“Fine.” – Sarah Terese Munson, 10:15am
A disappointing performance by the Herston Hatchets saw them lose 2-1 to QUTFC last Sunday morning. The boys went into the match with high expectations but were unable to get back into the game after two early goals by the league leaders.
Herston went into the game on a high after the 6-1 win last week, but still made two changes. Sonesh Amin returned after a month-long lay-off with a shoulder injury, and co-player-manager Kregg Laundon was back with his typically furious approach in midfield. The more tactically-aware supporters would also have noticed a change back to the 4-3-3 formation.
Herston were scheduled in the late kick-off of the round, which came as a relief to many of the players who had attended the team function at the Royal International Convention Centre the night before. Bleary-eyed players continued to slowly shuffle into the change-rooms throughout the first eight sonnets of co-player-manager Jenya Demidenok’s pre-game invocation, much to the shiny-headed Eastern European’s displeasure.
Although it is not normally the place of this reporter to comment on off-field matters, anonymous sources suggest that midfielder Nick Boyer was guilty of making promises he couldn’t keep. Nick ‘I’m actually more French than Canadian’ Boyer was so desperate to have an early night and stay fresh for the game in the morning that he cunningly tricked his girlfriend into letting him leave the ball early on the proviso that “I won’t play soccer tomorrow and we can spend the day together.” In actual fact, Nick was one of the first players to arrive at the ground. That’s the kind of commitment we love to see, Nick. Keep up the good work.
Anyway, kick-off finally arrived, much to the delight of the travelling Hatchets supporters. A strong opening period of play saw the boys in red create several half-chances, but nothing was to come of them. In particular, a strong header from the extremely solid Jon-Mark Lane went narrowly over the crossbar.
The uneven pitch was proving to be a source of great frustration for the Toads, hindering their efforts to play the stylish short-passing brand of football that has become their trademark in the QIF Sunday Premier Division. There can be little doubt that this favoured the opposition, who were employing a much more direct game. As the QUT coach was heard to remark – “the ball can’t bobble if it’s ten metres up in the air.”
In the 28th minute, it was one such bobble that cost Herston dearly. A turnover in midfield led to a rapid counter-attack by QUT, who found manlet striker Roman in space down the right. The 5’3″ front man struck the ball hard across the goal, and ever-ready goalkeeper Drew Williams could do nothing to stop the shot.
Five minutes later, it was 2-0. An in-swinging QUT corner wasn’t cleared properly, and a messy goal-mouth scramble eventually led to the ball being crudely scuffed across the proud Hatchets line from close range. Although the Toads could rightly feel hard done by, it was 2-0, and there was going to be a real fight to get anything out of the game. The rest of the half was all QUT, as the Herston players were visibly deflated.
Half-time arrived, and the coaches were absolutely enraged with the boys. Laundon was seen systematically abusing both wingers for not tracking back, only removing his foot from Toby ‘Giovani van’ Brunckhorst’s throat when his left leg began cramping. Demidenok wasn’t to be outdone, pouring three litres of boiling water over an unnamed defender’s face.
Whatever else the managers did, it seemed to have worked as the Hatchets came out all guns blazing in the second half. It was a completely different game, with the ball rarely leaving the QUT defensive third, and Herston applying constant pressure. Eventually, it paid off, when Belarusian Bulldog Demidenok was malevolently hacked down inside the eighteen-yard-box to give Herston their first penalty of the season. Up stepped Tomas Broich lookalike Corey Area, who slotted the ball low to the portly QUT goalkeeper’s left, taking the score to 2-1.
The good work was almost undone just moments later. Unrealistically tall defender Simon Bennet lost possession inside his own half, and was forced to chase back alongside the on-rushing QUT striker. However, the typically clumsy Bennet lost his footing within metres, and collapsed to the ground over the course of several seconds. Hatchets players watched in horror, somehow unable to look away from the developing train-wreck. Luckily for them, Bennet’s trajectory took him across the opposition player’s legs, and the inadvertent professional foul was complete. Bennet received a yellow card from the referee and an exaggerated sigh of relief from everyone else.
Aside from that mishap, the Hatchets completely dominated the last twenty minutes. They were very unlucky not to score again, but still had to settle for a 2-1 loss, their first of the season. To add injury to insult (so to speak), star midfielder Area collapsed with what looks to be a serious knee injury in second half stoppage time. It’s unclear at this stage exactly how long the American will be out for, but it is feared that he has ruptured his ACL, which would see him miss the rest of the season.
Taringa Park Stadium (Home of the Rovers) will remain empty next weekend, with Herston having a bye week due to the forfeit of Fiji United. The players are disappointed, as this would have been the first time they came up against a full international side. However, they will doubtless carry the motivation through to the following week’s fixture against Brisbane Athletic. Tickets are still available.