This was always going to be a tough match for many reasons. Here were two quality teams going head to head under lights with both looking to go top of the league. But, the biggest issue was going to be the weather; driving rain.
West Pymble were top of the table, just ahead of Kissing Point on goal difference and only one point ahead of Lindfield.
Lindfield were sat on 18 points but had not lost at home this season. A win tonight would see them leapfrog West Pymble and Kissing Point and go two points clear.
Both teams started the match at breakneck pace. West Pymble like to make the most of any opportunities presented, making forays deep into the Lindfield area. Lindfield are a more considered side, with lots of passes moving the ball around constantly.
Both teams would give no quarter and the referees whistle started to blow thick and fast; lots of free kicks.
Only 16 minutes into the first half Stuart Hendry gently floated a ball from a free kick over the Lindfield 4 man wall. Going high, the goalie left it and it dropped into the top left of the goal. Probably one of the best goals I have seen this season.
Lindfield’s Jason Lal was brought down outside the West Pymble 18 yard box. Joshua Ciabatti took the kick and Niall Codling finished it off, but was called offside.
Hendry had another looping kick into the Lindfield box with Karlo Maralit flying in to finish it off, but he couldn’t quite connect and the ball went wide.
When Codling was brought down in the 18-yard box there was huge appeals for a penalty, but the referee was having nothing of it.
Half time. 1:0 to West Pymble.
Within sixty seconds of the restart, West Pymble had a corner. Hendry took the kick finding the head of Maralit, putting them 2:0 up.
From there, both sides dug in. Apart from the driving rain, the biggest feature to me was the variability in refereeing decisions. Three West Pymble players had to come off the field during the match due to late tackles from Lindfield, yet little sanction were given for any incident. That included Niall, who was brought down early in the half, breaking his leg, yet the referee kept his yellow cards in his pocket.
At the same time, many free kicks were given away unnecessarily. Did it affect the outcome of the game? No. The better team won on the day.
This was a tough game of football under very difficult conditions, but great to watch.