A new-look Hatchets side went into the opening game of the season full of confidence, but ultimately came up short against the Spitfires. Although they did take a point away from Prentice Park, the Hatchets will still feel disappointed that they weren’t able to grab all three after putting in a spirited performance.
It had been a long and gruelling pre-season under high-profile new co-manager Kregg Laundon, who, along with incumbent scalp-polisher Jenya Demik, oversaw the selection of four new first-year players, as well as countless virgin second-years and, strangely, a graduate electrical engineer. The team was eager to back up from their victory in the inaugural QLD Med Soccer Tournament last year with a strong showing in the league.
The large crowd was in for a surprise, when they saw that respected English Academy Award nominee John Hurt was taking charge of the game as referee. It was clear that the players hadn’t been the only ones working hard in pre-season, as Mr. Hurt jogged back and forth arthritically, only allowing himself to finally leave his designated zone in the centre circle when he was ready for a half-time cigarette.
Although Herston made all the early running, it was the Spitfires that opened the scoring in the 32nd minute. A turnover in midfield gifted the opposition striker time and space to shoot, and despite the best efforts of stocky custodian Drew Williams, he found the bottom corner of the net. The men in red were shell-shocked, and took some time to make their way back into the game.
As the thrilling first half finally came to an end, both teams retreated to the shade for some well-earned rest. The Hatchets with oranges and Gatorade, while the Spitfires opted for their traditional cigarettes and Mars Bars. Demik and Kregg ‘Furious’ Laundon had some typically stern words for the boys in the half-time team talk.
After the break, though, everything was coming up Hatchets. Debutant Michael Alim began to control the centre of the park, and chances fell to Boyer, Kerin and Amin in quick succession. Although no one could put an opportunity away, pressure was starting to build.
In the 61st minute, it finally paid off. The portly Spitfires goalkeeper could only clear an in-swinging corner as far as Laundon on the edge of the box. He fired a shot towards the near post, which took a deflection and crashed into the back of the net.
With the score at 1-1, Hatchets fans could be forgiven for expecting more goals from their beloved boys in red. However, it was not to be. The falling rain made it harder and harder for any decent football to be played, and eventually the game finished with scores still deadlocked.
Attention now turns to Jack Speare Park (Home of the Rovers), Taringa, on Sunday May 4th. The next Hatchets game is against Woodridge Rodelu, and has been labelled a ‘classic six-pointer’ by many pundits. Kick-off will be at 12:30pm. Tickets are still available.