After a few close losses and a win last week against Brooklyn the Cap 5 relegation battle was really beginning to heat up. The equation was simple: to say up in Cap 5 we need to keep winning. If we lose, we needed Brooklyn to somehow also lose to bottom of the table Olympic - who hadn’t won a game all season.
Pre match conditions were kinda shit. Boyd Wilson is notorious for blowing a gale and it looked as though the weather would play a big part in the match. While the Elite struggled through a warm up with as many layers on as possible, our opponents - VUW Beavers - had decided that staying warm on the sideline was more of a priority.
Inspirational skipper Shane won the toss and in a moment of divine intervention the weather cleared up. Things were looking good.
In typical elite fashion we fielded a new look lineup from last week’s winning side (@consistency), but the lads were up for it. Unfortunately, the lads weren’t that up for it in the first 10min and we conceded early on to a dusty goal that had a huge luck component. 1-0 VUW.
We picked ourselves up and got on with the job at hand. VUW barely had any field position after their early goal, and our 4-5-1 was starving them of possession. They couldn’t seem to leave their half, leaving their keeper taking goal kick after goal kick.
Stu got his head on the end of one of these goal kicks, sending the ball back towards their defence. Chasing the ball down I went in for a header and copped a boot to the fucking face - for some reason the ref seemed reluctant to call the foul but about 2 years later decided that he probably should. Up stepped Levi to take the free kick. Curling the ball around the wall reminiscent of 2004 Beckham he beat the keeper and we found ourselves on level terms. 1-1.
Given the Elite had the luxury of multiple substitutes, i took a spell on the sideline as Saji came on. We looked the better team from the sideline. Rolf, Rori, and Stu were putting in a shift in the midfield, we looked safe at the back, and Levi/Turk were managing to get on the end of just about anything we were sending their way.
Shane played a ball into the 18 yard box to Levi who absolutely sent his defender to the shops with a Cruyf turn and drilled the ball into the back of the net. 2-1 Elite.
In a rare chance the Beavers managed to get out of their own half and have a shot on goal. Nothing to bother CJ, though. CJ collected the ball and, looking to play the ball out quickly, got a bit eager and ran out of his 18 yard box still holding the ball. Surprisingly the ref let him retake the kick and we were back on our way.
It was about this time that some of the WAGS turned up (cc: Tim Haslop) so i actually missed Turk’s goal, but going into the break 3-1 up put us in a good position to go on and get the win.
The second half started and I found myself on the left wing. CJ absolutely drilled the ball my way and VUW’s right back couldn’t judge a header to save himself. I’m through on goal, getting chased down by their defenders, and wishing that i’d had one or two less park lanes the night before. VUW’s keeper pulled off a save similar to David de Gea (i scuffed the shot) and the opportunity went begging.
Every time VUW would come forward Stu/Rori managed to clean things up in the midfield and release Saji/Shane down the right wing. Saji/Shane were both putting in good yards delivering decent crosses. For whatever reason we couldn’t seem to finish our dinner though - we must have had 10+ opportunities and didn’t manage to score any of them.
Finally, after a nice bit of tight passing with Tim Haslop, the ball was whipped into the box. Turk ran near post and drew a defender with him, the ball sailed over both of them and fell to Rolf’s feet at the back post. Easy tap in for a 4-1 lead.
The lads began to play a bit more of the tried and tested route one footy from here on out, confident that the win was in the bag. For the last 15min or so the game opened up a little, but Tim/Jase/Ozzy/Fiaz were equal to anything VUW tried.
Final score:4-1 to the Elite. Back to back wins in the lofty heights of Cap 5.
3 - Levi: huge performance, scored 2 goals and was all over the park for the better part of 90min - impressive lungs after Friday night
2 - Jase: solid at the back
1 - Stu: consistent in the midfield, barely put a foot wrong all game.