We welcomed Tawa to Wakefield Park this week as we looked to turn around our recent run of results and get back to winning ways.
Despite our mounting injury list, we tweaked our shape and selected a side we believed was capable of earning a result.
We started well, moving the ball at speed, defending with desire and dominating midfield.
Tawa are a good side, they too work hard for each other and were proving difficult to break down. A good game of football was developing and you sensed the 1st goal could prove decisive.
There were few chances created by either team until centre back Harry Tod-Smith stepped into midfield and provided a defense splitting ball into the run of Paul Clune.
Clune was left one-on-one with the Tawa goalkeeper and made no mistake with the finish. 1-0 Brooklyn and the lads had reward for their excellent start.
Tawa responded with a dominant spell, but managed only a couple of half chances. Defenders Nick Grice, captain Joe Cruden and the impressive Tod-Smith were dominant and were proving to be a most effective rearguard.
The midfield trio of Terry O'Donnell, Elliot Riley and Ben Purser all stuck to their individual and collective tasks and were proving a handful for the Tawa defense. Purser and Riley's passing from deep areas was pinpoint and O'Donnell was making the most of the space created for him by Clune and Luciano Colucci.
Wide men George Frost and Tom Graham were getting through a mountain of work and both demonstrated fantastic composure on the ball. Frost has maintained his high level of performance over the first half of the season and Graham, making his first start of the campaign was making the most of his opportunity.
Tawa continued to grow into the half and earned an equaliser in the 39th minute with a clinical finish into the bottom right corner.
1-1 at half-time and we were quietly confident we would earn a result if everyone stuck to their jobs and we took our chances in front of goal. The lads had really bought into the game plan and the performance level matched the way we had prepared during the week.
The second half was again an even encounter, with Tawa arguably having the better chances. They hit the outside of the post and had a couple of other chances which they blazed high over the crossbar.
We introduced striker Tim Hall and the diminutive Angus Rooney (who had already played 90 mins for the Reserves) as we searched for a winner. Purser was starting to take control of the game. His option taking in possession was near faultless and you could see his confidence grow with every successful pass. He is one player who is starting to fulfill his undoubted potential.
With time starting to run out, O'Donnell and Colucci started to find pockets of space to exploit and we certainly were dominating possession.
The defensive unit had won the battle, now it was time for the attacking players to fashion one final chance.
It was Colucci who made another promising break down the right hand side. He shimmied, jinked and dribbled past several Tawa defenders and just when it looked like three Tawa defenders had crowded him out, he squared a wonderful ball to Tim Hall who was left unmarked inside the area. Hall smashed the ball toward goal and wheeled away in celebration, before the ball had hit the back of the net. 2-1 Brooklyn after 87 minutes and recent results were all but forgotten with one clinical strike.
For a team who hadn't found themselves in a winning position for some weeks, the lads showed wonderful composure to see out the remainder of the game without incident. 2-1 Brooklyn as the final whistle sounded and the relief was palpable.
The lads had put together a wonderful performance, beating a good Tawa side. Sweet Molly Malone was sung with vigour, smiles were back on faces and the lads were left to enjoy a well deserved victory.
It's difficult to single out players for what was such an impressive team performance. Every player stuck to their tasks and showed the want and desire needed to win at this level. We need to take that attitude and work rate into each game for the second half of the season.
Harry Tod-Smith earned man of the match honours this week with a faultless match and his best performance in a Brooklyn shirt.
Special mention also to George Frost and Tom Graham whose work rate was outstanding, the passing excellence of Ben Purser and the defensive discipline of Nick Grice and Joe Cruden.
Well done lads, enjoy the rest of the long weekend as our attention now turns to Wests next Sunday. Onwards and upwards from here.
Congratulations to the Reserves who also came back from a couple of tough results, smashing Victoria University 6-2. Well done lads.
On a personal note, Annie and I couldn't be prouder of the lads. After a tough run of results many teams would have crumbled. Brooklyn is known for it's togetherness and camaraderie and the 1st team have that in bucket loads. The lads never give in and got their rewards yesterday afternoon.
We are lucky enough to have people like Sandy and Anna Aitchison around the club who bleed Brooklyn and serve as a wonderful example of what this club is all about.
Thanks for all those who came out to support us yesterday. You certainly enjoyed a high tempo, exciting game.