Write-up by Ants
Elite - 3, Raiders - a big fat donut.
First game back in a few weeks for yours truly and we've been transferred to Newtown Park AND the nets have been left out from the night before, happy days!
After dodging a few runners, myself and CJ affirmed mouldies were a go and that it's probably about the only nice real pitch we will play on for the rest of our Wellington football lives, happy valley aside.
Changed and warmed up, we discussed the fact we were about to play a difficult opposition and to have good energy from the off etc etc. No sooner than the whistle blew we promptly started to amble about half hearted and silent. This continued for the entire first half with the only voices I heard being Decs, rightly berating us and the one in my head telling him to ****ing stop said berating. To be fair to us, we were under constant pressure from open play and many, MANY corners however we kept our line clear with some dogged goal front defence and a few handy saves by the keeper. Adam very nearly snuck a goal in the last minute before the half to rub their noses in it.
Halftime and a few welcome gulps of H2O, did I miss the lollies CJ? We talked of upping our abysmal energy levels and wanting the ball, something must have sunk in.
The whistle went and what seemed like a different side started to get into their work. We won more 50/50 ball all over the park and got into a bit more of a rhythm with our passing. 10 minutes or so in, Clem hit a corner from the right which sailed over everyone and into the side netting. At this point I think I saw a blood vessel burst in the forehead of their central midfield journeyman. It was a huge turning point in the match, after relentless pressure for 45-50 minutes we were up 1-0 and they were fuming and beginning to run out of puff.
We actually began to show a bit of dominance thanks to a combination of better passing, a tiring opposition and a positional change for Clem. All of a sudden we began using the space out wide, in front of me I noticed Legget, Niall and Clem all making the most of it. Bit of practice with the left this week maybe Legget? I should probably join you.
A second goal followed starting from a gorgeous through ball from one of the defence, I believe it may have come from the left back, sent Clem up field with only one defender to beat. He played it calmly to our trusty number 9 (14 why?) Who put a bulge in he old onion bag.
The latter stages of the half felt like it was all Elite, I would often look to my right to comment to Damo and I'd find he was waiting for a cut back at the top of the D. Which actually segues nicely into the next goal with Clem and Ross combining again, this time a Ross cut back for Clem to tap in. 3-0, should have been at least 4 but for an exceptionally large earthworm that Niall tripped over.
Handshakes, beers, the end.
3 - Clem, changed the game when he went up front, two goals and assist.
2 - Decs, always talking, second half won all the loose ball in the middle of the park and was crucial to improved passing
1 - CJ, always a point for volunteer goalies, put in a good performance too
Sorry about the late send,
Elite 3 - 3 Wainui Undertakers
Write by CJ
Scorers: Ross, Patrick & Declan
So we had reached the stage when we needed to make the trip over the “hill” to the dark depths of the ‘Nui!
I got a sense of foreboding as Dave informed us that he needed someone (cue email to Niall & CJ) to run the team and play keeper as his knock was actually a small muscle tear & Adam was off to get on the chop for his old man’s 60th.
This then led to the now common call out to the “ring-ins” which resulted in only one extra body for the Elite in the form of Marcel, fresh from his latest drinking session!!
We were to also learn that all attempts to get Leggett to the game ended in failure yet again!! Will we ever get to see Chrispy’s brother to another mother along for a game. I’m told he apparently looks something like this.
So Saturday rolled around and Dec was on pick up duty in his pimp ride and we headed off to the ‘Nui to the sounds of the dance anthems of the 90’s! Maybe Straight Outta Crompton would have suited us better Niall…
40 minutes later we arrived at Dick Prouse Park to find it bathed in sunlight and looking quite playable contry to the tall tales being spun pre-match. So off to the sheds to get ready for the lads to find the smallest changing room ever as the only option. Cue another opportunity for Ganesy to get his tighty whiteys out or the poor man’s Ronaldo!
Time for the warm up and CJ’s attempt to recall the line-up for the day. Talk was around winning our personal battles, win the 50/50’s (60/40’s in Damo’s case) and getting on top early to put the Undertakers away. Toss of the coin (or key in which hand routine) was lost and with the help of the ref, the Wainui captain choose wisely and had the Elite playing into the sun first half, knowing this would change as the sun went behind the hills and the ‘Nui started to resemble Transylvania.
Kick off and play was pretty even for the first 10-15 minutes as the teams looked to get into the game. The sun was playing havoc with the Elite back four with the ball regularly finding space in behind but the lads did marshalled well enough.
The Elite then started to put few passes together to get in behind the Wainui defence. One such move put Patrick through and with the keeper in no man’s land, Patty passed the ball into the net. 1-0 Elite.
Soon after, a quick throw in from Roger was flicked on by Patty for an on-rushing Ross who also found the keeper out of position to net. 2-0 Elite.
At this stage Wainui broke an Elite play down the left hand side for the ball to fall to an unmarked midfielder who promptly hit the long ball through for their nippy striker who raced through and finish well even as Damo made a sterling effort to put him off. 2-1 Elite.
At this stage, the Elite then started to pepper the Wainui goal and after multiple goal mouth scrambles and misses opportunities finally a great interchange of passes lead to a ball meeting Declan’s outstanding run into the box and finally getting one past the keeper to make it 3-1 Elite.
That’s how the half ended, oranges!
The message at half time was that we needed to continue to take our chances and not let Wainui into the game.
For the first 10 minutes of the second half the Elite attempted to do this and had two glorious chances to go further ahead, only for one to sail over the bar and the other a contender of miss of the season. However we were later advised by Ross that in fact his charge down hit him in the nads and he couldn’t feel his legs!
At this stage, the lack of numbers on the bench started to hurt the Elite with Wainui able to roll a number of fresh but old legs onto the pitch for the last 25 minutes or so. This was to be their time to dominate the game and another dart down the right wing from the striker resulted in a square ball across the 6 yard box for the midfielder to arrive late and unmarked to put into the net, 3-2 Elite but looking and feeling like the walking dead!
After another rousing spray by Declan, the Elite started to get back into the game with Ross and Clem having a running battle with their fresh backline only to get very little from the ref. While we endeavoured, the Wainui team kept looking for their strike weapon upfront.
They did eventually find him on the left where he proceeded to beat all and sundry (with Marcel gamely trying to state the course) as he jinked into the box and finished well. 3-3 all.
Below is a good reflection of how many players he beat to finish and salvage a point for the Undertakers.
So honours shared but very much 2 points lost from an Elite point of view.
It was back to the clubrooms for a post match beer and speeches which went along the lines of:
CJ - “Well done on a point today and getting back into the game, could have been different result if we had taken our chances but credit to you”
Bruno countered with - “We thought we were even or better than you as a team and the result reflected that” – each to their own.
3 points – Declan – Always available, good touches, non-stop chatter and kept going in front of goal and took his well off a great run!
2 points - Tim – Played well down the right hand side, got involved especially first half with some great balls into the box.
1 point – Clem – Kept fighting all day as he was kicked and pushed all afternoon without anything from the ref. Did well to last to the end of the game before giving a bit back!
Write up by Tim.
Elite 2 - 2 Beavers
The Elite travelled to Newtown Park for what was their first home game actually at home. Several of the first team were out with injuries and travel, however after Dave hit up the ring-ins book, the Elite finally had a full squad and even some subs!
After a few introductions were made and the nets put up, the Elite were ready to take on the top of the table VUW Beavers. 90% of the squad were enormous, however in the words of Conor McGregor, precision beats strength and timing beats speed.
After a wobbly start for the Elite the Beavers were peppering CJs goal with shots, however they all came from outside of the box, credit to the shape of the Elites' back 4. When the chance came, the men in orange stepped up to the plate. An excellent corner from Stu hung up around the six yard box, Steve-O put some pressure on their gangly keeper, and the ball fell kindly to Ross who poached the ball into the back of the net. 1-0 Elite. Adam was getting chances galore by this stage, however despite the near perfect pitch the ball somehow seemed to be bobbling, and these all sailed over.
Then crisis struck, a quick counter attack from the Beavers, followed by a delicious ball in the box found its way into the box. CJ nearly smoked the ball downtown with the punch, but sadly “nearly” doth butter no parsnips, and lo and behold the ball was in the net, 1-1.
On the sideline Adam talks to me about how whenever we play the Beavers something ridiculous happens. At this precise moment, one of the big hoolas from the Beavers (I don’t know which one, there were heaps) sends in a chip which bounces back of the crossbar into the back of CJs head and into the net. 2-1 Beavers.
The game slowed down momentarily and the Elite were struggling to make chances, but this is a particular breed of men. The Elite are fighters, and in the last 15 minutes the Elite produced some dazzling football, however their efforts looked to be fruitless. That is until Chrispo was brought down in the box!
A penalty! and Clem to take it. Cooler then a cucumber he tucked it bottom left, no chance for keeps, and its 2-2.
Soon after the final whistle was blown and it was inside for some beers. Good effort against a side who had won 5 on the bounce. We’ll take the point, although a W would have been preferred.
Damo - 3
Decs - 2
CJ - 1
Elite Match Reports