they had had over a dozen shots on goal, none of which were golden opportunities, as they were under pressure when shooting because of the tenacity of the Glebe full-backs Adam Campano and Chris Farrugia. Sam Bagley’s driven passes down the sideline got Glebe out of trouble on many occasions. It was a perfect tactic considering the state of the game.
At times the Glebe players were a fraction too slow in making their passes to a teammate and this enabled the fast Sutherland players to regroup and close the gaps, or allowed the Sutherland players time to tackle the Glebe ball carrier. With 10 seconds left in the quarter Sutherland attacked down the right wing and Glebe were a bit short in defence. From a quickly taken free-hit the ball eventually came across the face of the Glebe goal for a Sutherland forward to sweep the ball into the goal from one metre out, giving Glebe goalkeeper Clark Foster no chance.
The score at the end of quarter time was Glebe 0 Sutherland 1. It was only Glebe tenacity, experience and physical effort that limited Sutherland from scoring more goals.
In the first few minutes of the second quarter Sutherland swarmed all over the Glebe defence and their forwards had 5-6 scores at goal that were saved by Clark Foster or went wide of the goal. Clark’s reading of the game was excellent, he knows when to say at home in his goals and when to attack the advancing forward. In the first 25 minutes of the game Glebe had made very few attacking circle penetrations and Sutherland had 70% of the territory.
Sutherland were moving the ball fast and using the full width of the field probing for openings. Glebe was hanging on for dear life. Pat Wark was solid at centre-half and was making it difficult for Sutherland to attack straight down the centre of the field. Seven minutes into the second quarter Sutherland attacked down the right wing and a cross was driven across the Glebe circle. A Glebe defender tried to stop the ball in front of the Glebe goal. Unfortunately, 95% of the pace was taken off the ball and it then sat-up for a Sutherland forward to sweep it into the Glebe goal, Glebe 0 Sutherland 2.
Life was tough for the Maroons and Sutherland kept swarming forward. Three minutes after the second goal Sutherland scored again making the score Glebe 0 Sutherland 3. The goal came from a scramble in the circle where Glebe defenders, admittedly under considerable pressure, had a couple of changes to clear the ball wide, but instinctively pushed the ball straight down the ground. After one such clearance a Sutherland forward stopped the ball just inside the circle and hammered it past the Glebe goalkeeper. With better option taking here we might have been able to prevent this goal. When under pressure, a clearance parallel to the backline is usually more preferable than a clearance at right angles to the backline.
In the last 5-10 minutes of the second quarter Sutherland had a series of penalty corners that were well defended by Glebe. Max Spalton was good at first runner, put the drag flicker under pressure and did not allow him to line-up his shot. The Glebe defenders needed to step into their tackles more and not let the Sutherland forwards run. Sutherland were cruising and Glebe was finding it hard to compete.
With 4 minutes remaining in the second quarter Glebe made one of its few circle penetrations and was awarded a penalty corner. Brad Goodridge struck the ball well and it flew pass the goalkeeper’ s right hand side into the net, Glebe 1 Sutherland 3, which was the score at Half-Time.
Sutherland started the third quarter confidently and made a few 70 metre breaks, outpacing the Glebe defence and creating two Sutherland forwards to one Glebe defender situations. The field position taken up by the solitary Glebe defender and goalkeeper Clark Forster forced the Sutherland forwards wide so that they had to take their shots from less-than-ideal field positions. All shots went wide of the goal. Chris Farrugia put some excellent well hit long balls to the high forwards, which looked like our best attacking option.
In the first 9 minutes of the third quarter Sutherland had many circle penetrations and won three penalty corners, the first two of which were well saved by Glebe. Sutherland scored from a lay-off to the left from the third one Glebe 1 Sutherland 4. Glebe was having trouble holding the ball for any length of time and had trouble clearing the ball from defence. Midway through the third quarter Glebe started to gain a bit more field position and were able to exert more pressure on the Sutherland defence. Eleven minutes in the third quarter Aiden Najdzion missed a backstick shot at goal from three metres out, at a reasonably acute angle. This was Glebe’s best scoring opportunity since Brad’s penalty corner goal in the first quarter.
Glebe had 55% of the territory in the back-haff of the third quarter. Sutherland’s goal scoring opportunities came from 70 metre runs from defence. One of these Sutherland attacks resulted in a cracking shot at goal by a Sutherland forward which was stopped by a great hand save by Clark Foster. The score at the end of the third quarter was Glebe 1 Sutherland 4. On the flow of the game for the first three quarters Glebe did not give me the impression that it had much chance to win or draw the game.
The team talk at three-quarter time break was very positive and players were extolled to dig deep and try hard for this grand old Club of ours.
Glebe came out with a positive approach in the final quarter and early in the quarter Tony Wark had a sharp tomahawk shot from six metres out just to the right of the Sutherland goal. He miss-hit the ball and it went wide of the goal. Sutherland was awarded its ninth penalty corner five minutes into the quarter which resulted from a sloppy tackle (as assessed by the umpire) outside the Glebe circle, but inside the 22-metre area. Again, the Glebe runners did the team proud and preventing Sutherland from getting a shot on goal.
James and Craig Martin were playing well. James tackled well, ran well with the ball, took good field position and created a few good attacking opportunities in the last ten minutes of play.
Glebe rallied in the last 10 minutes of the game and started to exert pressure on the Sutherland defence. With 10 minutes to go in the game Englishman Max Spalton fielded a loose Sutherland clearance on Sutherland’s 22 metre line a metre in from the sideline. He ran down the sideline, then along the backline, all the while the Sutherland defenders thought he was going to pass the ball and did not tackle him. Max kept running with the ball, ran it into the circle and pushed the ball into the Sutherland goal. It was great run by Max and poor defending by Sutherland. Glebe 2 Sutherland 4.
With 3 minutes left in the game left half Craig Martin received the ball near half-way on the left hand side of the field and quickly passed it along the sideline up to left-wing Tony Wark. Tony beat the Sutherland defender for pace and cracked a pass across the face of the Sutherland goal. A scramble ensued and the ball popped out to Paul Jowett standing on the top of the Sutherland circle. Paul cleverly eliminated an advancing Sutherland defender and cracked a powerful shot past the goalkeeper. Glebe 3 Sutherland 4.
With two minutes remaining in the game Sutherland were now very worried. After looking the goods for 90% of the game, the wheels were now staring to come off when they were put under pressure. Glebe threw players forward looking for the equaliser and won two penalty corners in the last 90 seconds. I had the feeling that if Brad could be given a chance for a direct hit at goal from a corner, he was at reasonable odds to score and draw the game for Glebe. The two penalty corners were not well executed, the push-out was crooked with one, and the stop was muffed in the other. Brad did not get the opportunity to shoot for goal.
The games finished Glebe 3 Sutherland 4. It was an exciting and tense last 10 minutes for both teams. The effort, determination, grit, and teamwork displayed by the players in this game was inspiring. To almost draw with a team that had more speed and agility, better teamwork, more skill and were on average substantially younger than the Glebe team was an outstanding effort. Congratulations team.