After the poor weather and waterlogged pitch of last week, we were happy to be back at Wakefield Park to take on neighbours Olympic. Olympic have been in impressive goal scoring form of late and we knew it was going to be a tough battle. Both sides started relatively well, pressing high, trying to force turnovers in the attacking third.
Tom Graham was full of energy and caused Olympic's central defenders several moments of concern with intelligent pressing, ably supported by Paul Clune and captain Terry O'Donnell. Graham's energy and willingness was something we had been missing in recent weeks.
A strong wind whipping across Wakefield Park gave both sides challenges bringing the ball under control and establishing any sort of tempo. Olympic almost opened the scoring with a wind assisted effort, which looked wide the whole way, only for it to dip at the last minute and clip the crossbar.
Olympic did open the scoring in the 33rd minute. We had committed numbers forward for a corner, only to get caught on the break. Olympic broke at speed and while the Olympic players shot was well saved by Sam Martin, the referee adjudged George Frost to have clipped the player after he had got the shot away and pointed to the spot.
Olympic duly obliged to give them a slender advantage heading into half-time.
The lads remained confident a result was on the cards. We had dominated periods of the first half, without creating too many opportunities. We made a couple of minor changes to our structure and headed out for the second half, determined to turn the game in our favour.
Steve Lyons, Harry Tod-Smith and Scott Macandrew were outstanding in their defensive efforts, Terry O'Donnell was dominating midfield and Tom Graham was again showing his value in what was his most accomplished performance in a Brooklyn shirt.
The lads came out firing for the second half and dominated right from the first whistle. We pressed aggressively, and were forcing errors in our attacking third. Graham fashioned an opportunity for himself which was deflected over the crossbar, John O'Driscoll was causing plenty of problems for the Olympic fullback down the left hand side and we introduced Tom McCann, in an attempt to use his pace and trickery down the right hand side.
As time ticked by and we continued to search for an equaliser, the lads grew in confidence and you could sense a goal was coming. To Olympics credit they were defending well and started to slow the game down.
Tempers started to fray and one particular Olympic challenge saw a heated exchange between the players. Things were heating up as we approached the last fifteen minutes. We introduced Hamish Parker and Rohan Boyle, giving us fresh legs and composed heads as we continued to press for the equaliser. While we had dominated the second half, our final ball was letting us down and as a result we weren't creating enough genuine opportunities.
As the final whistle blew we were left with the reality of a 1-0 loss, despite putting in one of our best performances of the season. We had beaten Tawa two weeks ago and hadn't played anywhere near as well as we did yesterday.
The attitude of the players was immense, they backed each other up all afternoon, their work rate was excellent and there was a real sense of togetherness among the entire group.
As long as we replicate that effort, desire and willingness for the next two months we can only climb the ladder into a more respectable position.
Credit must go to Olympic for what was a gutsy three points. They are a passionate, tight knit group and from a personal perspective I enjoy playing sides who give it everything for 90 minutes and then get together for a beer and some food after the final whistle. It's the way football should be played.
Strong performances from Tom Graham, Steve Lyons and man of the match Terry O'Donnell who was involved in everything good about our performance.
We have next week off due to Chatham Cup fixtures, before we play Miramar at Wakefield Park on 2 July, in what will be a massive fixture for both sides.
Thanks to all who supported us yesterday, your support of the lads and comments after the game are much appreciated.
Congratulations to the Reserves who are enjoying another fine season. They earned a well deserved 3-0 victory over Petone yesterday. Well done lads.