Following last week’s loss to Karori, there was plenty to play for against our neighbours Island Bay. The game doubled as Paul Clune’s 100th game for the 1st team – an honour that deserved a big performance.
Island Bay started the game brightly, dominating possession and earning a string of early corners. Island Bay are a dangerous side when it comes to set pieces and converted one in the 9th minute to take the lead.
There was much debate about the corner, with the ball appearing to last come off an Island Bay player. However, the corner was given and the goal was well taken. 1-0 Island Bay.
Island Bay continued to dominate the 1st half. We just couldn’t get into any sort of rhythm. We were flat and playing well below the performance levels we ask of ourselves. Sam Martin pulled off two memorable saves, at full stretch to keep us in the game. Nick Grice was battling well against the Island Bay front men and Steve Cromb was full of his usual energy and defensive discipline.
Island Bay carved out a couple of half chances as we approached half-time but Island Bay were well worth their lead as the whistle sounded for the interval.
We spoke at half-time about offering more in possession. Our off the ball movement wasn’t there and there was a general lack of urgency. We hadn’t yet earned the right to play. The way we started the second half would be crucial to our chances of getting back in the game.
We introduced Angus Rooney to make his league debut and he immediately started committing defenders and opening up space for others in the final third. We were slowly starting to turn the momentum back in our favour.
Disaster struck in the 60th minute, as Island Bay doubled their lead, again from another corner. We failed to pick up an Island Bay runner, leaving him with an unchallenged finish past the impressive Martin. 2-0 Island Bay and we were forced to chase the game.
We introduced Elliot Riley and Rohan Boyle into the game as we altered our shape in an attempt to press the ball higher up the pitch. Island Bay were content with their two goal advantage and were looking to take the pace out of the game.
We had created a couple of half chances of our own as we entered the final ten minutes. The energy of Terry O’Donnell and John O’Driscoll in midfield was forcing Island Bay into errors and it was O’Donnell who so nearly capitalised as he pounced on a loose ball, beat one defender and rounded the goalkeeper. He had been forced into a finish from a tight angle and unfortunately could only turn the ball into the side netting.
That would be our final chance of the game and as the final whistle sounded we were forced to reflect on a performance that did not meet the standards this group set themselves. As the Head Coach I take full responsibility for the performance and I know the lads will be pushing themselves this week to respond in the best possible fashion.
There were some positives with Cromb, Grice and man of the match Sam Martin all having strong performances.
We will dust ourselves off and prepare for a crucial month of fixtures, kicking off next week away to University.
Thanks to all those who came to support us yesterday, we really appreciate it.
Special congratulations to Paul Clune who earned his 100th appearance for the 1st team yesterday. Paul has been a wonderful asset to Brooklyn during the previous five seasons and embodies all the values we expect from 1st team players.
Congratulations Paul, a wonderful achievement. We look forward to sharing plenty more games together.
Look forward to seeing you all around the club.