Acacia Ridge traveled to New Farm on Sunday to face New Farm united. There were some bad feelings from the last time these two met. Previously New Farm won after they were awarded two non-existent penalties and Ridge were reduced to ten men.
The reserves kicked off at 1 pm. Ridge were happy to see a return of some key personnel and it showed with a very good start to the game. Acacia Ridge boys started strong but a penalty was awarded to New Farm half way through first half. New Farm took their opportunity from the spot and despite some good chances by Acacia Ridge it stayed 1-0 at half time. Second half started the same way with Ridge attacking only to get caught out in the end with two quick goals. Laps of concentration at the back gave New Farm a chance to close out the game which they took. Overall it was not a good result but it was a much improved performance. Reserves should be happy with their efforts and I am sure they will win this weekend if they play just as hard.
First teams took the field and it was all one way traffic from the first whistle. Acacia Ridge completely dominated the possession and chances. New Farm tactics were reduced scramble defending, fouls and dives. New Farm crossed half way for the first time in the game mid-way through the first half. After a good clean tackle by one of Ridge defenders referee saw a foul, to make matters worse he awarded a penalty for a tackle that was clearly outside the box. New Farm scored from their only shot on goal and took the lead. Game went back to Acacia Ridge dominating and New Farm defending by persistent fouling. New Farm soon got another penalty after the ball hit one of the Ridge players in the chest. Referee clearly not up to the task pointed to the spot once more. New Farm doubled their lead from the spot which was also their second shot on the goal. In the dying seconds of the first half it was 3-0 after a mix-up at the back allowed one of New Farm strikers to score. The boys went in at half time 3 goals down to a team whose only tactics was to defend by continuous fouling which was easily around 40 in the first half only.
At this point it would have been easy to give up and throw this game away. If the boys gave up right then and there no one would have blamed them. I am sure even the coach would understand that after all of the good work we simply could not play against the referee too. Acacia Ridge players came out at half time like nothing ever happened. There were no signs of frustration and with smiles on their faces. The boys knew there was only one team that played football in this game and it was them. Acacia Ridge went back to dominating the game but sure enough referee awarded another penalty to New Farm. There must have been a sniper in the crowd or a New Farm player took one of the most embarrassing dives to win a third penalty for his team. New Farm striker had a chance to seal the game from the spot but it was well saved by the Ridge keeper. Acacia Ridge kept attacking and looking for a goal only to be denied by woodwork on at least 5-6 occasions. Finally after some good work on the left side, Ridge got one back. New Farm kept fouling but Acacia Ridge boys kept coming at them and soon after go another one. A bullet from a free kick hit the underside of the crossbar and went over the line to make it 3-2. Afraid of losing the game, New Farm showed they have an even uglier side. Some New Farm players started tackling with two feet from behind and even resorting to as low as to standing on players while they are lying on the ground. The referee seemed to have gone from “super vision” to blind in matter of minutes as he refused to pull the New Farm players for their offences. The whole New Farm defense could have been sent off for continually fouling as the last man and denying goal scoring opportunities. Again it would have been easy for the Ridge boys to react and do something stupid but the discipline showed by the boys was amazing. Acacia Ridge boys stayed disciplined and focused on football and were finally awarded a penalty of their own. One of the Acacia Ridge players was fouled inside the box just as he was about to pull the trigger from 3m out. The referee had no choice but to award the penalty which Ridge used to equalize. With about 5 minutes remaining Acacia Ridge boys went for the win but were constantly fouled with some of the most obvious professional fouls which the referee still didn’t see as card worthy.
Overall it wasn’t a result that we wanted but given the circumstances the boys showed incredible attitude and discipline along with our trademark good football. I am sure that if we turn up with the same discipline and attitude there is no team that can beat us. Next game we are at home on Saturday against Narangba.