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Heart of Gold

Miramar Rangers 5, Palmerston North Marist 1
David Farrington Park, Wellington, July 5 2014

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It has generally been my intention to cover some local football in Wellington at least once a year. Both my paid employment and my volunteer political activity generally see me visiting our nation’s capital at least five or six times a year and this can sometimes be organised so that includes a weekend during the football season. Last year this wasn’t possible, which was disappointing to say the least, but happily I have found myself in a position to rectify that egregious error with a vengeance in 2014. This meant that yesterday I was able to blow off the Labour Party Congress completely and head over to Miramar vs Palmerston North Marist. Today I will be slipping out after Bill Shorten’s speech and heading to Seatoun vs Upper Hutt in the Women’s Central League. The only thing left to worry about now is that nobody will notice me writing this from the back of the Michael Fowler Centre during the Powhiri…

Wellington is a city that is greatly underrated by Aucklanders but barely anybody else. I’m happy in JAFAtown, but if I had to live anywhere else in New Zealand it would absolutely be here. It’s a unique and vibrant place with a cityscape quite unlike anywhere else in the world that I know of. My first ever visit to David Farrington Park in the suburb of Miramar really exemplified this for me. It’s a lovely little ground carved out of a rugged hillside. It reminded me a lot of Kiwitea Street, with its Western seating right on top of the pitch and the southern end butting right up against the neighbouring school. The difference though, is in its grittiness compared to the slick home of Central United. And that’s the real difference between the outer suburbs of Auckland and Wellington. To borrow an analogy from the TV show West Wing, Auckland is Neil Diamond to Wellington’s Neil Young.

While we are doing comparisons, I just need to get this off my chest as quickly as possible – I would prefer to think of Miramar colours as more Latina than those of my least favourite club on Earth – Inter Milan. This Nerazzurri seems like a very cool club with a neat friendly and welcoming vibe. Smarting from their cup exit last weekend, they had a a point to prove yesterday and their strong side boasting such well-known names as Fa’arodo, Imray, Shaeffers and Rowe certainly made a statement in dispatching Palmerston North Marist 5-1. I’m not sure they were truly four goals better than their opponents, but they were certainly two or three.

They played an interesting game, constantly switching play from one side of the park to the other with deadly accurate long cross field passes, and it worked well. When Marist took the early lead it was with basically their one and only serious chance of the game, as Tom Mosquera profited from a bit of a scramble at the goal mouth. The equilibrium was quickly restored only a few minutes later when Dom Rowe slotted one. 1-1 was the half-time score and to be fair Marist had defended quite well, managing to repel a Miramar side that looked a little bit flat. But I’m not sure what Miramar coach Valerio Raccuglia told his charges in the sheds, but whatever it was it must have been good because when they came out from the break they blew Marist off the park.

Dom Rowe was first in best dressed completing his double only a couple of minutes into the second stanza. Ten minutes or so later, Tim Schaeffers got in on the act with a well-directed header. About 15 minutes from time, a major defensive lapse gifted Sam Mason-Smith the easiest goal he’ll ever be presented with and two minutes from time veteran Wiremu Patrick completed the scoring with a lovely drive from the edge of the area.

With that, Miramar shoots eight points clear at the top of the Men’s Central League and with two games in hand over their nearest rivals, Wellington Olympic, their crowning as champions has an air of inevitability about it. Marist sit mid-table in 6th and will be looking to consolidate that for their remaining six fixtures.

Always a great experience watching different leagues and players I rarely get a chance to observe, and as entrées go, that wasn’t half bad! I can’t wait for this afternoon’s Central Women’s League main course!

Categories: NZ Men's Central League

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

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