After a month of solid rain UOWFC was finally back on the park and kicking a ball again. Three games have had to be deferred recently with double headers to be played in the near future. The importance of these make up games cannot of overstated and the teams that pick up maximum points from the double headers will be the teams in the mix for the rest of the year.
UOWFC vs. Helensburgh (Round 7):
The round seven clash against Helensburgh was moved to Good Friday and a host of players, coaches and committee were away with various commitments. Youth grade coach Luke Vandenburgh and Treasurer and current Club Person of the Year Grant Newman stepped into the void of committee and coaching staff to help run the teams throughout the day, with help from committee representative Ian Turton.
YOUTH GRADE – Won 2-0: The youthies travelled up the mountain and picked up a vital three points against Helensburgh. Helensburgh were down a few players and the youth grade boys took full advantage running out winners 2-0 to get their season back on track.
RESERVE GRADE – Lost 4-2: Reserve grade had won all their games coming into this match however were down a host of players due to unavailability, injury and promotion to first grade. The absence of regular coach Brendon Fotheringham was also felt with general disorder and lack of structure hurting the team. Ultimately the boys couldn’t get into gear and lost 4-2, dropping their first points for the year with a disappointing display.
FIRST GRADE – Lost 3-2: First grade were looking to continue their charge after the rain break and were undefeated so far in the 2014 District League competition. Like reserve grade there were a host of changes forced on the squad for this game with Reserve grade midfielder Tom Shannon stepping up to slot into the vital defensive midfield role. Coach David Watts was receiving regular phone updates from his work commitments in Melbourne but the squad came up against a solid Helensburgh squad that will be somewhere near the pointy end at the end of the season. The first Helensburgh goal was disappointing to concede with a lack of presence and intensity in attacking the ball allowing a soft goal. However the second and third Helensburgh goals were bombs that simply couldn’t be stopped by goalkeeper Liam Stevenson. Ultimately the boys went down 3-2 and slipped back to the middle of the pack.
UOWFC vs. Balgownie Rangers (Round 8):
YOUTH GRADE – Drew 1-1: The youth grade squad absolutely dominated this game and should be kicking themselves that they didn’t come away with three points and a healthy goal difference. The heavy state of the field didn’t help as it was very slow underfoot making it difficult to move the ball around easily. The boys should have had at least four goals in the first half with Grant Beckett running riot and having a few good runs at goal. Of course not taking their chances meant that the youthies were always susceptible to coping a runaway goal and it happened with Bally scoring and the boys going 0-1 down. A great penalty save by youth grade keeper Damien Clark kept the squad in it and they pushed forward in the second half. Again they could and probably should have had a bunch of goals but poor finishing and attack in the final third let them down. A late penalty for handball gave the youthies a chance at a draw and it was well finished by import Emil Totland. Overall an important point but rueing what could have been.
RESERVE GRADE – LOST 2-1: Despite a host of injuries a strong reserve grade team was out to make amends for the previous weeks result and came up against an undefeated Balgownie side. Like the youth grade game, the heavy ground really didn’t suit the ball playing style of the reserve graders but it was the same for both teams.
UOWFC had some good early chances but so did Balgownie, and some great early saves by backup goalkeeper Damien Clark kept the scoreline 0-0 initially. The boys looked good going forward and won a penalty when Brendon Fotheringham was pushed in the back going for a header on goal. Luke Vandenburgh stepped up and his shot was just too hot to handle for the Bally keeper to make it 1-0 up at half time. Bally came out and equalised from a corner that was curled into a crowded six yard box and not sufficiently challenged. Bally’s second goal was a header that was cleared off the line but unfortunately the linesman called it in with a tight decision. The boys pushed forward late on but some good saves from the Bally keeper and last ditch defending kept UOWFC out. A disappointing result considering the strength of the squad on the park and now two loses in a row to the reserve grade squad who should be pushing for the top of the table this year but have some work to do now.
FIRST GRADE – Won 1-0: UOWFC was back to full strength and came out of the sheds into a hard first half. The theme for the day was the water logged and long grassed ground, which definitely hampered the ball playing and movement of UOWFC. Two great headed chances fell to Scott Milvyk but he wasn’t able to find the target. A good save from Liam Stevenson and a world class sliding tackle from Grant Newman kept UOWFC in it as Bally pushed forward. Late in the first half Lochlan Ryan threaded a pinpoint through ball for Tobias Williams who rounded the keeper but couldn’t finish from a wide angle. The second half was more of the same with missed chances from several players including a steaming run from Grant Newman that dinked over the bar.
The cameraman el Presidente got sick of holding the camera up hoping for a quality finish so missed Marc Lee grabbing the ball in midfield, turning onto his right foot, and unleashing a bomb from 30 yards right into the top right corner. The boys were too strong in the finish and came away as deserved winners. This lets the UOWFC first grade squad stay three points from the top of the table and look ahead to vital games next weekend, with a home match against Picton and a likely catch up match against Thirroul on the cards, both of who will leapfrog UOWFC with a win.