Almanac (Under 13) Soccer – Barossa United v Adelaide Comets: The greatest nil-all draw of all time





Those willing to brave the cold of a rainy Sunday morning had their hearts warmed as they became engrossed in a game of football which will go down in history as the greatest nil-all draw of all time. You can have your World Cup Italys, you can have your off-side trap Arsenals, you can have your Michael Whitney hang-ons, but no draw will compare with this.


The mighty Barossa Under 13s, with two wins and two draws for the season, hosted top-four side the Adelaide Comets, at Hoffman Oval in Nuriootpa.


We were never going to make it easy for them. In the opening minutes Ajay Taylor and Ari Edwards set the tone, pressuring their opponents, denying them time and causing them to cough up possession. Ajay never let up all day and Ari was a total competitor wherever the coaches, Mark Nacey and Toby Barlow, put her.


Fellow mid-fielders Daisy Barlow, Amilie Amos and Miranda Joseph won the ball and sent it forward while Elena Wood, who shows terrific maturity, played a natural leader’s game.


The secret whiteboard work of Coaches Nacey and Barlow was obvious to the supporters, highly versed in the tactics of the game, as they stirred into post-Saturday night Barossa life on the sideline. One of their strategies was for the girls to play through-balls to make the most of the pace of Sharni Undo, Elena (when she pushed up) and the athletic Jemima Farley.


Back from a nasty ankle injury, Jemima showed she has a lot to offer the side.


The strategy was built on the confidence the coaches had in their team’s defence.


Much-admired goal-keeper Bridget Lindner always gives our side great confidence and she was brave and resolute.


Then there was our back three. Not since Richmond’s Bolger, Sheahan and O’Neill in the `30s have people talked about a full back line – in any code – like this. Isla Barlow was a rock at centre back, Piper Nacey defused their breaks with her fox-terrier desperation and Anna Harms was cool under pressure.


Time after time, Anna and Isla turned defence into attack, thumping the ball forward and, along with Bridget’s ginormous footy kicks, they gave Sharni and Jemima something to charge on to.


So often the ball pierced their last line. As our forwards sprinted towards goal, Mums squealed (one or two screeched) and Dads yelled like they’d had a lobster on the fast-finishing roughie in the Doncaster. We built more pressure, winning corner after corner. But we just couldn’t find the back of the net.


The Comets countered like the outstanding team they are. But our defenders were equal to them, and held firm.


It was end to end football.


Anna, thrown into the mid-field in the dying stages, drifted forward and had a couple of chances. Amilie’s shot went wide. There was a scramble in the box. And another one.


Then, just as we were thinking the gods must be crazy, we won a free kick, just outside the penalty area.


The crowd screamed for the big boot of Isla Barlow.


She went back and sank the slipper.


What a sound it made!


“She’s timed that,” said the 43-year-old mother of two from Gnadenfrei.


We held our collective breath as it sailed through the air, right on target, until it cannoned into the chest of the Comets keeper almost knocking her into the net.


The ref blew the final whistle to end a wonderful game of football.


Final score: Barossa United 0, Adelaide Comets 0.



Read more from John Harms HERE.


About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst four. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.


  1. Daryl Schramm says

    Brilliant summary JTH. Anna is stiff having her old man trying to be balanced. Always the last mentioned. I watched two junior games Sat morning. One on particular was of the highest standard I had seem this year. I can see why you might be too busy for golf!

  2. Have you moulded Anna more in the Harley, Scarlett or Enright style?

  3. Luke Reynolds says

    They are quality looking uniforms! Fantastic report, sometimes there’s more drama in a nil all draw or a drawn 5 day Test match than a winning/losing result.

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