Comets hang on to lead with nil draw
A blustery, cold day at Arthur Fong kicked off the start of the last round of football’s main competition.
Second place Westland United Women were hoping to close the gap against the Comets, who have a comfortable 6 point lead in the women’s competition. In the end, a 0-0 draw means the Comets’ lead stays the same.
The majority of the game was fought in the centre third of the field with scoring chances less than normally seen when these two teams meet. Comets offered up the first real chance of the game with a good strike from Rosa Cooper but Westland’s Casey Neill made a great save to knock it over the top of the net. Westland had their own chance not long after when a chipped cross found Bronwyn Slack alone outside the penalty box. Her shot went just over the top right-hand corner.
Possession swung back and forth in the second half with play opening up and each team starting to find gaps in the opponent’s defence. Georgia Goddard, Comets’ player of the day, and Cooper were involved in creating scoring chances but Westland’s defence, notably player of the day Jess Jackson, were too good at shutting things down and forcing errors. At the other end, Slack, Kat Curnow and Meg Glancy each got some chances but couldn’t convert. Westland will be happy to get a draw against the consistently dominant Comets.
The second women’s game between Dragons and Goblins saw no shift in the standings either with a 2 all draw.
Dragons dominated the first half with the majority of possession. They quickly took the lead with Amanda Curry scoring early on and then adding a second on a nice individual effort to give her team a 2-0 lead at half time.
Things shifted to the Goblins benefit in the second half as they pressured the Dragons’ defence. Paris Jackson and player of the day Eve Findlay took goal scoring shots to bring the game even at the finish. It proved a very strong game for both teams with good general play and defence. Dragons’ Riona Ashworth o Callaghan earned player of the day for her hard work.
Next week, Goblins host Westland United Women at Arthur Fong at 12:00 followed by Dragons taking on the Comets at 1:15pm.
In the men’s league, Grey United are finally starting to get a few results together after beating Marist 5-2 at Arthur Fong.
The first half was a back and forth affair, with both teams having chances. Grey United got the first goal after a pass over the top from Anton Merkushev allowed Blake Hodgson to advance on goal before finishing into the bottom corner. Marist kept the Grey United defence busy, with David Lowe and Josh Furze keeping up the pressure. After a through ball caught out the Grey United defence, Furze selflessly passed the ball to Lowe, who finished into an empty net. Furze then scored one of his own, running strongly through the United defence to coolly finish. Lowe could easily have had a hat-trick, hitting the post once and forcing a few great saves from Franko Horridge. In addition, some great tackling by Raven Brown limited Marist’s opportunities. Just before the end of the half, Grey’s Hodgson floated a corner straight onto Merkushev’s head at the far post to draw the sides level at half time.
In the second half, Hodgson was able to claim his second goal, after pouncing on a mistake in the Marist defence. Next, in an indirect free kick in the Marist goal box, Paul Kaye was able to squeeze the ball through a small space in defence to make it four. Grey United had their fifth after a lucky deflection saw the ball fall to Jayden Menzies, who was able to get a head to it just before Marist goalie Ethan Kelleher.
Marist will be disappointed with the result, as the three-goal deficit does not reflect the balance of the game. They were unfortunate to face a Grey United side who finally got some luck on their side after a poor run this season. The Marist team had some great performances, especially from Furze and Kye Thompson in midfield, but it was their striker David Lowe that got their player of the day. For Grey United, their player of the day was Shaun Williamson, reflecting the work he, and the Grey United defence, had to put in to keep the Marist attack goalless in the second half.
After defaulting on the first two scheduled games against Westport Cos, Westland United were finally able to field a team at Westport’s Coronation Park, making it the first game of the season between these two sides. With Westland at the bottom of the table and Westport second in the standings and playing at home, Westport were the clear favourites. The underdogs got this one though with Westland winning 3-2 in a hard fought game.
Ravi Prasad and Josh Roche scored Westport’s two goals with Laurie Ward awarded their player of the day. Pete te Rakau proved vital to Westland’s win scoring all three goals and earning a deserved player of the day.
Marist will host Westland United at Arthur Fong at 2pm next Sunday. The big clash will see Paroa make their only trip north of the season, to face Westport Cos at Coronation Park at 2pm. Westport will be defending the Sarah Clearwater trophy once again, but will have to be at their best that day. Grey United have the bye.