Write up by Isaac
Round Six saw the mighty Elite travel out to Lower Hutt to take on Stokes Valley CINA. The Elite were feeling confident after coming off a big win in the week prior and were sitting comfortably in second place on the table. Stokes Valley had also enjoyed a decent lead up to the game and were sitting in fourth position. In order to put pressure on the Cuddly Tawa Bears the Elite really needed to get the W.
Unfortunately, as has been the tone this season the Elite struggled to get numbers together for this crucial fixture with the spine of experienced Wellington United veterans unable to lace up. Dave was up to the task and with the help of a few junior players he was able to work his magic once again to ensure that the Elite could field an eleven. Boosted with the spark of eternal youth provided by Levi, Ben, Kengo and Dan, the Elite lined up as youthful as ever.
The Elite started slow with the players struggling play their usual tiki taka football on the thick native NZ bush. The usual incoherent Irish encouragement was a notable absentee as the Elite players tried to find their rhythm. A slow ball was played into the middle and like hyenas sniffing blood the Stokes Valley players pounced on the counter attack and charged towards the goal. Despite the Elites defenders putting their bodies on the line the Stokes Valley striker was able to curl one into the back of the net. Stokes Valley one - Wellington United nil. Moments later Stokes Valley were on the counter attack again when their winger charged down the right side of the pitch. The winger whipped it in to his target man and, to the surprise of everyone on the pitch apart from the Stokes Valley winger himself (an absolute screamer if you ask him), the ball landed in the top left corner of the net. Before getting a shot on goal the Elite found themselves two goals down after 25 minutes of play.
As the game went on the Elite were able to get their foot on the ball and began to control the game, stretching the Stokes Valley defence from one side to the other looking for gaps in CINA’s solid defence. After beating a player, the Elites newest players linked together when Levi fired a low cross across the 18-yard box to find Ben on the edge. Ben, cool as double denim in the 90s, slotted it past the Stokes Valley keeper to bring the Elite back into the game. The rest of the half was a cagey affair with both teams creating chances. Notable mention must be given to the Elites ‘Ronaldo Rolf’ who turned the Stokes Valley centre back inside out but not even his best efforts could tie up the game for the Elite.
The second half saw the Elite push hard for the equalizer and their attempts got as close as the woodwork. Credit must be given to the Stokes Valley defence who stood organised and strong all game. As impenetrable as your year 8 crush, the Elite attack just couldn’t find a way in. Deep in the 69th minute Stokes Valley beat the Elite defence with a long ball and after a silky turn their striker knocked it home to make the score 3-1.
Despite showing a lot of tika in parts, and bringing on super sub Dave ‘The Brave’ Richardson (as Striker???), Stokes Valley proved too good for the Elite and were deserving winners at the end of the day.
2 – Kengo, a real presence in goal and without a doubt kept Wellington United in the game.
2 – Rori, despite creating confusion by having two names he proved versatile and hungry to the end. Played effective balls out from the back and demonstrated good communication.
1 – Stu, made some crucial challenges when it counted and was strong on the pill. Delivered good ball to the midfielders.
1 – Angus, big Gus brought the game to the opposition and was composed and deliberate at the back.