This year the three Wanaka men’s teams officially joined the Wanaka Associated Football Club. The merger of junior and senior teams into one club will give a pathway for all members of the club to one day play for the club’s top teams.
Saturday, March 9, was the start of the Central Otago Football League 2019 season with two home games at the Wanaka Recreation Centre.
First up was a division two match with the club’s third men’s team, the Senior Reserves, up against Arrowtown FC. The match started off well with the Senior Reserves going up 2-0 in the first 20 minutes with goals by Jacob Lang and Noah Holmes, but a lapse in defensive structure and teamwork led to Arrowtown getting two goals back to tie up the game at halftime. The second half saw a more composed WAFC Senior Reserves return to pitch and they managed to get three more goals, one each by Flynn Brown, Michael Harray and Dylan Dickson. Arrowtown got one goal back with minutes to go, but just ran out of time, giving the Senior Reserves a hard-fought win and three points to kick start their season.
The second match of the day was the club's second team - the Wanaka AFC Senior team - in a division one match against newly-formed Cromwell FC A team. The match started out strongly with both teams feeling each other out. The deadlock was broken when Adam Harms scored a fine goal to give the home team a 1-0 lead at halftime. The second half saw both teams push each other and Cromwell found a way to tie up the game 1-1 before Steven Pleskun put the ball in the back of the net from the edge of the box to put WAFC Seniors up 2-1. A penalty and an own goal gave Cromwell the lead at 2-3. With 20 minutes to play, the Seniors were awarded a penalty of their own and first-half hero Adam Harms made no mistake, hammering the ball home to tie up the game 3-3. In the final minutes Cromwell made a final attack but a very fine, one-handed save by Wanaka’s Argentinian keeper Juan Lucas kept the score at 3-3, giving both teams one point to start their 2019 campaigns.
The club’s top team - the WAFC Premiers - will make their debut in the Dunedin Top League in two weeks.