Wānaka Prems: down but not out

Pictured: Weston Bell (right) against a Roslyn player in the final game of the ODT premieres.

Wānaka went in to the Round 9 clash with a much changed team from the previous week’s win over Green Island. Experienced defenders, Thomas Van Hees and Allan Carmichael, were unavailable and were replaced with the home-grown talent of Michael Gealogo and Weston Bell. Eighteen-year-old Harry Grimsdale joined the squad and the experienced Danillo Santana and Barry Grehan replaced the injured duo of Tom Zeestraten and John  Skilton whilst Alex Plimmer was back from injury.

Roslyn won the coin toss and played the first half with a fierce northerly at their backs and looked to dominate the lesser experienced home team.

This proved to be the case with Roslyn pinning Wānaka into their own half for the majority of play in the first 30 minutes. It was, however, a fairly even contest, football wise, as Wānaka tried to implement a short passing game where possible. On occasions, when goal kicks were played long, Britton Dowling showed great technique, gaining notable distance into the prevailing head wind.

In terms of territory domination in the first half, Roslyn most likely deserved a goal, but Wānaka were their own worst enemy, gifting Roslyn their best chance of the half. Half time score, 1-0 to Roslyn.

In the second half, Wānaka looked to get the basics done properly and turn the game around, trying to play in Roslyn’s half and creating pressure. Just ten minutes in, though, and it was Roslyn who were next to score when Harley Rodeka hit a first-time volley into the back of Wānaka’s net from eight yards as he attacked a corner from Wānaka’s left flank.

Danillo is replaced by Harry Grimsdale with 30 minutes to play in an effort to get more numbers forward and threaten Roslyn’s goal. Danillo had shown touches of class on the ball.

Roslyn played a more direct game into the windy conditions and of note is the fact that the opposing keeper is more than happy to play the ball long from goal kicks all day.

With time running out Wānaka again changed formation and went three at the back, as Wānaka  felt a single goal would set up a lively finish to a pretty even game. However it was Roslyn who took advantage of fewer numbers in the Wānaka backline. The experienced and strong frame of Tennessee Kinghorn held off the talented but slightly built Gealogo and he rolled his defender and played a through ball to an on-running Roslyn Captain, Luke Clissold. He volleyed a neat finish over the advancing Britton Dowling into Wānaka’s goal. The score was 3-0 in the 89th minute and any chance of a fight back was extinguished by Roslyn.

On the day, Barry Grehan and Britton Dowling were the best of a Wānaka squad who would be disappointed with the final result.

That is the conclusion of the ODT Premier League and Wānaka finished seventh equal with a three-win, six-loss record in the ten-team league. However, Wānaka turns its attention to this year’s Chatham Cup. Wānaka hosts University of Dunedin in the second round fixture. This Saturday June 1, 2pm kickoff at the Wānaka Recreation Centre.


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