Match 1: 10:00 AM @ St. Vincent’s Park – Main Pitch
Ferguson Brewing Co vs. AOH St. Charles
With the wind whipping and the clouds rolling in, we braced for a fantastic match Saturday at St. Vinny’s. AOH St. Charles with their high powered goal machine was facing off against an extremely talented and well-captained Ferguson Brewing Co. For the first half, AOH had the advantage of a solid 10-15 mph wind and would look to go up in the first minute like last week. However the first blood was drawn by Matt Anglin of FBC. Last week’s man of the match picked up where he left off by ripping a wicked shot from just outside the corner of the small box. That’s 3 up for FBC. 2 minutes later, it was Anglin again. As Ryan Limb carried the mail, he found Anglin with an amazing pass at the 20m line and Matt instantly popped it over the bar for 1 more. at 7″ in, FBC was quickly up by 4. AOH finally found their stride 10″ in with Pete DaPrato breaking in on goal from the right side. Left with no alternative, Matt Stuart had to wrap up Pete and give away a free from the 20. With ball in hand, DaPrato went for the immediate impact of 3 points, but the shot found the keeper’s gloves and the ball was quickly cleared out to the sideline. Phil Hawkins grabbed the clearance and motored the ball up the sideline until a harsh challenge from AOH’s Tim Buckley punted him over the line and resulted in a warning from the reiteor. AOHSTC and Pete DaPrato found themselves another opportunity at 15″ and this time didn’t walk away empty handed. As DaPrato charged in from the right wing, he let loose a bomb from 30m away that found the net inside of the left post – amazing strike.
As if to quench the AOH flames, only minutes later Ferguson’s Joe Byrne was seen ambling up the path towards the pitch. Like manna from heaven, captain Sterling Hayden looked upon Byrne as a welcome and necessary source of sustenance. “There he is, my guy” said Hayden. As the match heated up, FBC’s Michael Keane was shown a yellow for a trip that could be seen as a little casual. Even though the possession firmly favored them, at this point Ferguson was only up by 1. With 4 minutes left in the half, Byrne sent a rainmaker of a kick over the bar from way, way out – immediate impact from a talented young man. Only a minute later, Angel Garcia for FBC got loose at the edge of the large box and sent a shot on goal that was parried away by keeper Tim Renz. Unfortunately the rebound went right into the path of Garcia and he gave Ferguson a little breathing room at the half by depositing the 3 points into the bank.
Ferguson Brewing Co: 2-5-11
AOH St. Charles: 1-3-6
Within 3 minutes of the 2nd half throw in, Joe Byrne once again made his presence felt by sending a point in from just inside the left sideline. Only a few minutes later, Ferguson decided to take over the match with back to back goals from Phil Hawkins and another 3 point tally for Byrne. And just like that, what was a 4 point lead at the half blew out to 11 before you got back from the concession stand. At 35″ FBC’s Keane decided this all looked like fun and he wanted in as well, rocking a strike off the crossbar from 15m out. Not to be denied, Keane swooped in from the right only 2 minutes later and went for a highlight reel goal. Keeper Tim Renz had other ideas though. Keane caught Byrne’s eye and JB sent a beautiful ball over towards the right post where Keane used a 2 handed punch to try and beat Renz. Only he didn’t, as Renz was the one that stole the highlight on this occasion and made an amazing save with some very strong hands.
The majestic save from Renz served to motivate AOH and they were throwing everything at Ferguson in the last 10 minutes. A lovely strike from a serviceable John Krause brought AOH 3 points closer, but it was never going to be enough as the goal only halved the score 22-11. A final impressive clear off the goal line by AOH’s Mikey Orbin in the last minute of play showed that the Hibernians hadn’t lost their fight and that there is always pride to play for.
With more points than goals in this match, it shows that AOH can play with a bit of finesse and movement. Unfortunately the goals didn’t come along for the ride and there was never any real threat to Ferguson Brewing Co. If AOHSTC can keep pouring in the goals and use their new found ability to score points, then they look like they could make a real push in the 2nd half of the season.
Ferguson Brewing Co: 4-10-22
AOH St. Charles: 2-7-13
Ferguson Brewing Co: Angel Garcia(1-0), Dan Cowin(0-3), Joe Byrne(1-3), Matt Anglin(1-1), Mike Keane(0-2), Owen McQuiston(0-1), Phil Hawkins(1-0).
AOH St. Charles: John Beard(0-2), Jeff Brown(0-2), John Krause(1-1), Pete DaPrato(1-2).
Man of the Match: Joe Bryne – Ferguson Brewing Co.
Match 2: 11:15 AM @ St. Vincent’s Park – Main Pitch
Happy Apples vs. Pat Connolly Tavern
With the weather looking as if it was going to threaten, the wind had shifted to a steady cross-pitch direction – no real advantage would be gained for this one. I was really looking forward to this one, with both sides having some real speed on tap to make for a wide open, aggressive contest. Imagine my surprise when it took almost 10 minutes for the scoring to start.
At 4″ Anne Glaser sent a superb point attempt towards the PCT frame, only to have it called wide after a little consultation. Hat’s off to Anne though, as she made her own space and got a great foot on the shot. The Apples’ ball movement was sublime in the first 10 minutes and captain Ryan Lobbig’s leadership was clearly evident in the team’s wide play. The problem for the redshirts was that NOTHING was going over – the first 3 point attempts were all wide. To that, the PCT responded ‘hold my pint young lad, lemme show you how it’s done’. The 10″ mark saw PCT’s Matt Green put an elegant point over for the first score of the match, followed closely by points from Kieran O’Shea and Tony Cowin. 14″ in, the Apples’ co-captain Ryan Hallows had a golden chance on goal to get the redshirts on the board, but it wasn’t to be. At this point it was evident that Lobbig was sacrificing personal offensive contributions in order to keep a speedy Matt Green in check.
Finally 18″ in, Jeff Fowler let fly with a Byrne-esque skyrocket of a point to put Happy Apples’ first mark on the score sheet. But only a minute later, PCT’s Mike Reynolds broke in with a burst of speed and drove a blast off the upper 90. The rebound off the frame conveniently found Reynolds in stride and he slotted the ball home for a grand goal. Happy Apples bounced back from the goal very well though and took the play to PCT. The Apples desperately need a score with halftime on the horizon and Anne Glaser obliged. With a looping drive, Glaser found a little daylight over keeper Kara Richardson’s head and hit side netting for a sorely needed 3 points. This would be the final score of the half and only the 2nd score of the match for Happy Apples.
Pat Connolly Tavern: 2-5-11
Happy Apples: 1-1-4
A fiery and strategic halftime talk for the Happy Apples got them ready to rock & roll for half #2. By this time, the sky had turned pale grey and there were rain drops being felt in the wind. Apples were about ready to turn up the heat. 1 minute into the 2nd half, Chance Evans wearing his Hannibal mask (to protect broken facial bones) slipped into the PCT penalty area and drove home a goal for the redshirts. 5 minutes later Joey ‘the Godfather’ Abkemeier got a toe to a loose ball in the box and tallied another goal for the ‘starting-to-get-a-little-happier-Apples’. From near disaster at halftime, Happy Apples with 2 quick goals pulled to within 1 point of the Pat Connolly Tavern. NOW we’ve got ourselves a match.
After another point from Matt Green – who was ALL over the pitch – Kelly DaPrato pulled the Apples back to within 1 with a well-earned point. This is as close as the match would be. 36″ in, PCT’s Reynolds strikes back with his 2nd goal of the game, driving one low out of the keeper’s reach. Another goal from Reynolds 43″ in completes his hat trick and stretches the lead to 8 points for the PCT. The man was virtually untouchable on the day and his 2 goals in succession in the 2nd half essentially put this match to bed. If a Mike Reynolds hatty wasn’t enough to kick Happy Apples in the gut, a 44th minute strike from Tony ‘this ain’t your grandpappy’s beard’ Cowin surely sucked the life out of the Apples. After Cowin’s blast, a rallying cry from captain Lobbig let the redshirts know that ‘we need goals people – goals now’. Although Happy Apples dialed up the pressure in the last 10 minutes, the only goal that came was from Lobbig’s own boot in the last minute of play. On the ensuing kick out, the final whistle blew.
Although the final score wouldn’t suggest it, this was a very tight match. I was very impressed by Happy Apples’ response after halftime and the fact that they were very close to taking the match back from PCT should put other teams on notice that the Apples will never quit. The problem with the Apples 2nd half comeback is that the Pat Connolly Tavern is VERY good team and they had the strength to thwart the comeback and take over. It’s the old adage of ‘poking the bear’.
Pat Connolly Tavern: 5-9-24
Happy Apples: 4-4-16
Pat Connolly Tavern: Eric Weber(0-1), Kieran O’Shay(0-1), Matt Green(1-3), Mike Reynolds(3-0), Tony Cowin(1-4).
Happy Apples: Ryan Lobbig(1-1), Anne Glaser(1-0), Chance Evans(1-0), Jeff Fowler(0-1), Joe Abkemeier(1-0), Kelly DaPrato(0-1), Mike Guinn(0-1).
Man of the Match: Tony Cowin – Pat Connolly Tavern