“That was never six seconds, and guys – I would know.”
– Lilly was left unsatisfied by the referee’s officiating prowess after his controversial time-wasting call.
The Herston Hatchets returned to winning ways last Friday night with a 3-1 victory over Colleges United. It was an enthralling match, with four goals, two missed penalties and a red card. The win will be reassuring to the club’s supporters, many of whom were gearing up for a season of failure after 2-0 loss to Annerley last week.
It was a cold night in Mt Crosby, but that didn’t deter the legions of home fans from packing out the stadium. Colleges United are famous for their intimidating home ground atmosphere, and as the snap of numerous deck chairs opening echoed around the ground, picking up the win was looking like a difficult task.
Hatchets managers Steven and Simon decided to ring the changes after the loss last week. Tom H and Rockie paired up in central defence for the first time this year, while Tej’s luscious flowing locks added sheen to midfield. Steven sat out another game due to his back problem. There are rumours he is eyeing a return for the big game against Warriors on May 27th, which will conveniently coincide with the end of his diazepam supply.
The narrow pitch contributed to a cramped opening to the game, with both teams struggling to play their way through midfield. The best chances for both teams came when they were able to force turnovers and play on the break. A one-on-one opportunity for Colleges was denied by a smart save from Alex. Up the other end, it was Adam I, playing through a bout of gastro, who created something from nothing. The opposition full-back was seemingly too worried about being coughed on to put in a proper tackle, and Adam was able to cross to the far post. Tej found a yard of space and finished with his chest into the back of the net, before celebrating with a series of energetic hair-flicks.
In the second half, the game began to open up. Livewire Stewart linked up well with Trey, and produced a few good chances. A hard low cross from Stewart was turned it at the near post by Trey, who lunged ahead of the desperate Colleges defender to score. Dan was the architect not long afterwards, playing a ball through for Stewart who scored a nice goal for himself from the edge of the box, his second for the season.
With the score at 3-0, the referee was clearly worried that the Hatchets were going to run away with the game too easily. This reporter suspects that the fast-paced game was beginning to take its toll on his already-stressed cardiovascular system, and he attempted to slow things down from his position in the centre circle. His own custom handicap system began with a soft penalty to Colleges. The only problem was that cat-like Hatchets gloveman Alex was able to pick the right side and stop the penalty going in.
However, the referee wasn’t to be denied. His next vindictive step was to give Colleges a free kick after Alex allegedly held onto the ball for longer than his allowed six seconds. There was some confusion on the sidelines, as this is not a free-kick that most reasonable human beings would give. This time, the home team made no mistake and slotted the ball into the bottom corner to pull back a consolation goal.
The excitement didn’t end there. A late corner for Herston was on its way into the net before a desperate Colleges defender pulled it back using his hands. After catching his breath, the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and handing out a red card. Jack stepped up to the penalty, but sportingly kicked the ball out for a goal kick to avoid humiliating Colleges any further.
That was how it finished. A hard-fought win by the Hatchets will give some confidence back to their disillusioned supporters, and put them back on track for the season. Next week comes a home game against UQ Fifths, and another three points there would go a long way towards confirming Herston’s finals aspirations.