Our ANZAC Weekend saw CCFC up against unbeaten Monstrose SC as we hosted them at our Bunrley Oval grounds.
The cricket strip down the middle of the park must bring us luck because the opposition had no idea how to play on it, letting us dominated first half possession, keeping them pinned into our attacking third for much of the opening minutes. We were unfortunate to see Mike O'Brien hobble off after fifteen minutes with an aggravated groin injury that would leave him sidelined for the rest of the match as a precaution. Josh Frewen proved that he could play most any position asked as he made countless runs up top to collect flicked on headers from strike partner Craig Fuller. The opposing keeper made things hard on himself, spilling several shots back for us, but we were unable to convert.
With thirty minutes played, Drew Dickson found some space outside the box and lifted a shot over the outstretched Montrose keeper and managed to sneak it into the top corner. It was a goal the side deserved, having been kept out up until that point. The celebration would be cut short as Montrose SC took their ensuing kickoff down to the byline and forced a corner from the defense. The corner kick was not threatening, but a miscommunication saw Montrose draw level after just barely a minute had passed. Halftime saw us level on the score sheet, but the better side on the park.
The second half saw CCFC keeping up the pressure, causing the visitors to lash out at our ankles. Rodney Wilson, who had been providing excellent service in the middle of the ground saw the brunt of the fouls, but only half of the calls. To say they were getting chippy puts it mildly. But it was a second half to be remembered.
After we won a corner kick, the clearing header fell to Lewis Halsall who was waiting outside the box, and calmly waited for a good bounce in front of him before slamming it into the bottom corner. The goalie could only watch his strike go by.
We were unfortunate to see Josh Hurn have to leave the field after being on the receiving end of a hefty challenge which caused him to land on his back and whiplash his head on to the turf. He was able to speak as we checked on him, but his answers weren't coming quickly, so he left the pitch, having put in stellar work on the back line.
Having discovered that Jesse Cartright right footed but playing on the left and Niall McManus was left footed, but playing on the right, Coach Rich Garnett made the switch and our crossing started to come into play. Despite those facts, Jesse still managed a shot with his left foot, afterwards claiming "I have no left foot!"
The game was halted again by an off-leash dog that wandered on the pitch. We are not sure if what happened next was a comment directed towards the playing capability of our side, of Montrose SC, or the quality of refereeing that afternoon, but the dog proceeded to leave a steamy pile along our attacking right side of the grounds. The referee refused to brandish a red card to the pooch despite both sides agreeing the action was at least a bookable offense. CCFC would like to stress that we are a dog friendly club, but we need animals near our grounds on leashes for the safety of our players as much as the safety of your beloved pet.
Though we only won a handful of corners, we made sure they counted. Montrose's goalie once again was unable to keep control of Jesse's header, which fortunately fell back to him as he slotted it in with the left foot he apparently could not use. With fifteen left to play we led 3-1.
Montrose turned on the pressure in the dying minutes as they sought to find the two goals they needed to salvage an away point. Unfortunately Ryan Worsford would give away a free kick on the outside of our box and see yellow for his efforts. It was not the worst foul of the day, by any stretch, but according to the ref, he had prevented their striker from making an attacking play. As a defender, we had assumed that was in his job title.
Their #10 stepped up and slotted home a left footed strike around the wall and into the side netting for their second. Not content with pulling one back in the second half, Montrose sent in wave after wave, but after another weak corner kick from them, the Referee blew the whistle and we retained our unbeaten record at home.