Collingwood City were up against an old foe in Old Camberwell Grammarians on Saturday and the Citizens were ready to take home the spoils.
With an absentee list longer than my arm (or even that of a normal-sized person’s arm), the reserves team had quite a different look to it. A number of thirds players stepped up including fan favourites Craig Fuller and Mark Hanly, to fill the void.
Regardless of the tactical tinkering, Collingwood made a strong start, immediately grabbing control of the game, with Jason “The Maestro” Minglis running the show in the midfield with the front three of Mark Hanly, Cris Tümkaya and Harry Vanya Emmens looking dangerous.
However, as has proved to be an unfortunately recurring theme thus far in the season, despite the dominance the opponents took the lead via a free kick on the edge of the box which found its way through the wall and crept into the bottom left corner of the goal, despite the best efforts of young goalkeeper Justin Sutcliffe.
The set-back did not perturb Collingwood, with chances continuing to come by way of the front three and it was only a matter of time before we leveled the score. A moment of magic from Minglis saw him launch a defence slitting pass that saw Cris behind the Camberwell defence with the keeper charging out. Cool as a cucumber, Cris settled and looked up before lifting to ball over the keeper’s head and celebrated as it rolled into the vacant net.
The second half continued in the same vein with the Camberwell midfield being run ragged with Justin having very little to do in goals. Unfortunately, there was nothing he could do for Camberwell’s second goal as the one of their midfielders received the ball on the edge of the box before swiveling and smashing the ball into the top right corner from 25 yards out. TO say it was gut wrenching was an understatement.
However, Collingwood continued to toil and before long they had equalised through some more good work from the forwards. Mark Hanly, who had his full back in his pocket by this point, skipped down the left flank before serving the ball up on a plate for an unmarked Cris to slot it in.
Although Collingwood were well on top and looking dangerous, time was slipping away from them. A number of half chances went amiss before a goal mouth scramble saw a ball ricochet off the Camberwell defender to land at the feet of Cris. He duly obliged by popping it into the empty net before it was contentiously ruled out for offside. Fortunately it was not to matter as, in what must have been injury time, an Energiser Bunny-esque run from Harry saw him beat three defenders before hitting a shot which the keeper could only parry into the path of Hanly who popped smashed it home much to the joy of the Collingwood players.
A dramatic end to a very watchable game of football with the boys fully deserving the result.
Saturday saw our second home game of the 2016 campaign as we looked to keep our perfect run going against Old Camberwell Grammarians. Coach Richie Bates was forced to make a few changes from the side that fended off Whitehorse United SC. Tom Kent came in a centre half as Adam Gallo shifted to Left back for the suspended Adam Kweifio-oka, while Billy Jones came into the midfield for Jason Minglis who had just finished his match with the Reserves.
Sadly we got off to a bad start as Eamon Mongain brought down a man in the box after losing his balance. Their captain coolly converted the spot kick and we were on the back foot, looking to regain momentum from the home crowd. OCG maintained the pressure down our right side and they were to capitalise with a superb cross that their centre forward was able to latch on to and slot home another goal from ten yards out. Tempers started to wear thin on the field and Billy Jones was shown a yellow card.
As the half wore on the Citizens regained composure and began to play our game instead of having to adjust to the visitors. We started to dictate some of the play as we neared halftime but with were unable to get our possession to translate into a goal. The second half began with a tactical sub for the home side, with previously booked Billy Jones being replaced by Jake Buckley. The tactical change also came in the formation as the gaffer opted to go into a 4-3-3, Dan Quinn out left, Jake on the right, and Lee Hayward acting as point man through the middle. The change almost made an immediate impact as Nick Tzevakos played a delightful through ball to Dan who managed to bamboozle the keeper with some quick feet to half the deficit with his second goal this season.
Fate was cruel to us as the Citizens were unlucky not to pull level off a corner kick a few minutes later. The ball was swung in brilliantly and despite three shots at goal, OCG managed to keep them all out in a goal line scramble. When the ball broke free, Camberwell’s counter-attack against an exposed back line resulting in a 2v1 situation as we conceded the third.
The game then fizzled out as Camberwell and the referee ran down the clock. It was a disappointed home dressing room, not only for the result but also on what looks like an early last game for an injured Eamon (suspected hamstring injury) who was set to leave us for work in Dubai in May.
CCFC is looking to bounce back next week with a replenished lineup as we take on St. Kevin’s Old Boys at their ground.