Westport reduced the gap
The Dragons took one step closer to the women’s main championship title with a hard-fought 1-0 over the Goblins. Laken Richardson had a great game in the middle of the field for the Dragons and scored the only goal of the game. This puts Richardson well clear at on the top scorer table, now with 8 for the season. Both side’s defences worked hard throughout the whole game, with little chances for either side to score. The Goblins created plenty of pressure towards the end of the second half, pushing for the equaliser, but the Dragons held on. This result leaves the Dragons on 12 points, with the Goblins back on 6. With only two games left for all the teams, there is the possibility that the Dragons can be caught, but they now only need one more point to claim the trophy.
This weekend is the knock-out cup semi-finals, so regardless of league standings, all teams have something to play for. Westland United face off against the Buller High School team in the 12-noon kick-off. This Buller High Team have been invited down to the annual six a side tournament for the last few years and always bring some good competition, and so with three teams in the competition, they have accepted the invitation to make it four teams for the knock-out cup. The Dragons once again face off against the Goblins in the 1.15pm kick-off.
Paroa made their first trip south to face Westland United on Sunday. The first game between these sides was a very one-sided affair, but with Westland on home turf and Paroa missing a few players, there was plenty to play for. Westland were a very determined team in the first half, coming out strong and dominating the first half. Will Pilcher scored twice for Westland, but a Judah Wate shot was deflected into the goal to make the score 2-1 at half time. Pilcher took his tally to seven for the season after he completed his hat-trick, to make it 3-1. However, Paroa never led their heads to drop and managed to claw their way back to a 3-3 tie. If there was doubt over Wate’s first goal, he definitely earned a second, with his fifth goal of the main championship, and his seventh of the season. Jasper Reinink scored Paroa’s other goal. The end of the game saw a real end to end action and either team could have scored to take the three points. As it was, no one could find the winner and both sides came away with a hard-earned draw.
Grey United faced off against Westport Cos at Arthur Fong in the other game. Both sides were keen to keep pace with Paroa and a win was vital. Westport came out firing, putting plenty of pressure on the Grey United defence. The first goal wasn’t long in coming, though it was a little fortunate, after goalkeeper Franko Horridge collided with a Westport player, leaving Given Suleman to roll the ball into the net. The rest of the first half was goalless, but both sides fought hard for chances and Grey United slowly got back into the game. Westport doubled their leading shortly into the second half after Dan Maloney was given time to turn and shoot on the edge of the box. His shot wasn’t the strongest but it wrong footed Horridge and went into the net. Maloney has now scored in seven out of eight Westport games this season. Grey United kept up the pressure though clear-cut chances were hard to come by. James McLean finally got one back after breaking free from midfield and firing home from outside the box. Not to be outdone, Josh Roche did the same for Westport, only he fired in from just past the centre circle, straight into the roof of the net to make the final score 3-1. This game was played for the Dory Perchig trophy, which both teams compete for once a year. Both sides gave it their all and it was a very fitting way to remember a teammate, friend and family member who is still very much missed by our football community.
Paroa began the weekend with a six-point lead, but their draw could be vital come to the end of the season. They now have 10 points after four games, while Westport sit in second with 6 points after 3 games. Westland United make the very long trip north to Coronation park to play Westport Cos this Sunday while Marist and Grey United will compete at Arthur Fong. Paroa have the bye.