Paroa hold out Westland
Sunday saw the Men’s Knock-out cup competition begin, with Westland United taking on Paroa at Arthur Fong Park.
Straight from the kick-off the game was very competitive with great hassling from both sides early on. Steve Eden had the best opportunity to open the scoring, with a free header after a perfectly placed corner, but aimed straight at Nicki Emery in the Paroa Goal. Westland played somewhat cautiously to begin with, keeping numbers in defence and leaving Callum Cadigan isolated up front on his own, even for Westland corners. Pete Te Rakau kept the pressure on Paroa by dropping short from his forward role, to pick up the ball between the Paroa midfield and defence. This paid off after a perfectly weighted through ball from Te Rakau to Cadigan, which Cadigan calmly finished past the keeper to open the scoring.
Paroa kept up the pressure at the other end, especially through Kieran Russell who made some great runs, including one that ended with a dangerous ball right across the face of the Westland goal. Paroa finally drew level after a through ball from Martin McDonald cut the Westland defence in half, straight to Harvey Rubbo who finished well, despite the Westland keeper getting a hand to it.
Cadigan made sure Paroa were on their toes in defence, chasing on to several long balls straight from Matt Slaven, the Westland Keeper. Cadigan almost had his second goal, but the Paroa defence were able to clear off the line. Westland were to rue this missed chance as shortly after at the other end. Matt Wakeford put the Westland centre backs under pressure, winning the ball at the edge of the box before finishing well for Paroa to take a 2-1 lead into half time.
Early in the second half, Paroa took control of the tie, going 4-1 up. After some pressure from the Paroa forwards, a lofted ball back into the Westland box caused some confusion in defence, allowing Marcus Zintl to time his run well before heading the ball over the keeper into the net. Then, after another Paroa corner, Westland managed to clear the ball twice, but could do nothing when on the third attempt it fell to Rubbo at the edge of the box. Rubbo picked his spot in the top corner, leaving the keeper no chance.
Westland didn’t drop their heads, kept working hard though didn’t throw caution to the wind chasing the lead. Te Rakau drew another great save from Emery with a well hit left-footed volley.
Aiden Carpenter put pressure on the Paroa defence, working well the Cadigan on the right wing, after which Cadigan was able to bundle the ball past a few Paroa defenders before finishing into the far corner for his second of the day. Cadigan had a chance to make it a hat-trick after finding himself one on one with the Paroa keeper, but Emery pulled of a great save to keep him out. Te Rakau had another great chance after he was put clear, but Rubbo provided great defensive cover to make the interception and clearance.
Westland finally made it three after a clearance from Sam Thomson sent Te Rakau chasing. Te Rakau just managed to beat Emery to the ball, rounding the keeper before finishing, setting up a tense end to the game.
Steve Eden nearly put Paroa further in front after another header from a corner that whistled past the post.
Paroa held on, for a 4-3 win, though they had to work hard. Harvey Rubbo was Paroa’s outstanding player, and should be credited for his great defensive work, not just for his goals and assists. At the other end, Sam Thomson had a commanding performance in the Westland United defence, earning their player of the day.
Paroa, Grey United, Marist and Westport Cos now await the draw for the semi-finals that will take place on Sunday 23/07/17.
Next week sees the men’s main championship kick-off, with Grey United at home to Westport Cos (Arthur Fong, 2pm). Westland United face Paroa again, this time in Hokitika in the other game (Westland High School, 2pm).