Match Reports

Kendall Wanderers 0ver 30s A 3 - 1 Boston Rovers

Match Statistics

OTHSL Division 2 South
Pine Banks, Melrose
Kickoff Time:
Pitch Conditions:
Team Lineup:
John O'Toole, Darren Skehan, Kenny McCarthy, Kieran Lowe, Mike McCormack, Paul Garvey, Shane McElwee, Mark Smethers, Barry McNulty (Capt.), Jonah Fontela, Donal Keane
Barry Roche, Kieran Ried, James Canny, Jesse Brown
Team Formation:
Goal Scorers:
Nic Sze, Jesse Brown(2(1 pen))
Barry McNulty, Jonah Fontela, ?
Man of the Match:
Jesse Brown
Shane McElwee for throwing the toys out of the pram!

Upon arriving at Pine Banks Field in Melrose on Wednesday night for our game vs Boston Rovers I noticed that there seemed to be a real air of expectation among the Kendall camp. The eagerness and sense of belief in ourselves was palpable...for a change. I don't know whether it was because we had a good turn out of players, the fact that the other team only had the bare 11, or simply because we knew that Rochey was starting on the bench. Maybe the accumulation of the 3 gave us a feeling that it was going to be a good night.

From the get go Kendall knocked the ball around comfortably for substantial periods. Kenny, Kieran, Daz and Mickey Mac were making it look simple, spreading the ball back and forth with relative ease. It was also fairly apparent that we had them for pace all over the park, especially with speed merchants like Garvey, Baz, Jonah and Keano on the wings and up front. Okay, okay, maybe not so much the last guy. Lining out in the center of the park was Smethers and Shaner. Like a central midfielder should, the two of them got a lot of touches of the ball early on and did a good job breaking up the opposition's attempts on offense. After struggling for numbers in recent games, it was refreshing to see a good turn out for a mid week game ( why the same lads can't make training on the same night in previous weeks though is lost upon of leader, Mickey Mac) Anyhow, the bench consisted of Rochey, CraSze, Chopper, Canny and Jesse Brown. Obviously all strong players and more than capable of flawlessly filling in for anyone in the starting line up.

In true Kendall fashion, there were only a handful of half chances made early on in the game. Jonah got goal-side of the last defender but from a very acute angle he failed to convert the chance. Baz also created a shot out of nothing, letting fly from 30 yards, just missing the top right corner of the goal. Keano also had a header on target but it was gathered comfortably by the barrel in the yellow jersey between the sticks. Finally, after good work on the left flank by James Canny he switched the ball into Baz who was about 25 yards out and dead center on the goal, Baz thought about having a go himself but there was an 8 month pregnant defender that was blocking his view on a clear shot, so albeit begrudgingly he passed the ball to an unmarked and nutty as squirrel shit, Nick Sze. CraSze took no time in smashing the ball low into the bottom right corner of the net beating the keeper at his near post. The way I look at it is – if Nick didn't have a clue where the ball was going to go, then what chance did the keeper have of guessing ;) Smethers gave Baz an open strike at the net shortly after Nick's goal by giving the Rovers left-back the eyes and perfectly slipped the ball behind him to Baz whole blasted the ball past the keeper only to hear the loud crash off the left post and the ball came back out into play and was cleared. A great opportunity wasted.

After scoring the opening goal, Kendall immediately pushed on for a second. Soon, Baz was taken down about 25 yards out, just right of center on the goal. Being left footer and sometimes he's guilty of having two left feet, James Canny stepped up to take the free in a very inviting position. He hit the ball into the wall but got a second crack at it which he struck sweetly. The ball was destined to hit the net only it took a wicked deflection that unluckily sent it towards that trailing foot of a keeper that was diving the wrong way...shot saved and cleared. 2 minutes later we got another free on the edge of the box again in almost an identical position. After doing his calculation on his erroneous first attempt, Canny knew what he had to do to beat the wall and hit the net. It's just a shame that knowing and doing are two very different things, as Canny got his math wrong and drove the ball into the knees of an unfortunate wall member.

It wasn't all Kendall attack in the first half though. Rovers had a big striker up front that always looked dangerous. Old Mr. Reliable in nets for Kendall was called upon for a couple of balls put into the box from set plays which he dealt with in his usual fashion. Johno has been referred to as “Iron Balls” and “Copper Nob” in previous match reports for his fearless heroics demonstrated in taking slaps to the nuts without complaint when spreading himself in front of opponents strikes on goal. For the duration of this report though, I'll be referring to him as “Rusty Bollocks”. Old Rusty was called upon big time when a Rovers striker got goal-side of the up til now flawless Kendall defense. In a one-on-one situation the striker took his strike on goal which Rusty initially blocked, but the spin and momentum put on the ball carried it over Rusty's head and was heading into an open net when The Green Hornet's sidekick-Kato (Nick Sze) bypassed the goal-ward rushing striker to clear the ball 2 yards from the goal mouth. Nice last ditch work, Nick! Panic averted and the half time whistle blew. Kendall up 1-0 at the half.

Knowing that a 1-nil lead might not last very long Kendall pushed hard for a second to kill off the game. This came when a nice ball put into Jesse's feet on the edge box resulted in a penalty after a clumsy defender went through the back of Brown's legs, bringing him to his knees. There was only one man going to get to hit this as Jesse demanded the ball and very calmly tucked it into the left side of net, leaving the keeper no chance. The same man struck with aplomb 5-10mins later after making a bit of space for himself on the outer right corner of the box. Jesse drove the ball into the top-right corner, killing off the game...

Or so we thought! Maybe with a 3-0 lead, we began to get a little complacent. As a result of this, the Rovers captain got the ball about 25 yards out on our goal and unchallenged his a rasper high above Rusty's head and the Kendall net bulged for the first time. Feeling a bit threatened, Kendall gave up on playing attacking football and went into survival mode. Putting a lot of men behind the ball can result in two different things – an impenetrable defense or an open invitation to the opposition to attack that will more than likely lead to a chance on goal for them. Unfortunately the latter happened. In practically a one-on-one opportunity Rovers had a chance at which all Kendall staff held their collective breath. Thankfully, Rusty stood strong and got a solid left hand on the strike, stopping it and then pounced on the ball to gather it in. A fantastic save during a very cagey spell in the game...

The final whistle blew, 3-1 to the Kendall over 30s A team. It might not have been pretty at times, but we'll welcome the result with open arms. Every bit as important as the result itself was the manner in which we went about business. Kendall controlled the game for about 75 of the 90min duration. There were a few notable performances on the night – Rusty was solid as usual, Kieran Lowe battled for every ball at the back and then coolely laid it off, Kenny did his usual tidy clean up job, James Canny was always a threat on the left wing and both Jonah and Jesse worked tirelessly up front, which is always good to see. Overall, everyone had a good game. It seems very P.C. but it's true...

Hopefully we can continue to accumulate more and more victories from here on. G'wan the Kendall!

By: Barry McNulty

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