Write-up By Niall
A sunny Saturday afternoon welcomed the Elite back for another crack at Capital 7. After an unbeaten pre-season and lots of team training sessions, it was good to get back into the truly competitive action. First-up opponents were a new team to the grade, North Wellington Rovers.
With a near full strength squad, the Elite were looking for a good start to the campaign. Out of the absentees, only Jason, Pete, Damo and Ganesy could be expected to compete for a starting berth. We were also missing some ginger guy, but no-one seemed to care that much.
Approximately 45% of the team turned up before the 1:45pm cut-off, which meant a nice healthy start to our fine money for the season. Debate amongst the lads soon turned to the state of the pitch, which resembled Queens Wharf in terms of firmness! I felt right at home however, remembering fondly my days of dodging used needles and razor blades back on the concrete of the council estate in Bonnie Scotland. We went through our now familiar warm-up routine, with the boys giving the residents a taste of what was to come during the shooting drill!
I can’t remember if the gaffer won the toss or not, but the game got underway with North Wellington kicking off. The NW boys were pretty handy and put us under a bit of pressure at times, but never really got behind us. Once the Elite started to get into their rhythm the chances began to come. CJ and Stu both had good chances to score, but uncharacteristically shot wide (or way way over). The Elite opened the scoring when Andrew (yet again) chased down their keeper who smashed hi clearance into Andrew’s arse, only for the ball to rebound nicely into the net. 1-0 baby! The second goal wasn’t long in coming when CJ called for a peno, promptly given by the obliging referee. As usual, our fearless leader stepped up to take the penalty and calmly stroked it into the net. 2-0, fuck yeah!
CJ made a few subs with the heat beginning to factor into the game. On came Marcel “we forgot what you looked like” Rafter and Niall “my shirt is too tight” Jessiman. The change on the flanks was startling and no further goals were scored that half. One quality moment remained in the half when Stu “dsko” Dunn decided to live up to his name and do what can only be described as a breakdance with the ball, before gracefully falling on his face. This early-season contender for “The Phelps” prompted one spectator to ask if he was drunk….
Half-Time: Rovers 0 – 2 Elite
Usual chat from the gaffer at half-time, then we went back on for the second. Johnny (my shirt is also too tight) Marshall came on and made an immediate impact, playing a precision ball though to the Rovers striker. Obviously pleased with himself and satisfied with his offensive talents, Johnny spent the rest of the half making quality tackles and playing with good composure. The Rovers continued to press our right side for the first 15mins of the half, but they rarely threatened our goal, thanks to the quality organisation of our defence, led by SteveO. Then, clearly bored out of his skull, Dave “Cum Eyes” Richardson decided to make the game interesting. A free kick from about 40 yards looked to be heading wide, but as our Keeper ushered it out, it snuck in at the back post. Oops. 2-1, squeaky bum time.
I’m not going to go into what happened next, or what was said, but I found it embarrassing, and I know others did too.
The Elite got serious again, and once we started getting our foot on the ball and playing our passing game, we widened our lead again. Nik got one-on-one with the keeper and hit a nice shot, which looped high off the keeper and into the net. 3-1, natural order restored. The game then played out with the Elite having more chances, but failing to capitalise, and scoreline finished 3-1 to the mighty oranje.
Overall, a great result to start the season. Not the complete passing game that we like to play but I’d put that down to very difficult conditions on the pitch and with the heat. Well done lads, and bring on Upper Hutt next week.
MVP Points were very tough to make but here they are:
3 – Decs (worked hard for the team and was always available for an outlet pass. Some of his through balls could have been rewarded with a goal. Great all round effort)
2 – Andrew (His goal typified his efforts and he made trouble for the Rovers throughout the game)
1 – Marcel (I made a joke before about Marcel being a bit absent during pre-season, but he played a great game, putting in a lot of good tackles and giving his opposite number no change on our right side)