The Reserves went into the game against top of the league side Monash University with their unbeaten record still intact. A strong squad made the trip for what would prove to be an eventful day. There were several changes to the line-up enforced by injuries and the positive of yet more players being promoted to the seniors following impressive performances.
City started well at both ends, creating chances and defending well. The home team should have been down to ten men within minutes when as Craig Tweedy was back peddling, the goal keeper appeared to head-butt him! The ref later explaining that he didn’t see it that way.
Collingwood City continued to play good football and it wasn’t long before they took a well-deserved lead from the penalty spot following a clear handball. Nigel Madzi slotted it home with precision, giving the keeper no chance and marking his 6th goal of the season.
We were unable to catch a break from the official who seemed content to hand City’s players cards faster than a magician without any explanation, something which didn’t seem to translate to his dealings with the home side. Mid way through the first half the colour of the cards changed when following a retaliation foul, Kevin Fitzgerald was sent to the showers early, meaning CCFC had to play almost two thirds of the game a man down. Minutes later a Monash player ran after Jason pushing him in the back of the head to the ground. Despite protests from everyone he would only be shown a Yellow Card! Just before half time despite being fouled in the process, a hand ball from Jamie Shek meant that the sides went in level at one all.
A change to the formation at the break meant moving Tom Snaith into the Diamond with Tweedy, Jason Minglis, and Billy Carter Jones which left Nigel up top as the lone striker. Despite being down to ten men and now a swirling wind in favour of the home side, every player gave their all, flying into tackles, tracking back, and putting their bodies on the line. Monash were kept to only half chances and City were still more than in the game and definitely the only team capable and attempting to play attractive football. Fresh legs from the bench meant we were able to replace those who had run out of steam and man for man the level of intensity, commitment and a positive mentality meant that the draw felt in some ways like a win! A special mention needs to go to Justin Sutcliffe who because of circumstance was unable to get on to the pitch in goal, however his attitude and support for the team was something that every player was appreciative of.
Despite the adversity, the Reserves remain unbeaten (now 6 matches) and showed what character they have. Well done to everyone involved a true team performance filled with grit and determination.
After last Saturday's win against Ringwood CIty, CCFC went into the game high on confidence and sitting 2nd on the ladder. The only change to the team would be Jake Buckley coming in for Lee Hayward. The game got off to a cagey start with both teams playing possession football, trying to suss each out. It would be CCFC who had the upper hand when it came to chances and limited Monash University's options to try and hit us on the counter attack. We opened the scoring after some breathtaking skill from Tom Kent on the edge of the box who's volley cannoned back of the post leading to a scramble in the box which gave Tom another chance at goal but would eventually be turned in by Dan Quinn.
CCFC would continue to press the Monash back line into coughing up the ball time and time again. This time resulting in their defender passing the ball straight to Mike Maddocks who found himself alone with only the goalkeeper to beat. As cool as ever, Mike finished it off. CCFC was not content with the two goals and continued the attack hitting the crossbar and forcing their goalkeeper into some fine saves. Unfortunately the halftime whistle was blown as so was Collingwood for the day as the 2nd half was a total different story.
The second half for CCFC started slowly with Monash looking to use their pace on the wings more by hitting long balls. In what we saw as an omen for the day, Monash had a forward sent off for persistent fowling. This was probably down to the referee for not talking to the player and warning him, more so than the degree of the fouls. This would be the constant theme of the half as the referee lost control of the aggression from both sides, resulting into being a dirty game as players and coaches frustrations from both sides boiled over.
Monash with ten men still continued to press and get a goal after a bad kick from goalkeeper Christoph Achsenick which went straight to their forward on the edge of our box, who finished into an open net. Numbers would be evened up a short time later as Captain David Kilcommons was sent off for his second yellow card of the day. Monash would take advantage of our missing man and look to counter within minutes. The home side were lucky in their second goal as a mix up between left back Adam Kwefio-Okai and goalkeeper Christoph would result in the young left back turning the ball into his own net. Undaunted, CCFC would still continue to create chances with Tom Kent coming close yet again and hitting the upright with a header.
Things got worse for the Citizens as Adam Kweifio-Okai was giving his marching orders after reacting angrily to persistently being fowled. Being down two players, despite fresh legs being substituted on would not prevail as Monash set up their third goal with another counter attack to win the game in the 87th minute. Collingwood still pressed till the last minutes forcing a series of corners thinking there would be enough added on time after three goals, three red cards and six substitutions made plus the referee kept on stopping the game to hand out yellow cards like they were going out of fashion. To our dismay we only played two minutes of added on time, which was strange to everyone watching.
After the game manager Richard Bates said:
"It was a tough loss to take, we shouldn't of dropped points today. Leading at half time we were in control and I was confident after what we spoke about at the interval we would continue to dominate in the second half. The referee did not help the situation today but I'm more disappointed with my players not controlling their emotions and lack of fight we showed in the final forty-five minutes. We must take this as a lesson and learn from this and make sure this does not happen again!"
CCFC look to spring back next week at home as we host Waverley Wanderers SC at Kevin Bartlett Reserve. Come Support your Citizens!