Write-up by Rolf
Elite 1 – 1 Seatoun
Back-to-back home games for the Elite as they are facing Seatoun, who
managed to stay unbeaten in their first 3 games, including a draw
against league leaders Tawa Bears.
With 6 points from the last 2 games the Elite are slowly starting to
gel together and morale was high, but a horror scenario arose as 5
players couldn’t attend the game on Saturday. Team manager Dave used
all his resources to get some fill-ins, but most of them also had to
give a negative reply. On the game day the Elite were lucky to have a
12 man squad including Decs (who already indicated wanting to start
from the bench) and Patrick who’s normally only refereeing.
This game squad included JL and Damien from the Honeybadgers helping
out as well. They were keen to test their skills on the Cap 6 level
while keeping in mind they also had to play their own game with the
Honeybadgers, which started later that day. Great effort guys! Also
joining the line-up for the first time, was Kengo. He recently arrived
in Wellington, and when Dave found out he was a goalkeeper he had to
sign him up for the Elite.
As the game commenced on a cloudy afternoon, the Elite were struggling
to get a grip on the game, with Seatoun having the upper hand. Seatoun
had some great technical players in midfield, and 2 very adapt
strikers. The Elite’s midfield stayed deep for most of the game,
keeping a solid defensive formation and for a very long time they were
able to keep Seatoun only putting in some long range efforts. However,
the shots were usually easy prey for Kengo who enjoyed an excellent
debut. It wasn’t until halfway through the first half before the first
great chance for the Elite came up, as Turk was set up one-on-one with
the goalie. He took a shot, but the goalkeeper saved it, and the
rebound by Rolf ended up wide of the goal. There was a brief moment of
controversy as the Elite claimed the goalkeeper used his hands outside
the box, but the referee was having none of it.
The Elite later had some more shots from distance by Stu, Isaac and a
free kick by Damien. But with Elite slowly pushing forward, the space
opened up for Seatoun, and they used it well. First Rori was able to
prevent a goal-scoring opportunity with a professional foul just
outside the box, but not much later the 0-1 came on the scoreboard.
Seatoun outnumbered the Elite on the left flank in the counter, and
after a few touches their striker had an easy tap-in.
It wasn’t against the odds, but the Elite knew something was still
possible today. Determinately they kept possession of the ball, trying
to find an opening, and just before half time they were rewarded. The
ball fell into the box, Seatoun were unable to clear it, and after a
short scramble, Decs managed to tap it in, 1-1.
The second half had a similar outlook, with Seatoun generally being in
control. However, except for a few long distance efforts, there
weren’t any great chances for them. The biggest opportunities were
again for the Elite, with Turk showing up in front of the goalkeeper
again twice, but he was unlucky and the goalkeeper stood his ground
with the help of his defenders. A few more long shots by Isaac and Gav
looked dangerous, but they were from too far out to be a real goal
Halfway through the second half Seatoun were claiming a penalty, but
the ref didn’t want hear about it. The ball was being played by Rolf,
and the Seatoun attacker was clearly looking for penalty by diving to
the ground. It wasn’t the last bit of controversy as nearing the end
of the game Rori and Stu charged the same player and Rori’s elbow
unfortunately ended up in the Seatoun attacker’s face. The whole bench
of Seatoun riled up and it took some stern words from the ref and the
Seatoun goalkeeper to prevent the situation from escalating. Shortly
after everyone finally calmed down the ref blew for the final whistle.
The Elite can be proud for standing their ground this week and one can
only imagine what this team is capable of when they are at full
strength. Next week the Elite play another game at their home ground,
this time facing the bottom-ranked Lower Hutt Mooseknuckles.
As everyone had a solid game, this was a tight call.
2 – Isaac – Starting at the wing, and later in midfield he remained
composed on the ball and was well positioned in defence. Had some
opportunities from long distance, but was unlucky in his efforts.
2 – Jase – Once again a rock in the defence, organising his team
members well and not giving the Seatoun strikers an inch.
1 – Kengo – Unlucky not to get a clean-sheet on his debut, but proves
to be good goalkeeper for the Elite. Calm and confident, and had some
1 – Turk – Him and Gav were mostly outnumbered by Seatoun defenders,
but he used his movement, pace and dribbling skill well to get
one-on-one with the goalkeeper on 3 occasions. Should've scored at
least one though.
Write- Up by Dave
Elite 1 - 0 Olympic
The first home game of the season and and a return to Newtown Park #1 for the Elite.
Following a tough mid-week fixture and a dominant away leg to the Hutt, the lads were fired up for a another strong performance against a team showing some early form in the grade.
Newtown Park hasn't started the season in the best of nick to start the season despite (apparently) much work from the council on the turf during the off-season but the Elite were lucky enough to have had a good storm bring much rain and regrowth ahead of their first run out on it. No one was enjoying that rain quite so much only a week before during our match however.
Despite a few notables absences we had a starting eleven and even a few subs on deck and were lucky enough to have the youthful trio of Tim, Gus and Issac all on deck to help out - despite clearly having all made a trip to the barber this week. CJ returned from a golfing hiatus to take up a spot in goal on the hallowed turf and only time would time if his legs could hold out for the full 90 before he needed a lie down between the sticks.
The first half was a cagey affair with both teams having patches of possession and some go forward, but neither team managing to get quite the foothold in the game they wanted. Gav was providing a solid outlet up front (even if straying offside on a few too many occasions), while a makeshift defensive three were doing and admirable job of cleaning things up at the back screened by some excellent midfield work in front of them - all of which was under the constant advisement of the little general in goal.
Everyone on the pitch was digging deep. The constant battle for meaningful possession combined with a large, wide pitch meant some tired legs out there for both sides but Olympic seemed to feel the worst of it making subs every three minutes for most of the half.
Half time came and the message was simple in that we just needed to keep playing our game and the chances would come.
The second half saw a few changes in personel for both sides but this fixture seemed set to remain a tight affair and you'd have been forgiven for thinking the deadlock would never be broken. However a whipped in cross scarmbled into the back of the net proved otherwise. Some might suggest there was a hint of own goal but the prevailing opinion was that one of the youth trio got a toe on it - who could tell who though given their bold new looks.
Olympic knew there was still much to play for and took of defenders to bring on an extra striker. Super defender Niall was brought in to counteract the change and brought his new striking form found with the Tuatara to a defensive role. You might be able to take the man out of striker but you couldn't take the striking instinct out of the man as he put on a master class of backheels and cruyff turns as defensive moves.
CJ remained calm despite the shenanagins and even took a brief nap during the second half only to discover a shot bearing down on him. Luckily he scrambled back to his feet just in time to watch it sail high and wide.
Olympics best efforts didn't prove enough to overcome the staunch defending of the last 15 minutes and a one nil victory was secured, alongside the first clean sheet of the season.
A hard earned three points today but a well deserved spot at second on the table.
Stu - 2 points - was the key to breaking up play and winning ball in the first half and put in a big shift to still be out there every it everything in the second
Gav - 2 points - Was very unlucky not to score during the first 45 but provided a constant threat up front before shifting deeper to help out some tired legs.
Shane - 1 point - As he does every week he ran his ass off and constantly gave the midfielders an outlet
Jase - 1 point -Playing in his least favourite spot but lead the denfence well and was key to ensuring we came away with all three points in this one.
Write-up by Jason
Elite 7 - 1 Stop Out
Just 3 days after our season opening game we are at it again. This time the weather couldn't be better, no rain, light breeze, sun shining and a pretty decent pitch. Once again we were a little short on numbers with VAG, AMOD and NAD (names changed to protect the innocent) joining us. We did have a couple of regular season debutants though. They were wanting to make an impression, and impress they did. Along with our regulars we have Greg directing things from the side on his final farewell game.
Our opponents were short on players, in fact so short we had no ref. Vag gallantly stepped up to take the whistle to get us underway. Stop out started quite well, controlling the ball and flow of the game. Certainly felt like it might be an arm wrestle. A couple of incisive runs down both sides came to nothing for them. Now was our turn to show some skill and team work. A nice movement down the left wing and we found ourselves making some nice runs behind their defence. No reward yet but it felt promising.
For each attack Stop out attempted we had an answer. Tim was shutting their pacy winger while Rori was showing ever potential suitor the side line. Though it was Angus in the middle that commanding things. Bossing their strikers around and not giving an inch. Nothing was getting through and I think AMOD may have fallen asleep in goal.
The true puppet masters of the game were our midfielders, Isaac, Decs and Stu. They controlled the pace and movement of the game. For a while I thought they started just toying with the Stop out players, offering them hope and shattering their dreams. They feed a stream of potential attacks, bypassing the Stop Out defence as if they were not there. You could feel the pressure was building and something was coming. Sure enough our first goal came off the head of one of the debutants, Travis. Sending the keeper the wrong way and making the net bulge. We were off the mark.
A few more back and forth attempts from each team and the next serious opportunity comes from Turk who slides a through ball for Shane to latch onto and efficiently deposit into the back of the net. Elite up 2 nil. We just continue to move from strength to strength. Tightening our grip on the game. Stop Out heads drop and they begin to make silly mistakes. Their fill in keep makes one too many and Turk pounces on a poor throw out with a clinical finish. 3 zip it is.
The Stop Out players are getting frustrated and when a promising attack gets shut down somewhat illegally, they blow up. The fouled player mouths off to the new ref Rori. Not having a bar of it, Rori goes off at the player demanding him to 'come here' in his best teacher voice. Sheepishly the guy obeys. A stern lecture and drop ball latter we know who's in charge and his name isn't Charles.
We finish the half with a final well placed pass to Turk who finds himself one on one with keeper and unlike games past, finished it. We walked off the field 4-0 up and the game well under our control. But you can never tell what can changes will happen at half time.
Stop out came back much more aggressive, making a few incisive runs in the first minutes. Winning a corner early on, they whipped it in and standing on the post I could see we had it well and truely covered. A sea of Orange covered the 6 yard box and a confident shout from NAD, we knew it was safe. But it was a horrid clearance header that deflected the wrong way and the ball landed into our own goal. Not the start to the half we wanted. Now Stop Out had a spring in their step and a confidence that a come back was due.
It wasn't long before our wave of attacks on their goal commenced. We started finding holes in their defence down both sides, though it wasn't till Shano beat the offside trap did we find our best opportunity. As Stop out raised their arms and shouted for intervention, Shane powered through and with the composure of seasoned striker finished their come back hopes. Elite 5-1.
In quick succession we were able to put the game to bed, first with a nice cut back from a Vag run down the right side with Turk completing his hat trick. Then shortly later Travis completing his debutant brace from the left wing, professionally slotting the ball home. Elite 7-1.
The game still had 20 minutes to go, and at this pace we could hit double figures. But with Vag blazing shots over the bar and yours truely nailing his own players in the back in offside positions, another goal seemed to slip through our fingers.
Angus blew the final whistle and we had registered our first win of the season, and in quite emphatic style. With a full squad we could be looking at good season.
A hard one given everyone put in a solid performance.
3 Angus: He did not give an inch and commanded the defence into one solid brick wall.
2 Travis: Some great work down the left side, showing skill and pace as well as grabbing 2 goals in his first match
1 Turk: A well deserved hat-trick and you kept your composure to finish nearly all your opportunities.
Elite 2 - 4 Alt-JJs
Write-up By Tim
The new look Elite were to travel to Wakefield Park for the Wednesday Night fixture against the Alt JJs. I’ll give it to them, thats pretty funny, but the Elite were all business and arrived with their stern faces on (Especially Decs.) Perhaps everyone had their game faces on, or perhaps everyone was quietly seething at the fact we had a mid-week 6'o’clock fixture in the middle of a rain/hail and thunderstorm. Nonetheless the lads took to the field mildly warm and ready to rumble, expecting big things after a positive pre-season.
Unfortunately the start was not what the boys were hoping for, against the wind, the Elite struggled to bring the ball down on to the deck and the pressing of the JJs made us suffer in the opening minutes. Eventually, after not getting tight enough at the edge of the box, the opposition launched a curler, and there wasn’t much Dave could do about it in the swirling and unpredictable wind. 0-1 JJs.
We passed it off as a fluke, and slowly worked our way into the game. Turk made himself a useful outlet up the wing, and managed to skin just about every defender he came up against. The lads were getting the ball into the box, and while far from our best, were making chances. However the JJs were the ones who came up with the second goal. Dave did well to parry the shot from distance, but the JJs striker was hungry and rushed in for a tap in. 0-2.
The Elites first real chance of the half fell to Niall, who came in central off the left wing to lash a venomous volley from outside the box that looked destined to go in off the boot, but sailed over the crossbar for a goal kick.
Morale then seemed to drop for the lads. The moment of the half was an explosive break from emergency loanee, the bionic man, Fitsy from the Tuataras, who broke up the left and fizzed a quality ball into the box with the outside of the boot, which Shane just about got to. But perhaps it was that kind of half for the Elite, it just wasn’t quite happening for us and the result was a goal kick.
Things were happening for the JJs though. A cross into the box somehow managed to find the head of a JJs player despite about 5 orange shirts being around him, and he headed in from 6 yards.
Heads were down as we entered the sheds. But the points we went over ended up helping the lads swing the pendulum of the game the other way.
After only a few minutes of the first half, Turk pounced on a dusty clusterfuck of a goal-kick from the JJs keeper and poked it bottom left to bring the score to 1-3.
Not long after, the boys were in again. Shane tussled with Damo the traitor in the box, to try and get on the end of a cross, but it was super-sub Gav who managed to flick the ball towards the net. The keeper got a palm to it, but could only help it in, and the comeback looked imminent.
The pressure was mounting, and the JJs truly looked like they didn’t want to be there anymore, as there were murmurings from their striker of “should we call it off”. No dice sorry mate, the Elite are feeling vicious. During this period, we started playing some body good football, we managed to string some passes together and find some space on the wings, while the JJs largely resorted to hail mary’s.
However disaster struck for the lads in Orange. The JJs whipped in a corner, and managed to get a head on it, Decs wasn’t far enough away to react, and the ball bounced off his face and touched a hand. The ref (who its worth pointing out was a JJ ref) pointed straight to the spot. The call was harsh, and the lads weren’t happy about it, but football is football. We couldn’t even laugh about the hilarious falcon on Decs! we were too frustrated about having to wait in the cold for a pen. Dave guessed the wrong way and that was that. 2-4 JJs
Unfortunately, that seemed to take the wind out of the Elites sails, and the quality in the football from both teams seemed to disappear from there on.
While we were the better side in the second half, and can be frustrated with the penalty call going against us, at the end of the day, the deficit was too much and the lads left Wakefield cold and bitter, with a cup of (very milky) tea courtesy of the bloody good rooster that is manager of the Island Bay clubrooms.
Elite Match Reports