Round two brought another chance for our Premiers to stamp their mark on the Football South Men’s Premier League with a clash with the previously unbeaten Green Island AFC.
As was the case last weekend at Tahuna Park, our boys had a mortgage on the balls with increasingly long spells in possession as the match wore on. From the kick off it was evident that our visitors Green Island had a game plan based around unsettling our boys, in particular midfield schemer Oban Hawkins, who after a series late challenges eventually fell to a stray elbow to the chest and was carted off to hospital.
The loss of Oban brought about the early introduction of Tom Durkin who after a series of chances last weekend got off the mark for the season with a quality curling effort that on the balance of play was well deserved. Behind him, our rejigged midfield of Ben Stanley, Ben O’Farrell and Greg Nimmo enjoyed huge amounts of possession and opportunities kept coming in the first half. A free kick from Greg was narrowly placed over after Allan McBride was scythed down just outside the box (getting a casual knee to the head after the whistle was blown as well).
The boys went in to the sheds happy with where we were sitting, Green Island had been limited to a couple of half chances including a powerful Matt Brazier strike that went just over. Former OUAFC players Chris Kessell and Liam Carrington hadn’t had much of an influence on the game which would please the old boys tuning in from afar.
The second half brought more of the same, with our boys enjoying plenty of possession and continuing to unsettle the Green Island side who looked to catch us on the break via some direct balls each time they were able to get possession. One of those direct balls fell to the feet of Tim O’Farrell who after striding through midfield took a sight of goal and let rip from well over thirty yards; it never looked like missing and we were two nil up and well in control.
Our third came via the penalty spot after a blockbusting run from Ben Stanley who bypassed four Green Island players before the final man cut him down in the box (followed by a casual tap to the head perhaps to congratulate Ben on a job well done). Captain Dom Scahill calmly took the ball placed it on the spot and dispatched it down the middle for three nil up.
Green Island mounted pressure and look dangerous from set pieces (as they had done through the game), and it was from a corner that they scored after a bullet header was palmed in to the top of the goal by Stewart Catto in goals. What happened after that was a bit of a farce as an over eager Green Island player reacted to Stewart picking up the ball by first grabbing him, then pushing him followed by a hand to the face, Stewart reacted and both players saw yellow (which meant Stewart was sent to the sheds after picking up an earlier yellow card).
The last five minutes were played out with Ben O’Farrell in goal who had precious little to do despite the calls from the visiting supporters to shoot on sight.
A pleasing result for the boys, but at times a disappointing reflection on football where the darkest of arts are still prevalent.