We traveled to Alex Moore Park to take on Cap Prem newcomers North Wellington who have enjoyed a good start to the season.
Despite recent results, the lads had prepared really well and were definitely up for the game.
We started well, our defensive structure was holding firm and we were keeping the ball for lengthy spells. You could sense the confidence and belief beginning to return.
Returning captain, Joe Cruden was taking charge on the pitch and was supported excellently by Terry O'Donnell who was busy in midfield, shutting down several North Wellington attacks.
North Wellington created a couple of half chances but goalkeeper Sam Martin was in fine form, both in terms of his shot stopping and decision making when coming off his line.
In what was turning into an even, hard fought contest, it was disappointing to fall behind, albeit to a well taken goal in the 33rd minute. To the lads credit, heads didn't drop and they settled back into a decent tempo.
1-0 North Wellington at the break and the lads were confident of finding a way back into the game. Possession had been even and North Wellington had made the most of limited opportunities. We needed to create more opportunities of our own and re-discover our attacking edge in the second half.
North Wellington came out strong in the second half and doubled their advantage with what was a scrappy, but all important second goal. Again, the lads got straight back into their work, determined to find a way back into the match.
We started to find our feet, with O'Donnell, Elliot Riley and Paul Clune involved in a nice one touch passing move on the left edge. Unfortunately the final ball was too strong and we failed to make the most of this opportunity.
The game took a turn for the worse when Matt Balmforth was shown a red card with more than 30 minutes still to play. I won't go into detail about the reason the referee gave for the red card, but in a great show of sportsmanship (after the game), the North Wellington captain made several comments to us and the referee about the incident in support of Matt. Hopefully common sense prevails.
We introduced the speed and energy of Tom McCann and the dynamic Ben Purser into the game. Both players made a positive impact against their former club.
We conceded a third goal in the 65th minute, effectively killing the game. The remaining 25 minutes were our best of the second half. We moved the ball well and worked incredibly hard in defensive transition. Clune, Purser and McCann created a great opportunity on the right hand side, all that was missing was the finish.
North Wellington had chances of their own but continued to be thwarted by the impressive Martin in goal, who made a top class save, low to his right. The North Wellington player had already started to wheel away to celebrate.
With three minutes left on the clock, North Wellington got a fourth, and then a fifth goal. It was a cruel and inflated scoreline for a team that had worked so incredibly hard for one another.
While we were left to reflect another defeat, there were positives, but we failed to create sustained periods of pressure during what was an even first half. The lads should be proud of the way they managed playing with 10 men for most of the second half.
Our injury list continues to grow, with Steven Cromb suffering a collapsed lung late in the match. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Thanks to the reserves lads who stayed to support us after their match. Strong performances from Clune, O'Donnell and man of the match Sam Martin.
I still believe we aren't far away from moving past this rough patch. We will stick together in true Brooklyn fashion and hopefully will look back on this time with great pride about how we dealt with the situation and climbed back up the table.
Many thanks to the club for what was a great night celebrating the clubs centenary - a fantastic night was had by all. Credit to all involved. It's nights like that you realise how much this club means to people and the special people that make it tick.