An earlier game for round 2 starting at 3pm. Nice blue skies, a bit of heat but a nice breeze to even it out. As we began our preparations, there was a nice, relaxed atmosphere in the team and it was a good run out in the warm up.
As we started the game, Glebe had a few promising looks of attack into the oppositions right hand corner. After those first few attacks, Glebe couldn’t seem to find their connections. We seemed a bit off in our passing and what we needed to do.
Shortly into the game, Mark Patterson was hit in the nose with either a stick or a shoulder off the ball. Blood streaming out of his nose, Mark was forced to leave the field to get cleaned up. Play continued for a few minutes and glebe still couldn’t find their feet. Briars were controlling it well from the back and taking control of the game.
On the sideline, an altercation occurred with Mark Patterson and an opposition player, resulting in Mark getting a red card and being forced to leave the premises. Glebe went into a huddle and had a discussion about our tactics with our new roster of only 10 men. We had some calming words and knew that we had to play for each other this game.
The next 60 minutes of hockey was some of the most passionate hockey I have been a part of and witnessed on a hockey field. With a reduced 10 men, the backs made sure to play solid in their passing and tackling. We seemed quite fortified, remaining calm and collected in our play. Briars played it around the back quite a bit and kept possession, but rarely looked like scoring.
As the tensions were high from the previous incident, the game became filled with emotion from both teams. The Glebe players were focused and determined and didn’t get too sucked into the bullshit of the game. After the dodgy start to the game, Glebe settled in their play, working with each other and creating some great passages, looking dangerous through the sides of the field.
Briars ended up getting two cards for hitting the ball away when it was our ball, which eased up the gas and legs and gave us some breathing room in our play. It was back and forth, with Briars having more possession in the second quarter, but Glebe looked deadly in the counter attacks. It seemed like we had a goal coming and it was only a matter of time. We had two short corners, one flick from Ben Martin, bottom left saved by the keeper. And one hit by Ross Bougukas, same spot, same outcome.
Our consistent plays out from the back was Mitchell Brain transferring it to Corey Morrow and Dom Tintner in the halves, with some quick rolls up the line and bursts in attack from the defensive and attacking midfielders, Ross, Sam AP, Cam Jones, Mack Noller and many of the second graders that were filling in and running their hearts out – Dylan Howe, Victor Dunand and Andrew Rice. Forwards Ben Martin and Tim Pritchard were having some damaging runs that looked like their could be some danger, but were unfortunate to not get that final credit.
The umpires were very card happy this game after the tempers flaring, but other than our red card, Briars cop the brunt of it. They ended up with at least 6 cards that I can remember, allowing Glebe to stay in the game.
In the third quarter is when we really started to break into the oppositions D with some purpose. Often it was just some hard knocks in looking for glebe sticks or working our way in round the edges, but it seemed like Glebe had most of the control. Since we had 10 men, we would have some big bursts down the oppositions end of the field, but when these attempts did not pay off, it took a whole lot of gas. We were running quick subs of 2-3 minute intervals with only 10 fresh men. Meanwhile Briars had 5 on the bench.
Coming into the fourth quarter it was still 0-0. We had some great attacks down into the right corner early on. A few crosses into the dot saw the keeper come out and challenge and fend away a few opportunities, it seemed like there was a scrappiness inside their circle that at any time a goal could get pinched. Finally, a cross made it through all the defenders and bobbled up off the keepers pads to Victor Dunand on the post to put it away to get us 1-0 up. The energy and passion the boys showed in this last quarter was electric.
After some more continuous play in the opposition half for the next 7 minutes, Sam Prideaux had the ball on the 25 for a long corner free hit almost in line with the goals. He passed it out to Tim Pritchard out on the left-hand sideline, 2m into the opposition 25. Tim looked for the Glebe player running to the T spot, dummied and took the ball in field, beating the defender and dragging another defender to him. He got the ball through to Andrew Rice, who turned towards goal but had no clear shot. Andrew rolled the ball to Mack Noller on the Baseline, who flicked it on a tight angle into the keepers pads. The ball rebounded to a briars player next to Mack. The two both tackled the ball at the same time and it popped out into a free space. Mack dived and slapped the ball through the keepers legs into the back corner of the goal. 2-0 up.
At this point of the game, the true Glebe spirit, heart and determination had been shown in every ounce of every player who stepped onto that field in a Glebe jersey. We dug as deep as we could in extreme circumstances, throwing everything we had in us at the wall to hold on, but Briars were coming for us. Their subs and fresh legs showed here as the Glebe boys were running around barely able to pick up their feet, but doing everything that they could to defend our quarter of the field.
Glebe was heavy on the defence, our backs tossing good overheads and clearances and trying to get the ball away. We still looked like we could score at points, but so could they. The desperation was building, you could see how tough the boys were feeling it, but no one ever dropped or stopped. There was a barrage of balls coming into our 25 or circle that had guys diving, swinging wildly, chucking their body on the line and doing everything they possibly could to save our goals – you could see the fatigue in our players but the effort and energy was still there in every swing and tackle.
Briars got numerous short corners throughout the game, and almost every single one was deflected by our keeper, Ben Smith, who had a great game in goals and got players player. It would be tough for any player on the field to have gotten players player since everyone showed an equal amount of guts, determination and dedication to our great club, but to be on 10 men and be held to a clean sheet for 60 minutes shows how much credit needs to be given to Ben in this game because Briars definitely had their chances.
In the last 6 minutes, though, our bastion was finally broken through a short corner of briars, a trap, spin and slap into the corner. This last 6 minutes was just pure heart and spirit of Glebe hockey, the raw emotion and feeling that every single bloke poured onto that field was incredible, and I feel so proud to have been there to witness/be a part of it it. We were getting put under the pump, Briars fresh legs were showing, the boys were scrambling. We did everything we could but with 30 seconds to go, Briars were able to get a penalty corner. Briars drag flicked it into the bottom left corner to end on a 2-2 draw.
This game was something to be proud of -it represented everything there is to love about our great club. It showed what has been built up in the culture and heritage in our club from the likes of club family legends – Nilans, Warks and Pattersons, etc., the pure grit, heart and hunger to win. I have no doubt that any of these legendary family members would have been proud of what our boys achieved. A 2-2 draw is a great result to come away with only 10 men, but I think each and every one of us that went in to battle felt like we should have won that war.
One of the umpires came to our dugout and commented on how well we dealt with the situation, how much heart we played with, and that we probably deserved that 2-1 win. There were elements of the game that we wish would not have happened, but the manner in which we dealt with the circumstances was something special. A great day for our team and club. Go Glebe!