The Herston Hatchet’s lost 2-0 against Acacia Ridge SYL on Friday night sparking questions about the maturity of the side moving into mid-season.
Coming off a strong 4-0 victory over league veterans ‘War Pigs’, the Herston Hatchets are showing flashes of brilliance this season that are inspiring pundits to believe they may reach the potential promised within this building team. Defense veterans Rockie Kang and Patrick Jay have linked up with the new signings to keep the Hatchet’s goal concession one of the lowest in the league. Striker Collin Greer, with new signing Darius Kay as his companion forward, has been on a hot streak with Greer scoring 5 goals in the previous two games. And it has been seen in the last few weeks that the Hatchets have made great strides in the midfield with the 2017 veteran Moonie Singh welcoming USA midfielders Austin Jabbour, Marcus Davis and Kenny Hunt, developing a dominant controlling style in the center of the pitch and opening plays utilizing the speed of the wingers and power of the forwards.
The Herston Med XI have shown that they are top contenders in the SEQ football league. In 2016 they took fourth place losing to a strong Old Bridge side in the first semi-final after being up 2-0 for most of the game. In 2017 they finished fourth again however this time lost to Acacia Ridge SYL in the elimination final, keeping the game nil-all until giving away a penalty in front of their own goal in the 80th minute, conceding a goal and losing 1-0.
Sitting in fourth place and with a promising start to 2018, Friday night highlighted an ongoing struggle with the one remaining puzzle piece that stand between the Hatchets and Friday night social league soccer superstardom.
Last Friday saw the Hatchet’s take on last year’s season-enders, Acacia Ridge SYL, on the small Spanish Center pitch. From early in the game the Hatchets looked frustrated. The pitch was small, the air hung in a cold frost and many players were weary from studying for upcoming exams. More importantly SYL were playing their archetypal style of short, quick play – rushing their opposition on offense and fouling in defense. The Hatchet’s midfield quickly became nullified as any possession resulted in several SYL defenders grouping on one Hatchet player and either dispossessing them or bringing them to ground.
With early frustration came an early concession. SYL took possession around the midfield and worked their quick passing game towards the Hatchet’s box. Though not low in defensive numbers the Hatchets made a mistake: offering the SYL midfielder too much respect in front of the box and relenting excess space. This resulted in the first shot of the game slipping into the bottom of the goal out of range of keeper Graves’ left hand.
It was after this wake up that the forward line attempted to even the scores. Greer came close with a countering run. With the SYL defensive line forward on offense Greer found himself on a darting break with the SYL final defender. Under pressure, he dashed a shot across the goal barely missing the far post. Further attacks were no more fruitful.
“Look, I’m pissed off,” exclaimed Manager Alex Graves at half time. “From the back I’m seeing our boys jumping in to bad tackles, ball watching and losing possession too easily. We need to play our game and dominate these sides!”
The second half would not be any better. Bad tackles by both sides (particularly the SYL contingent), complaints to the referee and five yellow cards marred the half. Herston attempted to use their size and strength in tackles to regain dominance on the pitch. They improved on their first half performance. However again a lapse in focus from the reds in midfield and defense allowed an SYL throw-in from half way to turn into a break with nothing but Graves between the SYL striker and the goal. With little hope, Graves’ best efforts were not able to stop the shot fired from well within Hatchet’s territory and SYL were away: 2-0. This goal knocked what was left out of the Herston sails and sealed the final score.
The Hatchets were the better side on Friday night but SYL were capable and willing to utilize the lack of focus and prudence form the Hatchets to add a victory to the table, threatening the top four. Finding answers and goals early this season, the Hatchets are looking like a winning side. But if they are to be the side that takes the trophy we must keep asking for more answers. This time we must ask whether they have the winning temperament to win tough games and hold their form throughout the season. It is yet to be seen whether the side will mature into the best side they can and play at the level that we are all hoping to see.
Dan Edey writes for the Hatchets Tabloid and is an upstanding journalist who writes only the most honest and legitimate news. Follow the Facebook page for more updates from the Herston Med XI.