It’s not every weekend that your team lose a match 3-0 and you walk away proud as punch of your team. This was the case following the LVSL Round 10 match between the undefeated Traralgon Olympians and third placed Trafalgar Victory.
The match was played at an extremely high pace and time on the ball to make decisions was an absolute luxury. This was most certainly the best opposition we have faced all season and the best match as a team we have played as well.
The Olympian strikers are quick, powerful and extremely skilful. However, the Trafalgar defensive unit were up for the challenge and played the most disciplined game of the season. They worked as a cohesive unit and defended grandly for the entirety of the match. The last minute withdrawal of keeper Joshua Rothmeier forced team captain Stuart Beckley to wear the gloves for the entire match. This in turn removed Stuart from his familiar role in the backline and he was replaced in the lineup by Monty Rahama.
From a coaching perspective it was concerning to lose the teams most dependable back man to the goals and to replace him with a relatively inexperienced player in Monty. However, these fears soon disappeared. Stuart played the finest game in goals that has ever been witnessed from a Trafalgar Victory player. He was courageous, physical, cool and calm and brilliant with the gloves. His game alone must have saved at least a further 10 goals conservatively. Whilst Monty proved every bit the equal of the Olympian strikers. He too was athletic, uncompromising and determined for the entire match.
Admittedly, much of the first half was played in the defensive half of the Trafalgar pitch. Olympians made numerous attacks and the Victory defensive unit, who were well supported by defensive mid fielders Joshua Porter and Toby Budd, were working overtime to clear the region. Eventually the number of Olympian attacks found the back of the net and they took a 1-0 lead into the half time break.
When a team plays the current “best in the competition” one can learn a great deal about individuals under extreme pressure. What stood out to myself as coach was the work rate and determination of players such as Lachlan Smith, Michael Judd, Tobby Budd, Joshua Porter and Monty Rahama. These lads were definitely up for the challenge and worked extremely hard all match long both offensively and defensively. There was no intimidation from the opposition and no giving up from these lads at any stage in the game. Admirable qualities indeed.
The second half followed the same script as the first. However, there were some genuine scoring opportunities for Trafalgar who caught Olympians on the hop when rebounding. Logan Winter had a couple of good shots on goal. However the Olympian keeper did well to save potential scoring opportunities when needed to do so. It was a tough day for Logan as a single striker in a structure that deliberately strengthened its defensive lines. He battled well, but was double teamed for most of the match.
Lachy Burke and Michael Wallace both played good games as wing defenders. Both boys had to work extremely hard against attacking and skilful opposition. Jacob Holmes, Nic Tammes and Calum Stewart also played serviceable matches and generated considerable run along their respective wings.
Olympians scored a second goal via a speedy run through the centre of the ground that left the Trafalgar backline somewhat flat footed. Despite an amazing effort from Stuart to defend the goal, the ball ricocheted like a pinball giving the Trafalgar keeper little chance of making the save. The third and final goal of the match was a matter of sheer numbers. The Traf boys defending grandly in the box and blocked several shots on goal. However, as a result of failing to effectively clear the region it was only a matter of time before one of the shots found the back of the net. The final score was 3-0 in Traralgon Olympian’s favour.
At the games conclusion, the team had learned a great deal about the Olympian’s team, but a great deal more about themselves. Captain Stuart Beckley summed up the match well when he said “He had never been prouder of a Trafalgar performance”. Sentiments shared by his coach and many other TVFC fans present at the match.
Jump & Climb Award: Monty Rahama
BK’s Award: Stuart Beckley
Better players: Stuart Beckley, Monty Rahama, Lachlan Smith, Michael Judd, Toby Budd and Joshua Porter.