Westland United woman take honours
Westland United have claimed the women’s First Round trophy after a 2-0 win over the Comets. The Comets were forced to start with 8 players, after some injuries have left their squad depleted.
Westland United worked on their game plan of playing aggressively, competing for every 50/50 ball and aimed to move the ball fast. Haley Pugh provided the assist for Celine Stokowski to break the deadlock, before Pugh followed up a few minutes later with a fine individual goal. The Comets came out strong in the second half, but Westland’s defence kept them under pressure. Some good goalkeeping from Westland’s Casey Neill kept the game scoreless in the second half. The Comets lost another player to injury midway through the second half, so ended the game with only seven players on the field. The Comets will be disappointed with the loss, but should take real credit for their team performance, despite their adversity. Westland remain the only unbeaten women’s team and have certainly earned the second trophy of the season.
In the late kick off, the Dragons, who were looking for their first points of the season, faced the Goblins. Eve Findlay scored the first goal of the game very early on for the Goblins, but from there the Dragons sprang into action. Janny Vermeer put in a dominating performance in the Dragons defence, earning their player of the day. Amelia How, already the women’s top scorer, put in a great performance. The Dragons made a change of goalkeeper at half time, bringing Amanda Curry outfield. It was the combination of Curry and How that aided How to add five more goals to her tally for the season. Georgia Teasdale was on hand to convert two rebounds to bring the Dragons total to seven for the day. Eve Findlay pulled another one back for the Goblins, but the Dragons will be happy with their emphatic 7-2 win.
Next week sees a bye for all the women’s teams, before their main championship kicks off on the 28th May. The First Round has seen some great games and performances and the main championship should be very competitive.
In the men’s league, Westport Cos did not need to defend their Sarah Clearwater trophy after Westland United defaulted and failed to make the long trip north. All attention then turned to Arthur Fong to see if Grey United could slow the progress of Paroa, who knew that due to their exceptional goal difference, they effectively only needed one win from their last two First Round games to take the First Round trophy. Grey United, on the other hand, had yet to record their first points of the season.
This was a very even contest throughout the whole 90 minutes, with both teams fighting hard the whole game. This game only had one goal, but that is more an indication of the quality of goal keeper performances. With the game at 0-0, Niki Emery in the Paroa goal made two fantastic saves, one close range from Daniel Horridge and the other a long range free kick from James McLean. Overall Emery had another fine performance, but it was Blake Hodgson in the Grey United goal, who had the biggest impact on the score line. Hodgson made fantastic saves right throughout the game, was quick off his line and dominated his area. In the second half, with the game starting to stretch out, the Paroa midfield showed their quality, especially Martin McDonald and Marcus Zintl who combined well, and started creating more chances. Their one clear chance fell to Kieran Russell, whose speed and composure left the Grey United defence with little chance. Russell put in a man of match performance and is now the outright top men’s scorer with four for the season. Paroa’s defence held strong the whole game, even after losing Rob Orr to injury, despite the constant running and pressure of Daniel Horridge and Jayden Menzies. Grey United will be happy with their performance, which is improving week on week. This is their third loss due to a one goal margin, and it is only a matter of time before they get some points on the board. Paroa also put in a great shift, and they will know that tough games and hard fought wins like this are necessary to stay on top of the league.
Next week Grey United travel to Hokitika to play Westland United, for a 2pm kick off. Paroa finish out the First Round against Marist at Arthur Fong, another 2pm kick off.