In spite of the steady, soaking rain, the match between Maccabi Northside and Lindfield FC promised to be a good one for several reasons.
Firstly, the match was being played in aide of Women’s Breast Cancer as part of the Breast Cancer Network Australia’s “Pink Sports Day” and that meant both teams would be playing the match in pink socks. But, to step things up a little, Lindfield had elected to play in a complete pink strip and dedicate the day to Ann Meagher, a long-time supporter and player of Lindfield FC, who is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
Secondly, Maccabi Northside were coming off their first win since returning to the Premier League, playing the role of giant-killers by beating Willoughby Dalleys 2:0 away from home.
And finally, some of the people at Lindfield were feeling miffed that I had forecast a loss for them this week in spite of their long-term form.
There was a big crowd to watch the match which would have been even greater if there hadn’t been the continuous soaking rain all day.
Maccabi Northside had the honours and took the kick-off, very quickly put their stamp on the match. After only 4 minutes Maccabi Northside had a shot from the left wing which hit the cross bar and headed high.
The favour was returned by Lindfield but it was pushed away for a corner by the Maccabi Northside goalie.
Two minutes later Maccabi Northside had a shot from the left wing pushed away by Lindfield.
And then another volley from the right rattles the Lindfield woodwork. Maccabi Northside were going hard and fast and Lindfield were repaying the favour at every opportunity.
Lindfield returned the effort with a series of shots on goal peppering the crossbar, but nothing could find the net.
There was another real chance for Maccabi Northside but the striker was slowed by Lindfield on edge of the 18 yard box earning Lindfield the first yellow card of the afternoon and Maccabi a good chance to get on the score sheet, but nothing came of it.
Half an hour in to the game and Lindfield were getting frustrated; they were trying to be a little too fancy, passing a little too long and giving away too many chances; much to the annoyance of their coach who is letting his team and the entire crowd know about his frustration in no uncertain terms.
But Maccabi Northside were getting penalised by the referee for too much shirt pulling in the tackles.
Halftime came and the scores were 0:0 all square. Neither side were able to convert effort in to goals just yet.
It would all come down to the half time talk from the coaches and the stamina of the players in the second half.
They say football is a game of two halves and clearly the Lindfield coach had been talking about short, simple passes during the break. When Lindfield got control, they kept control but were still getting thwarted when it came to scoring goals.
Maccabi Northside were playing very high, particularly in defence, stopping any simple passing breaks from Lindfield. Lindfield are a very steady, relentless side. Good position on the field and they keep a calm head in a storm. Maccabi are a young, fresh side with loads of talent, particularly up front and an ability to run and run and run.
The breakthrough came for Maccabi Northside 20 minutes in to the second half and against the run of play, the ball was stolen, passed out right and then crossed in to font of goal where it was pumped around the goalie putting Maccabi Northside one up.
It took another 13 minutes of cat and mouse up and down the field before Lindfield were able strike back and even the scores. You could see the spirits of Lindfield visually lift with that goal, but their excitement only lasted four minutes until Maccabi Northside broke out again and put themselves 2:1 up with barely any time left.
And that was the way the game finished, 2:1 to Maccabi Northside. It was a well-deserved win and a good game of football to watch, despite the rain. And it was an excellent way to support and promote Breast Cancer Network Australia.
For further information about Breast Cancer, please contact Breast Cancer Network Australia