Westland United upsets DP1 Comets
Saturday morning saw the last game of the season for West Coast women’s football for 2017. This has been another successful year for women’s football and it was fitting that the DP1 Comets faced off against Westland United after both clubs have fought each other for the share of the trophies over the course of the season. DP1 Comets came in to the game after being undefeated in the main championship this season, finishing a clear 8 points ahead of Westland. They were the holders of the women’s knock-out cup, having won it in 2016. On the other hand, Westland have been the only team to win over the Comets this season, with a 2-0 win back in May that secured them the First Round trophy, and had recently also held the Comets to a goalless draw.
Comets kicked off the game a player short, and so Westland were able to put the pressure on from kick off. Haley Pugh put in three dangerous corners early on, testing Helen Reij in the Comets goal. The deadlock was broken early on after Pugh finally got hold of a loose ball and ran at the Comets defence, Kate Campbell got a tackle in but the ball fell to Kat Curnow who finished from a tight angle, giving Westland United the lead. At the other end, Jess Jackson made several great clearances, preventing the Comets from any clear opportunities. Pugh went on another run, this time down the right wing, playing a quick 1-2 with Ngawa Tahi before hitting the post.
After ten minutes of the game, the Comets were finally at their full quota of players on the field, after Nay Richards joined the action. Connie Duell began to find some space in the Comets attack with some direct running. Jackson was forced into an importance clearance after Duell was put through was a well timed ball over the top of the Westland defence. Despite the Comets attack getting more into the game, Kate Campbell had to make some vital tackles at the other end, making two more interceptions from Pugh and one from Tahi before the end of the first half. Westland earned a number of corners before the end of the first half, but failed to cause any trouble for the Comets. Pugh continued to be the most likely source of the next goal, firstly forcing Richards into a clearance after a smart 1-2 with Lian Pansino, then after some ball juggling outside the box, she got a shot off that drifted wide.
After the turn around, Jackson was again forced to be on her toes after Sarah Burdon put Duell through with a great pass. Burdon created another chance shortly after, lobbing a cross to the back post to Nikita Stevenson who put her header wide of the post. After a lot of defensive work for Westland, Niamh McGuigan took the ball out of defence on a great run well into the Comets half. McGuigan shortly after put in a cross to the back post and the Comets defence nearly turned the ball into their own goal trying to clear. With the game still tight, with just over 15 minutes left, Westland used their sub, to bring on the fresh legs of Bronwyn Slack for Rhea Villafuearte. Pugh kept up the pressure on the Comets defence in the second half, firstly making Reij come off her line promptly after making a great run in behind the defence. Pugh then put Campbell under pressure at the half way line, winning the ball and running with it into the box to coolly finish into the bottom corner to make it 2-0 and put Westland into a commanding position. Westland worked hard in defence, getting every player behind the ball at set pieces, giving the Comets little space for the remainder of the game. Pugh continued to get forward and nearly got a second just before the end, but Westland once again managed to keep the Comets scoreless and saw out the game to take the cup.
There were several great performances in the game. Lammie Lamason controlled the middle of the field for their Comets, and their defenders worked hard, especially Campbell who made several great tackles. However, it was Rose Durrant who deservedly took their player of the day nomination with a great effort. Westland United had great attacking performance, and not just from their goal scorers Pugh and Curnow. Ngawai Tahi made several chances and was full of energy for the whole game, and deservedly took their player of the day. A special mention is due for Jess Jackson, who had a great game and made several important clearances, as she showed why she was awarded the West Coast Senior Football women’s Player of the Year for 2017.
Westland United and the DP1 Comets end the season with two trophies each. The Comets have shown their dominance over West Coast football over the last two season, but Westland have proven that they can push them all the way, and it will be a challenge for both teams in the off season to keep their squads together and be ready for the challenge next season.