Men’s 1st Grade v Northern Districts – 17 April 2021 at Pennant Hills Park

Result: 5 – 2 Win

A trip out to Pennant Hills is never a favourite for the Glebe men, however we always try to make it worth our while with and put in our best efforts.

As we started, Glebe seemed to get a decent foothold on the game, spreading the ball out through the halves and getting some rolls up the line into attack. The first few minutes saw no notable opportunities from either team as both teams tried to gain some possession.

Although Glebe seemed to be doing a decent job of getting touches on the ball and making some good passages of play down the side lines, I wouldn’t say that there was any dangerous play other than a couple of runs from the forwards that did not result in any fruits for their labour.

As the game progressed into the later half of the first quarter, Glebe began to show some promising signs in attack. A lot of our discussions have surrounded promoting the ball, giving a quick release and moving up the field as a unit. This started to show as we began to have some good passages of ball movement up the line from our halves into the midfield and from the midfield into the strikers.

Both Ben Martin and Tim Pritchard showed some great awareness in their play as they not only took on defenders, but often heard the calls of their reinforcement midfielders, dumping the ball back and re-leading forward for the second phase of the attack. Through these passages of play, dumping back and moving forward, Glebe began to show some promise and danger around the corners of the field and started to find penetrations into the circle with more numbers to cause some damage.

At the 10-minute mark, Tim Pritchard began a damaging run from the right sideline into the circle, beating 3 Northern Districts players with only the keeper to beat from the baseline. Something especially pretty about Tim’s run was how he barely moved the ball but used his stick as a way to manipulate defenders, showing them that he would pass to the Glebe man on the base line and then feigning to pass to the square ball available, not allowing the defenders to step forward or make a decision in their tackles and leaving them for dead with some simple jinks and drags. Tim had done most of the hard work and looked sure to score, but unfortunately was beaten away with a sliding stick save from the keeper as he tried to make his last drag for his finishing shot.

After this, Glebe grew in confidence and knew we could find our goals if we continued with these quick passes and runs from our forwards. It wasn’t long before Glebe worked a penalty corner, which was clinically put away from a trap, spin to the left from Ross Bougoukas to be stopped dead for a Ben Martin drag flick which went hard into the bottom right corner. 1-0 to Glebe.

Glebe continued with the same style and passages of play, working their way into the opposition corners, and then used their supporting players or stick skills to run the baseline and fire the 90-degree dump pass to some Glebe sticks. Within this time, Northern Districts had a few attacking opportunities, looking to transfer the ball across the field to their halves on our 25 line, and then attempting to work the ball in to their forwards. Although there were a few close calls, Glebe still looked strong, solid and in control of the game.

Into the second quarter, we found our way to gaining a few more penalty corners, with Ben Martin getting a drag flick goal from the top of the D, and the next being Ross Bougoukas with an upright hit to the post for Mack Noller for a simple deflection into the goal. 3-0 to Glebe. Not long after, Northern Districts struck back with a penalty corner – a hard drag flick that was almost deflected away by left posty Corey Morrow, who was unlucky to have his touch not quite find enough meat as the ball found the back of the net. 3-1.

As we moved into half time, Cutter spoke about how this was a 0-0 game and that the scoreboard meant nothing, we needed to put away the game and show that it was ours. As we started the third quarter, 1 minute in, Tim Pritchard and Ben Martin showed great energy in their press, and pouncing on a mistrap from the Northern Districts right half. Tim and Ben were two on one with the last ND defender at the top of the D, Tim feigned the pass right, dragged left and then cheekily backstick passed it square to Ben Martin who diving deflected it into the goal.

4-1 gave us some breathing room as we started the quarter, and breathing room was what we needed as the game began to get scrappy. Glebe were starting to get a bit flustered and tired, and the mistakes were starting to show – rather than holding onto the ball and valuing the possession, at times we were a bit too frantic and trying to always go forward. ND began to play much more aggressive which required tenacity and grit from Glebe to keep them out of the game and out of our 25.

In the last quarter, a ball down the line found Tim Pritchard, who sent it in to Sam Alexander-Prideaux who ended up in a flurry of sticks, defenders and the goalkeeper with the ball somehow finding it’s way into the back of the net.

The next 15 minutes was not pretty hockey, but Glebe did what they needed to do to keep ND at bay, until the last 5 seconds saw an opposition forward find a tomahawk into the back of our goals to end the game at 5-2. Realistically the score could have been more for Glebe and less for ND, but we still put our mark on the game and showed it was our deserved win.

Credit goes to the backs and halves for keeping us solid throughout 85% of the game in defence, with the midfielders doing some good work at times in giving our forwards the opportunities to score. Most credit for this game goes to both Tim Pritchard and Ben Martin, who did what forwards should do – get goals.

Ben Martin showed great grit and determination this game, making sure we got into the circle, making sure we got the goals we needed, and making sure we pressured the opposition defence – his high energy runs and presses had Northern Districts constantly on the back foot. Tim Pritchard showed some mesmerising skills, understanding how to manipulate defenders into allowing him the space to make his runs – Although Tim’s skills were silky and clean to watch, it was the way he moved his body and stick without touching the ball that did the real damage. Any aspiring glebe strikers would do well to watch and learn from these two.

Ben Martin players player with a hattrick.

Well done Glebe!