Men’s 3rd Grade v Northern Districts – 19 June 2021 at Cintra Hockey Field

Result:  Glebe 9 defeated Northern Districts 1

Half-time:  Glebe 3 – Northern Districts 0

Penalty corners:  Glebe 9 (2 goals), Northern Districts 2 (1 goal)

Penalty Strokes:  Glebe 1 (1 goal)

Goal Scorers:  Paul Jowett 3, Michael Wark 3, Luke Pollock 2, Tyson Hickey 1.

Glebe players: Chris Farrugia, Sam Bagley, Adam Campano, Tony Wark, Paul Jowett, Zane Goodridge, Will Brine, Clark Foster, Luke Pollock, Daniel Martin, Michael Wark, Simon Wark, Tyson Hickey, Pat Wark, Al Cullen. Unavailable players Jackson Howe (back)


Pre-match prediction:

After 8 games our record is 2 wins, 1 draw and 5 losses. We are currently sitting 8th out of 11 on the competition table and have a goal difference of -12.  We played ND on 17 April 2021 at Pennant Hills where we lost 1-3. This was our worst game of the season by a considerable margin.

Unless we can win against the teams in the bottom half of the table, our chances of making the top six and progressing to the finals series are poor. With our key players fit for today’s game, I think we should be able to turn the tables on ND in this game, and start our climb up the ladder. My prediction is for a Glebe win 4-1.

We have three Glebe under 17 players in today’s line-up, Will Brine, Zane Goodridge and goalkeeper Clark Foster. It is Clark’s first game in the third-grade team. Team regulars Andrew Cheong and Jacob Warnock are playing in the second-grade team today.


Match Report

The game was played on a cloudy, windy, cold June day. Fortunately, the predicted rain held off during the game.

Glebe played well today. It was a team effort, with no hero runs or individual one-outs. The ND team had half a team of good players, but also a few who were not quite up to third grade standard.

The team is playing a four halves structure, two forwards in front of them and two high strikers. This means it is hard for opposition teams to penetrate down the middle of the field. Al Cullen was a tower of strength at fullback. His tackling technique with the stick out, flat on the turf and body low and the feet back is textbook. He was well supported by Adam Campano, Chris Farrugia and Sam Bagley who rotated through the full back positions. They anticipated well, took excellent field position, and delivered the early ball if it was on. Will Brine, also playing in defence, has a long reach and makes some great tackles on the run. However when he is tackling front-on he needs to get lower, stick flatter and defend his legs, just like Al Cullen does.

Clark Foster in goals had a competent game for the team. He saved a shot from 3 metres out early in the game, which was an excellent reflex. In the second half he showed good judgement when confronted with a 1 on 1 with a ND forward. His positioning and the timing of his tackle showed great maturity. Congratulations Clark on your performance.

The midfield of Luck Pollock, Pat Wark, Simon Wark, Will Brine, Kane Goodridge, and Daniel Martin quickly closed off any gaps in defence and tried to deliver the early ball to the strikers if this was an option. On the odd occasion they hung on to the ball a bit too long and gave the ND forwards the opportunity to dispossess them and initiate a dangerous counterattack from the middle of the field.

The strikers were Tyson Hickey, Tony Wark, Michael Wark and Paul Jowett. They kept good field position and looked dangerous throughout the game.

ND started strongly and keep possession of the ball for the first few minutes with good passing skills, although they could not penetrate the tight Glebe defence. Early on our passing was a little too ponderous, the ball delivery was too slow and the ball was not pushed or hit hard enough.

Six minutes into the game Glebe attacked down the left wing, worked the ball into the ND circle for a shot on goal, which caught a ND defender on the foot. Glebe’s first penalty corner was awarded, the first of nine for the game. The corner was well executed and Luck Pollock put a powerful, low push past the goalkeeper’s outstretched right leg, Glebe 1 ND 0. Glebe’s delivery of the ball from the back to the midfield and strikers was still slow and ponderous.

ND looked dangerous on the quick break, although they found it hard to penetrate the Glebe defence down the middle. Glebe had a squad of 16 players, but the rolling substitutions did not seem to affect the team’s game plan or cohesion.

Half-way through the first quarter ND broke down the right wing, the ball came across to a ND forward 3 metres from the Glebe goal line. The ensuing shot for goal by the ND forward from close range was saved by Glebe goalkeeper Clark Foster, with his left hand. A goal to ND here would have made the score 1-1, and boosted ND’s confidence.

It was an open game, with the ball frequently moving from end to end. The first quarter was reasonably even, with the territory about 50-50. The score at the end of the first quarter was Glebe 1 ND 0 and it was still anyone’s game. Some ND players had good stick and ball skills and a fair turn of speed and I thought at the end of the first quarter ND could still make a game of it.

Glebe started the second quarter strongly and made two particularly good raids down the left-hand sideline. Three minutes into the second quarter Michael Wark was put into space five metes from the ND right hand goal post on the backline. As he worked the ball along the backline towards the goal he was taken out by a player-and-all tackle by a ND defender, who got a yellow card and Glebe were awarded a penalty stroke.

Michael Wark took the penalty stroke and although the ball was low and close to the ND goalkeeper’s right pad it was travelling at speed and the keeper was unable to save it. Glebe 2 ND 0.

Midway through the second quarter a ND fullback took a 16-metre hit and attempted to pass it across to his fellow fullback. Michael Wark anticipated the pass, intercepted it, easily beat the ND goalkeeper and pushed the ball into the ND net. Glebe 3 ND 0. This goal came from a ND defensive error. Because of the earlier rain the pitch was playing a bit slower than usual. The ND fullback’s side pass made no allowance for the slow pitch conditions.

Glebe had a few penalty corners in this quarter. The push was wide of the battery once, the second well-struck corner was superbly saved by a ND defender standing just inside the left-hand goal post on the goal-line, and the third corner was mis-trapped by the battery stopper. The score at half-time was Glebe 3 ND 0. The territory was around 50-50, but Glebe had at least 17 circle penetrations in this quarter.

I had the impression that Glebe were the better team, and were going to win the game, but ND could not be written-off. A quick ND goal at the start of the third quarter might bring them back into the game.

Three minutes into the third quarter ND broke quickly and found a way through the central Glebe defence. An ND forward had the ball inside the Glebe circle a metre from the backline, 5 metres from the Glebe left hand goalpost, with no Glebe defender within ten metres of him except the Glebe goal keeper Clark Foster. Clark stayed in his goal, covering the direct shot at all times and edged his way forward as the ND forward worked the ball away from the backline so as to give himself a better angle for his shot on goal.

Clark always kept himself between the ND ball carrier and the Glebe goal and denied the ND ball carrier a clear pathway around him. The Glebe cover arrived, tackles were made and the dangerous situation defused. Clarke’s decision making under pressure could not be faulted. A goal here to ND would have made the score Glebe 3 ND 1 and ND would have sniffed a chance to get back into the game.

ND continued to pressure the Glebe defence, but the Glebe defence tackled strongly, covered a lot of territory and read the game well. Daniel Martin made a few penetrating runs from the midfield into the ND circle and created several dangerous scoring opportunities for his fellow Glebe forwards. A couple of shots went just wide of the goal.

Midway through the third quarter the fullbacks fed a quick ball to Al Cullen who was 5 metres inside the ND half, three metres inside the left-hand sideline. Al sensed that the ND defence were a bit thin on number and delivered a killer pass to Tony Wark, who quickly passed to Michael Wark at the top of the ND circle in the inside left position. With the ND goal keeper advancing on him, Michael passed across the face of the ND goal for Paul Jowett to push the ball into the net from three metres out. This goal involved a lot of teamwork. Glebe 4 ND 0. It was unlikely that ND were going to stage a come-back from this position.

Zane Goodridge was involved with several good passing movements in the second half of the third quarter. He fired away a quick pass, sprinted to an advanced field position and received the return pass, eliminating a couple of ND defenders in the process.

With 20 seconds left in the quarter a ND fullback tried another side pass across to his fellow fullback, only for Michael Wark to swoop again and put the ball into the ND goal. The moral of the story is not to use the side pass if there is any chance of an opposition forward intercepting the ball because he has anticipated the pass. The score at the end of the third quarter was Glebe 5 ND 0. A Glebe win was not in doubt now.

At the beginning of the fourth-quarter it was end to end stuff, as ND tried to attack a bit more than they had done in the first three quarters. Glebe were playing a good team game, keeping the ball wide, finding a striker on the backline, who had the option of either running the ball along the backline, or passing the ball to a teammate on the penalty stroke spot.

Glebe tried a couple of penalty corner variations by taking the push out from the non-conventional side, the left-hand side of the goalkeeper. These looked dangerous. From the second attempt at this variation Luke Pollock deflected a firm push across the face of the ND goal into the net. Glebe 6 ND 0.

Nine minutes into the final quarter Sam Bagley saw an unmarked Michael Wark high in the right wing position a few metres inside ND territory and delivered Michael a crash ball. Michael ran the ball down the right wing, before sending a firmly stuck hit across the face of the ND goal to Tyson Hickey. Tyson stopped and controlled the ball, which was travelling at considerable speed, with great skill and pushed it into the ND goal. Glebe 7 ND 0.

Halfway through the final quarter the Glebe midfield became a bit lackadaisical and allowed the ND forwards more space than was prudent, our urgency waned, our tackling became less purposeful and soft, and we did not pass the ball forward quick enough. We were dispossessed several times when we had possession, when a quick push or, even better, a quick hit towards the corner post would have been a much better, less risky option.

With eight minutes remaining in the game ND were awarded its first penalty corner. The ensuing shot at goal hit a Glebe foot, which resulted in another ND penalty corner. The push shot from the battery was a good one and found the Glebe backboard. Glebe 7 ND 1.

ND were pushing up now and a quick ball from defence found an unmarked Tyson Hickey in the inside left alley 25 metres from the ND backline. Tyson saw Paul Jowett situated on the top of the ND circle and quickly hit the pass across to Paul. In the ensuing 1 on 1 with the goal-keeper Paul showed composure and skill to manoeuvre the ball around the advancing goal keeper and push the ball into the empty net. Glebe 8 ND 1.

The Glebe defence realised that ND were short in defence and were delivering beautiful, early, well weighted, well directed ball to the strikers. The defences situational awareness, field awareness was faultless. The forwards put the ball into the net, but the defence were the players who created the outstanding opportunities.

With 60 seconds remaining in the game, the defence delivered a firmly struck clearance to Tyson Hickey 10 metes inside the ND half in the inside left position. Tyson saw Daniel Martin unmarked and delivered him an early pass. Daniel made a superb run into the ND circle and the ball popped up for Paul Jowett to hit a well struck tomahawk shot into the ND goal from 4 metres out. The final score was Glebe 9 ND 1.

It felt good to have a win after a win-free run of six games. The team played well today. It was a team effect, the tactics were good, the enthusiasm was there, the circle craft was excellent, we stuck to our game plan, and the team should be proud of its effort.

Craig Martin did an excellent job of calling the shots from the sideline, keeping the players concentrating on the job at hand, and ensuring that the overall plan was not disrupted when substitutions were rolled through.

Next week’s game is at 12.30 pm at Pennant Hills Park against Manly-GNS. This should be a winnable game for us, if we play as good as we played today.

Well done team.