Wed 5th November 2003 Garnett B 2 (2) vs. (1) 3 Garnett A
Many will say that it is not really to Garnett's advantage to have two teams of such quality in the same division; seasons past have shown that it hinders both teams' progress as crucial points are often dropped in hard fought draws. However, Garnett would not be Garnett if the derby did not happen. These matches are the ones that everyone talks about weeks before with build up to rival that of the European cup final (well, not quite) and are still talking points years down the line 'that was never off side' 'do you remember my thirty yard screamer?'. What is great about the club is that the derbies, and whilst never the prettiest of games (and this one did very little to nullify that statement) they are brilliant to play in. There is everything; passion, great tackles crucial goals, on field spats, the list is endless. This one had an added dimension though with the two sides never more evenly matched. The influx of talented freshers mixed with more seasoned Garnett players have made the B's a force to be reckoned with and were level on points with the A's before kick off, second only due to the A's superior goal difference. The A's though are also a much improved side from last season with a new work ethic and a simple passing football strategy that is the foundation for their play.
Despite both teams being excellent footballing sides, their quality of football never really told in this game; instead it was the sheer physical size and superior fitness of the A's that won this closely fought contest 3-2. These facets are typified by Dave Mercer once again putting in another commanding performance in the centre of mid-field, who grabbed a crucial winner on 75 minutes to maintain the A's unbeaten season. A defensive mix up by the B's allowed Mercer to slot the ball past Harty and elation once again flowed through the A's team. Indeed it had only been minute earlier that a deep cross from Mullan was superbly nodded back across goal by substitute Burke-Murphy for Alexander to hit an outstanding equalizer. The B's shell shocked by these events never recovered as the A's held firm for the win.
It could have been oh so different though, with the B's put in the lead twice by the impressive Moore. This was definitely not a game for defenders with Mullan allowing Moore to slip the ball past Poole for 1-0. Maybe in a different season the A's would have lost their way in search for an equalizer, they had after all had the better of the opening exchanges, but this season is different. And so when Turners low corner was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Tom Brydon the A's were back level.
The spirit of the A's is definitely matched by the B's as they came right back into the game with another defensive mistake by the A's; Ingham lost his footing after being fouled by the persistent Moore and no man covering saw the sharp centre forward grab his second of the game, once again shooting low past Poole. The B's controlled the game for large parts of the first half with the tactics of the A's leaving a little to be desired and so half time saw a switch in formation and personnel with Burke-Murphy operating down the right hand side to give some much needed width and Alexander pushing up front. Dawson was unlucky to be replaced after a good first half, but the alterations unquestionably changed the game.
Defensively the A's were much improved in a second half that was the antithesis of the first 45. The A's started to control the game with the tricky Heslop and Moore marshalled a lot more closely by the A's defensive quartet, Alexander using the ball intelligently, Turner and Burke-Murphy using the flanks well. This pressure eventually told with the A's late flourish although the B's will feel hard done by in their first loss in the league after putting in a display that would have beaten virtually all other teams in inter-mural football. However, the A's were not to be denied, sheer determination seeing them through this highly competitive fixture. This was a massive win for the A's over one of their closest rivals, a match seasons past they might have lost.
A huge amount of respect must go to the B's after playing
some excellent football, but more must go to an A's team that battled
right to the end and showed their team spirit and willingness to really
work for each other. The same commitment is going to have to be shown
next week with another huge match against Athletico Jizzmen.
Team: J.Poole, M.Smith, D.Mullan, T.Ingham, A.Martin (c), D.Mercer 1 (MoM), D.Alexander 1, M.Rogers (M.Sammons), V.Van Savooyen, C.Dawson (T.Burke-Murphy), R.Turner (J.Almond)