TORRENS Valley’s six week undefeated run came to an abrupt end on Saturday when they were beaten at Birdwood Park by a more efficient Flinders University.
The 3-1 loss was made worse by the loss of several players through injury and a somewhat flat performance, arguably caused by not playing last week due to the local pitch condition.
Flinders went ahead before the half hour mark and Simon Rose equalised for the home side seven minutes later. The visitors scored again within a minute after half time and then with 19 minutes to play.              

Torrens Valley started with ten players and was almost made to pay after two minutes when a poor goalkeeper clearance went straight to a Flinders midfielder whose first-time dig from near the edge of the centre circle sailed over the custodian, but wide of the post.

Rams’ Shane Parker headed the ball over the bar on 13 minutes, but moments later at the opposite end, a golden chance fell for an unmarked Flinders’ Chunys who nodded an in-swinging corner-ball goal bound but goalkeeper John Vyden stretched out to save.  The resulting corner also yielded another chance for the visitors, but the powerful header cannoned over the crossbar. Flinders had another chance to score, this time from a free-kick, but Vyden swatted away the strike which was bound for the top left corner of the net on 25 minutes.

Torrens Valley’s horrible defending of corner kicks continued as Flinders went ahead from the resulting play. The kick-taker played a short ball to a teammate wide of the penalty box, drew four undisciplined defenders out of the box and played a deft ball into an unmarked Barney Maraka who turned and finished past the advancing ‘keeper.

Torrens Valley levelled on 32 minutes when Parker punted forward to Rose whose marker tripped on his own feat and could only watch from the deck as the striker hit a sweet half-volley past the ‘keeper.

The tempo lifted directly from the restart as Parker gave away a clumsy free-kick and then Flinders’ G Kelly laid a late kamikaze challenge on Tobias Carpenter after the pair had collided moments earlier.

Flinders went ahead within one minute after half time as Maraka collected an assist and a goal as he played a ball through, run past three defenders and beat two of his teammates to the ball and then fired a left-foot shot through the legs of Vyden.

Rose should have levelled the match for a second time five minutes later, but he failed to get purchase on his six yard effort directly in front. The Flinders’ goalkeeper made a brilliant save as he tipped a Jo Harvey shot on goal over the bar on the hour mark, then Rose nearly pounced on some goalmouth scraps before the ‘keeper again intervened.

Vyden’s palms were then stung after a fizzing shot from the Flinders’ right-back, who burst down the flank and unleashed a shot from the edge of the box. The knockout blow came on 71 minutes when an attempted clearance pinballed back into the path of an attacker who finished with a neat strike inside the edge of the box. Andrew Craig and Craig Bibby were forced to make some vital defensive tackles as Flinders pushed forward in the latter stages and Vyden also helped keep the score respectable with a fine save from a Flinders free kick on 87 minutes.

Ironically, the result means the Rams move up to seventh on the table despite losing. The logjam in the middle of the division four league table is highlighted by the fact that Torrens Valley dropped from fourth to eighth because of last week’s postponed fixture.
The Rams are assisted by a friendly draw for the second half of the season, which sees them play only two of six away games against teams above them on the table.

Reserves
The reserves match ended 2-0 to Flinders as N Rudgely scored with a freak corner kick that missed everyone on 59 minutes and then three minutes later his delivery from the same spot set up an unmarked L Greive who headed in the second.

The opening half hour proved quiet for the highlights reel and the Rams’ best chance of the match came closer to half time. Centre-back Jeremy Byrnes made a daring run through the middle of the park and set up David Dau with a delicious through ball; but the striker lifted his effort into the Koala-clad Eucalypts behind the goal line.
Steve ‘Nifty’ Nemet shot agonisingly wide moments before half time as he headed down a high pass from Dau and then hit the ball wide of the left upright and the diving ‘keeper.

Goalkeeper Chris Brittain was forced to make several top-drawer saves in the second half to deny Flinders any further goals, including a reflex dive to his left to parry away a cannoning strike from outside the box.