The Herston Hatchets were beaten 2-0 last weekend by Annerley Axis of Evil. The result shocked many pundits and fans, who had previously labelled the team from UQ Med as ‘invincible’, ‘unstoppable’ and ‘too handsome to lose’. However, the loss throws the race for QIF’s Friday Premier division wide open, and throws fuel on the growing rivalry between these two teams.
After the famous trouncing of QUT ‘A’ last Monday night, it was a short turnaround for the Hatchets. Two games in one week was never going to be an easy feat, but captain Steven Cecchi trusted his side’s fitness and conditioning to get the job done. “We have done a lot of work through pre-season for this. Especially myself, in fact, because my team always seems to end up doing push-ups after shuttle runs for some reason.”
Squad rotation was in full force for the Hatchets, after a few players pulled up sore from the intense Wednesday night training session. Steve L was drafted into the side for his first game since ‘major knee surgery’ a fortnight ago, while Cecchi was a late withdrawal due to injuring his back doing push-ups at training.
As the game began to unfold – like an origami crane in light rain – it was clear that Herston was in for a fight. Both in the sense that Annerley were clearly a better team than anyone faced so far this season, and also in that they were very physical and combative. Early on, the Axis put pressure on the Hatchets back four and made it difficult to play out from defence. In the 29th minute, this paid dividends, when a speculative cross from the right created some confusion. The ball bounced awkwardly and deflected off experienced centre-back Bjorn into the net for an own goal, to make the score 1-0 to Annerley.
Although the Hatchets reacted strongly with a good spell of possession, they were struck by a sucker punch not long afterwards. An unexpected turnover in midfield allowed the Annerley striker to be played through on goal, and he made no mistake to double the away side’s advantage.
Nick almost scored a nice finish in response, but the ball struck the inside of the post and bounced clear. At half-time, it already looked like it wasn’t going to be the Hatchets’ day.
To their credit, Herston completely bossed the second half, and could have scored more than enough goals to win it. Tej won a penalty on 64 minutes, which was well saved by the Annerley keeper. There were other clear chances to get back into the game, but the goals simply weren’t going in. At the other end, goalkeeper Alex was left with little to do, as Annerley dropped deeper and deeper inside their own half.
It was all to no avail for the Hatchets. Try as they might, they simply couldn’t break down the stubborn Annerley defence. The final whistle blew with the score still at 2-0. For the vanquished Hatchets players experiencing their first loss of the season, listening to the Annerley players celebrate was harder than having to listen to Lewis and Veronica on the drive home from work.
QIF have graciously given the Hatchets a week off to “think long and hard about what you’ve done”. The team will next be in action against Colleges United in the post-apocalyptic wasteland that is also known as Mt Crosby next Friday 6th May.