Prems Defeat Green Island
Wanaka were on the road this weekend and took on Green Island away in Dunedin. It was expected to be a tight game and it turned out to be just that.
Debutants, John Skilton and Tim Zeestraten, started in a reshuffled back-four resulting in Blair Scoullar pushing into a midfield role.
Green Island were quick to settle and utilise the size of their home ground by looking to play through-balls down the flanks for forwards to run on to. Wanaka's re-jigged back-four controlled this for the first 20 minutes and, once in possession, were comfortable playing out from the back.
Although the first 30 minutes were even, Wanaka were first to score when Steve Pleskun received the ball around the edge of Green Island's penalty area. Steve then moved the ball sideways and gained a yard of space allowing him to drive a shot at goal. The shot had too much power and gave the keeper no chance of saving it and Wanaka were 1-0 up.
Wanaka looked to control play and take the sting out of Green Island's forward runs and passes, but the home team drew level just six minutes later when a through ball had Green Island gain ground. A square pass followed and an equaliser via a tap in for the oncoming Green Island player. Half time score was therefore 1-1.
The second half was a real battle in wet conditions, both sides would be disappointed in aspects of their game. In the 78th minute Wanaka's green card romance returned as Pleskun questioned an offside decision when he was clean through on goal. Players make mistakes, referees make mistakes, either way Wanaka needs to deal with these situations better. Down to ten men and 12 minutes to go, the captain Allan Carmichael and coach Ian Bell asked the team to dig in and show their character.
Another debutant, Rory Hannon, who has come on for Zeestraten plays a part in
a moment of magic for skipper Carmichael. Britton Dowling’s goal kick is played long, and even with ten men, Wanaka are looking to push for a winner. Rory wins a header and flicks the ball on to the advanced Carmichael. He is closely flanked on both sides by two defenders and as he drives towards the opponents 18 yard box it looks like the ball has run away from him. But a last stretch sees him chip the ball with the outside of his trusted left peg and it soars over the helpless Green Island keeper and nestled in the far corner of the goal. A truely classy finish from Carmichael. 2-1 Wanaka with eight minutes to play.
It was a helter-skelter final few minutes but Wanaka hung on for the three points. For Wanaka, Carmichael’s winner is a stand out point in the game but keeper Britton Dowling had another fine game along with centre back Thomas Van Hees. Skilton, Zeestraten and Hannon played well on their debuts but Man of the Match goes to the experienced Blair Scoullar, who showed touches of class and twice went close to scoring with rasping shots from distance.
Wanaka look forward to hosting the attacking Roslyn Wakari, at the Wanaka Rec Centre, 2:45pm kick off, next Saturday, May 25.
Seniors overpower Queenstown Youth
A second half fight back lifted the WAFC Seniors to their second win of the season. The 3-1 win over a spirited QAFC Youth side. Three goals in the final 30 minutes to Mike Finlay, Ethan Arratia and Sergio Leal were required after QAFC had taken the lead through Scott Kiddey.
Playing at the Wanaka Rec Centre with a howling nor'wester ripping across the field, both teams settled quickly with good short passes causing concern for the opposing defences. The hosts were awarded an early penalty but the QAFC goalkeeper guessed correctly and denied striker Harry Grimsdale an opening goal.
The visitors then looked to have taken the lead only for their goal to be disallowed for offside. The Seniors finished the half strongly but with nothing to show after several key saves from the Youth keeper.
With the wind at their backs to start the second half the home side looked to capitalise, the combination of youngsters Hugo Allan and Fletcher Cavanagh looking most dangerous on the left wing. A lapse in concentration, however, gifted the visitors an opportunity to score which they gladly accepted, Kiddey scoring from the top of the box in the 50th minute. Only moments later it would have been two but for a goal line clearance by left back Finlay.
The scores were levelled in the 65th minute when Finlay towered over the Youth defenders to head home from six yards from a measured Leal cross. Five minutes later midfielder Arratia, who had been absent through illness for the last week, struck with a curling right footed strike from the left wing. Argentine veteran Leal, then put the result beyond doubt in the 85th minute, picking the pocket of an opposition defender before rifling the ball into the back of the net.
The win moves the Seniors up a place to 6th in Division One of the Radio Central Football League. They play host to Wakatipu this Saturday afternoon at 12:30.
Senior Reserves too much for Arrowtown
The WAFC Seniors Reserves team have played well and have been the better team in many of their games but vital mistakes and errors have cost them games. So Saturday saw the Senior Reserve team desperately seeking a win.
For the third and final time this season they were up against Arrowtown with a win apiece in their previous meetings so far.
Arrowtown started the game on the back foot by only managing to field 10 players and the Senior Reserves would make that advantage pay. They open the scoring with a nice move down the left wing with a nice ball sent forward from Captain Michael Bopp who found left midfielder Alex Whitehead who drove the ball towards the box and fired the ball into the back of the net to go up 1-0.
Next, striker Zac Harbidge, got on the sheet but another lapse in concentration and a mistake saw Arrowtown hit back with a goal to make the halftime score 2-1 to Wanaka.
The second half saw the introduction of Wanaka’s Flynn Brown from the bench into midfield. He linked well with his midfield partners Matt Carr and Tallis Lupo to create one of the goals of the season. Beautiful combination play worked the ball forward and found the feet of striker Harbidge. He then played it back to Tallis Lupo who got off a perfect shot that the Arrowtown keeper had no chance of stopping. 3-1.
Ten minutes later, Harbidge got a crisp long-range shot off from just pass the halfway which perfectly flew over the top of the keeper and landed right in the top left corner of the goal. “Top-bins” to put Wanaka 4-1 up.
Wanaka couldn’t celebrate just yet though. Their old friend “lack in concentration” showed up and Arrowtown hit back with two goals. But, Wanaka prevailed and the Senior Reserve team finally got their second win of the season.
Although not their best performance, they looked ordinary at times and lacked the determination and defensive focus of their previous games, but they attacked with far more purpose and direction. This has been missing from other games. Hopefully they can put everything together in the upcoming games and finish the season strongly, lifting themselves off the bottom of the 2nd division table.