A trip to meet unbeaten league leaders Mosgiel AFC was made all the more difficult as three different Wanaka AFC players were sin binned in a 4-1 defeat at Memorial Park, Dunedin. The result leaves Wanaka with six points after six rounds of the Southern Premier League.
Persistent rain resulted in slippery conditions but did not dampen a number of fiery tackles as both sides competed for possession with no love lost. Weston Bell went closest to scoring for Wanaka early with a curling shot from 25 yards, the strike narrowly missing the top right corner of the Mosgiel goal.
The hosts then opened the scoring with a Liam Dungey penalty on the 20-minute mark, after a nice interchange of passing saw Wanaka goalkeeper Britton Dowling bring down an opposition striker in the penalty area.
The following 15-minute spell would then see Wanaka’s Mark Kane and Blair Scoullar being introduced to the green card rule, a new initiative that looks to cut out dissent towards the officials. With the two players sin binned for 10 minutes each the visitors were forced to play with only nine men for several minutes. With a numerical advantage Mosgiel continued to press high up the pitch and gladly pounced on a wayward pass to double their lead.
With playing numbers restored to parity Wanaka’s lone striker Harry Grimsdale was rewarded for his hard work up front, scoring from six yards after another good Weston Bell shot is parried into his path.
With the wind at their backs in the second half Wanaka pursued an equalizer, but failed to
capitalize on a number of free kicks in advanced areas.
The home side extended their lead in the 70th minute as an in-swinging Mosgiel corner
deflected off an unfortunate defender’s head to nestle inside the far post.
Looking to make an impact, player/coach Ian Bell entered the game with 15 minutes remaining, only to have his time cut short as he became the third player to be sin binned as Wanaka ended the match with 10 men. Mosgiel dutifully put the game to bed in the 88th minute with their fourth goal.
“We’ve shown that we can foot it with the best teams in the league for periods of the match” said Ian Bell, “but we need more consistency in all areas of the game”
Wanaka AFC will look to bounce back when they host fourth-placed Caversham AFC on May 4 at the Wanaka Rec Centre, kick-off at 2:45pm.
In Radio Central Football League action both the Seniors and the Senior Reserves travelled to Cromwell to contest their A and B sides. The Senior Reserves had a number of chances to score but ultimately a slip and a wayward back pass would see Cromwell B take a 2-0 victory in a fairly even match.
The Seniors enjoyed a wealth of possession but could only draw 2-2 with Cromwell A. Irishman Barry Grehan opened the scoring and Argentine Sergio Leal brought the scores level late in the second half after the hosts had taken a 2-1 lead. Goalkeeper Victor Mejia also made a string of superb saves to prevent a Cromwell win.
Both teams are at home this weekend with the Seniors entertaining Rovers Classics at the Rec Centre and the Senior Reserves clashing with high flying Charruas FC at picturesque Pembroke Park. Both games kick off at 12:30pm.