Expected Toulouse – 2, Tuskan Raiders – 1
Te Whaea, Wellington, June 17 2018
Division Three underdogs Expected Toulouse scored an upset 2-1 victory over Division One’s Tuskan Raiders in the first round of the Wellington Sunday Football League Cup.
The match started in scrappy fashion, with both teams taking a while to string any passes together. While Tuskan occasionally found space to attack in the centre, it was Toulouse that generated the majority of the attacking opportunities. Corey van de Coolwijk, Jordan King and Tom Left often won the ball and cut through Tuskan’s defences.
These incursions were threatening, but Toulouse didn’t have the finishing technique to match its speed and enthusiasm and shot after shot went wide. Despite the pressure, Tuskan managed to generate some chances on the counter-attack, with Jorge Mantaras attempting a spectacular bicycle kick in front of the Toulouse goal and keeper Luke Enoka forced to dive to save a blazing shot struck at full force just minutes later.
The half ended 0-0, but Toulouse continued to outpace Tuskan in the second half. Shortly after the players returned to the pitch, many dangerous runs into the 18-yard box were thwarted only by scrambling defence and proactive goalkeeping. The team’s issues inside the box were negated when Joe Larsen scored Toulouse’s first goal, launching an incredible long-distance strike into the top right corner from the sideline just ten metres from halfway.
The experienced Tuskan players showed structure and composure but struggled to retain the ball in midfield under pressure. Close attention from Toulouse defenders Roydon Misseldine and the towering Jack Close shut down many Tuskan attacks, while the extreme pace and ball control of van de Coolwijk seemed nigh on unstoppable at times.
Tuskan’s keeper showed a willingness to leave his line to shut down breakaways on numerous occasions but he couldn’t stop Toulouse’s Dan Close from speeding up the left wing and thumping a shot home to bring the score to 2-0.
The match’s physicality took its toll. Several Tuskan players were knocked to the ground, and spirited play from Tuskan’s Seth Miller was cut short when he had to leave the field to get stitches for a serious cut above the eye after a clash of heads.
While a comeback seemed a tall order with 20 minutes to go, Tuskan’s gritty attacks got ever closer to the goal, and Enoka was forced to produce more diving saves to stop dangerous crosses inside the box. With minutes left in the match, a Tuskan player was brought to the ground off the ball inside the penalty box, and a clean strike from Max Towle brought the final score to 2-1.
Towle said Tuskan hadn’t expected such passion from a side only recently promoted from Division Four, and Toulouse might give other Division One sides a run for their money.
Tuskan Raiders captain Jono McLeod said the game had been a tough physical contest.
“The team that came out to play the game harder won it on the day.”
Expected Toulouse captain Matt Twort said his team was ‘stoked’ about its first win against a Division One side.
“It was a tough 90 minutes out there, but we held on to the end. Credit to the boys for giving it their all. Credit to Tuskan as well for pushing us and keeping us working hard. We really wanted this win, it’s a great feeling.”
Expected Toulouse was founded in 2015, and recently promoted to Division Three after a series of strong results in Division Four. Misseldine said the French connection was in name only; the result of a quick Google search.
Currently placed third in the Division One league table, Tuskan Raiders was founded in the early 2000s by patrons, staff and owners of Wellington institutions Fidel’s Café, Havana Bar and Havana Coffee Works.
The opening week of the Cup was action-packed with last year’s finalists Lokomotiv Beer Quarter losing 4-3 to fellow Division One team North Wellington, Sudakas FC beating Four Four Two 4-0 and Lazy 11 taking down Universal Language 5-2.
The Plate is held as a separate competition this year and had a close-cut beginning with a nil-all draw between Sharks FC and Inter Galactic FC and a 1-1 derby between club teams Sunday Cardigans and Los Blazeros. Ball Tamperers beat HHH United 1-0 while Universe was victorious over Alcoholics Albion, winning 5-4. SVH rounded out the results, beating Pirates FC 3-2.
A record 37 teams are currently competing in Wellington’s Sunday Football League, a community based 11-a-side league founded in 1970. A full table of results and fixtures can be found at https://tinyurl.com/WSFL2018.
Categories: Wellington Sunday Football League