Round Three of the 2015 F-League competition was played out over the weekend of 24/25 May with home matches for both the Boomerangs men and women against the travelling Queensland teams, South Brisbane and Galaxy FC (Gold Coast).
It was a beautiful autumn afternoon in the capital, and with the sun shining, quite pleasant outdoors and indeed inside the mPowerdome. However as the afternoon sun gave way to the evening chill, the air became distinctly icy, making both the players and spectators shiver through the three matches.
The Women’s game was sandwiched between the two men’s matches and kicked off at 6pm, after the South Brisbane team drove across town from their earlier comfortable defeat of Capital FC.
In what was always going to be a close match – these two teams have rarely been separated by more than a goal or two – both teams brought their A-Games to the Boomerangs home court.
The match started not with a bang, but with control and discipline, as each team attempted to gain strategic advantage. The scoreboard opened after a goalless first nine minutes with South Brisbane knocking one home after a dominant period of play. It took little time though for the Boomer ladies to respond with Olivia Gurney smashing home from a rebound not two minutes later levelling it up at a goal a piece.
With three minutes remaining in the first half, the Queenslanders slotted home a second after the Boomerangs lost possession in the defensive third. Again the Boomerangs clawed it back almost immediately with a stellar goal by Nat De Marco which took the teams into the half-time break all squared up 2-2.
The second half commenced similarly to the first, with neither team looking to press goal-ward with any level of intensity, rather seeking to gain possession and momentum advantage. Some great work by goalkeepers at both ends allowed the scorer to remain idle.
Indeed it took until fifteen minutes into the second stanza for the arm wrestle to be broken with Becky Roche scoring from an Alex Marten assist. Boomerangs 3-2 South Brisbane with just five minutes to play.
However the lead did not take long to be cancelled out – as it had all game – with South Brisbane converting a free kick to bring it back square with just four minutes to play.
Both teams pressed for the winner, but neither could convert, leaving the match all tied at 3-3 as the final whistle blew.
Boomerangs Women 3-3 South Brisbane De Marco 1, Gurney 1, Roche 1
Check out photos of the match at http://bit.ly/1cU9sPW
The first of the two men’s matches – against the South Brisbane team – kicked off at 4.15pm to open up the day’s proceedings at the mPowerdome. It took until nine minutes into the game for the Boomerangs to register their first score with a smashing shot by Grant Barlow – his second goal in just his second F-League match. In no time at all though, South Brisbane countered effectively to tie it up 1-1.
The Boomerangs coaching staff were forced to call a time-out as South Brisbane scored a second with seven and a half left in the first half.
On almost the very next offensive play the South Brisbane team had a player red carded for an infringement on Boomerangs first half goal keeper, Zac Sorenson. As hard as they tried though, the Boomers failed to convert the one man on-field advantage into scoreboard advantage in the following two minute period. However, not five seconds had elapsed after South Brisbane regained their full quota of on-field personnel, when a Cal Smith bomb smashed into the back of the net to tie it up two all.
The Boomers conceded another through an unfortunate own goal with just three minutes to play of the first half, ensuring the Queenslanders went into the half-time break a goal to the good.
The first eight minutes of the second half saw the Boomerangs pepper the South Brisbane goal for no return…. on the counter South Brisbane were busy throwing their best efforts at the Boomer’s defence. It took until eight minutes into the second stanza for a goal to come – and it was a cracker with Cal Smith taking matters into his own hands and slotting one home after beating most of the defenders along the way. Boomerangs 3-3 South Brisbane.
With five minutes remaining on the clock, the Boomerangs coaching staff called a much needed timeout after what had become a very physical period of play, resulting in several players being heavily knocked to the floor, including Smith, Ciminelli and second half keeper van Aalst.
Soon after the resumption, and for the second time in the match, Cal Smith took it upon himself to beat the whole South Brisbane team and smash home his third to make it a single goal lead with two and a half minutes to play.
Smith registered his fourth for the match from the ten metre penalty spot as South Brisbane incurred their sixth team foul of the physical second half. Ben Basser-Silk put a full stop on the game with just two seconds to play to wrap up a solid, and hard fought win over the courageous South Brisbane team.
Boomerangs Men 6-3 South Brisbane C. Smith 4, Barlow 1, Basser-Silk 1
Check out photos of the match at http://bit.ly/1F6E4c6
The second match of the day for the Boomerangs men was at 7.45pm, immediately after the women’s match and less than two hours after they finished their tough physical game against South Brisbane. From the earlier game, Jono Ciminelli sustained an ankle injury which prevented him backing up. Also worse for wear, but still able to take the court, were Michael Reeve and Cal Smith.
The lads though started the match in fine form, hitting their straps immediately and grabbing the early lead against the jet-lagged Galaxy boys. It took just four minutes of game time for Ben Basser-Silk to knock one past the Galaxy keeper from a killer Cal Smith assist.
Michael Reeve added to the scoreline not a minute later with a cracker of an individual goal – with the pleasure showing after not being able to register on the score sheet in the earlier match. Boomerangs 2-0 Galaxy with less than six minutes played, and seemingly on their way to another victory.
However, the Galaxy men grabbed one back with some nice passing and movement catching the Boomerangs defence out. 2-1 to the Boomers with eight minutes gone in the match. Two minutes later, the Galaxy add a second to tie the match up, which is where it remained when the half-time buzzer sounded. The Boomerangs looking to tire in the latter part of the first half, and the Galaxy boys starting to pick up their rhythm and flow.
The end of the half-time break couldn’t come quick enough for the players as the temperature started to drop to near freezing. Some five minutes into the second half and Galaxy, clearly thawing out more quickly, score a third – once again as some terrific passing and movement off the ball split the Boomers defence wide open. For a team in their first season of the top flight of futsal in Australia, the Galaxy lads play a high quality, slick brand of futsal.
No further goals and a time out called with five minutes to play; and the Boomerangs men decide to play fly-keeper in an endeavour to claw back the deficit. The Galaxy defense handled the extra Boomerangs field player effectively despite constant forward half pressure by the home team for the majority of the final five minutes.
With 42 seconds left in the match the Galaxy scored into an unprotected goal after intercepting a Boomerangs pass. Down by two, the Boomers lads threw everything into the final three quarters of a minute and managed to secure a ten metre penalty with only a few seconds left on the clock – which they failed to convert.
As the final whistle ended the game, it was Galaxy the victors in their first ever F-League trip to the capital 4-2 over the Boomerangs.
Boomerangs Men 2-4 Galaxy FC (QLD) Basser-Silk 1, Reeve 1
Check photos of the match at http://bit.ly/1F6E4c6
Across the F-League
In other matches…
The traveling Vic Vipers did the seemingly impossible and won all three matches on their Sydney road trip, stamping their favouritism on the 2015 race for the title. Bayside Pirates did less well, losing all three on their trip north of the Murray, and conceding 31 goals in the process. As a result, the three Sydney teams all split their weekend games with a win and a loss each.
The Queensland travelling teams both split their ACT Road trips, but in reverse fashion — and Capital FC, like the Boomerangs also split the weekend.
The Vic Vipers ladies lost all three of their Sydney games putting a dampener on their good season start. South Brisbane had an unbeaten road trip, defeating Capital FC and drawing with the Boomerangs women.