For several years Collingwood City FC had been without a 3rds or Masters team, but a resurgence of interest in the club brought us enough quality players to put another team out on the park for Sunday’s Metro League.
The game was delayed due to the Away side, Dandenong South, wearing the same colour kit as us (3rds are wearing the spare red and white for their home matches). We had emailed them to confirm their colours and were told they had white for away. Apparently that was only for the Senior and Reserve teams and the message as not passed on to the 3rds. Luckily we had our old white kits floating around the club house, so Coach Rich Garnett went to get them. Not that it mattered, the Referee didn’t show up until ten minutes after our scheduled kick off anyway.
The first half was as much feeling the other team out as it was trying to feel out how our legs were after Thursday’s session. The cricket strip in the middle made for some interesting moves for the midfield, but Rodney Wilson and Richie Bates showed that they were up for it, both showing no rust from the off season as they fed balls out to the wings. Not content to be providers the entire game, both had several shots on goal, Richie forcing several tough saves out of the diminutive Dandenong keeper. Eventually Rodney found the back of the net in the 20th minute after making a Maradona-esque run from within out half (minus the handball). Our back line made it easy for the squad, snuffing out any attempts by the opposing strikers to get a shot off. We would continue to keep up the pressure until the half ended with shots from Mark Hanley and Marco Taglioretti keeping Dandenong pinned in their half but a score of 1-0.
The second half started out with Drew Dickson and Mark Hanley discussing how we needed a second goal before kick-off. This proved to be serendipitous as within five minutes of the restart, Hanley had walked around the keeper, but finding himself in a tight angle elected to cross the ball to Drew with an open net beckoning instead of going for glory, putting us two to the good.
From there, the flood gates opened. Ryan Worsford connected with a corner kick to make it 3-0. Rodney Wilson found his second after once again walking through the patchwork Dandenong defence to make it 4-0. Mike O'Brien ran Dandenong ragged as he covered nearly every meter of grass to keep them contained. We would sadly have to see David Rodriguez leave the match after landing awkwardly on his elbow (doctors confirmed a fracture). Our clean sheet came undone with about twenty minutes left as Rich Garnett came out to collect a ball but the resulting collision allowed Dandenong to score against the run of play. We would kill their momentum as a bad clearance of a cross from Richie Bates gave us a 5-1 lead. We sit second on the table based on Goal Difference which is not a bad way to start a new season.