Ball Tamperers – 0, Westwood United – 5
Fraser Park, July 1 2018
Westwood United poured cold water on the Wellington Sunday Football League Plate aspirations of rivals Ball Tamperers, winning 5-0 at Fraser Park amidst a wintry downpour.
Both teams started cautiously, but Ball Tamperers held the majority of possession in the game’s early stages. The first chance went to Elliott Schwartfeger, whose powerful curving shot from inside the penalty area was denied by keeper Sam Wheatley’s diving save.
Ball Tamperers lived up to their name early on, making queries about the ball which saw it changed three times. Strong midfield work led to regular offensive opportunities, including six corner kicks within the first 10 minutes and dangerous forays down the right wing through Ball Tamperers’ captain Nick Swain.
In contrast, Westwood favoured aerial passes. While this sometimes lost them possession, it also created uncertainty and turned the defence on the slippery surface. The first indication of where the game was heading came when Paratene Cowlin of Westwood chipped a ball into the penalty area, putting the defence in disarray and catching the keeper out of position before the attack was finally shut down.
Minutes later Jack Langston caught up with a strong sequence of passes on the left, refusing to be denied after his initial shot rebounded from the keeper’s legs and striking the ball home to put Westwood up 1-0.
The match continued to look like an even contest, but chances fell to Westwood more often as time ticked on. Tyler Bedford hit the crossbar from 20 metres out. Matthew Titchener then raised the score to 2-0 just before half-time when he found himself unmarked at the edge of the penalty area. A slippery cross was punched away rather than caught by the keeper, and Titchener claimed the ball before firing it into the goal.
Ball Tamperers raised the tempo in the second half. They may have pulled the match back at this stage were it not for a commanding performance from Wheatley, who saved several more shots including a powerful strike from Swain and a leaping header from Jared Bryan.
Unfortunately for Ball Tamperers, this focus on attack saw the team’s midfielders caught out of position high up the field and unable to drop back quickly. Fifteen minutes in, Cowlin exposed the defence with a breakaway run, catching the keeper wrong-footed and bringing the score to 3-0 in favour of Westwood.
Bedford looked a different player in the second half. His powerful play and tight ball control began to create opportunities as the rain poured down. In another breakaway he evaded three defenders to bring the score to 4-0, visibly diminishing his opponents’ confidence.
The communication between Ball Tamperers’ defenders and keeper started to wane, creating confusion. In the closing minutes Westwood’s Hayden Rickard pulled up unmarked and slotted the ball home from 20 metres to bring the game to its final score of 5-0.
Rickard said the victory was a “juicy win”, with Westwood happy to keep a clean sheet.
Swain said Ball Tamperers had missed star player Toby Barton and looked forward to turning the tables when they next play Westwood in regular league play.
Westwood and Ball Tamperers are currently the top two teams in Division Three of the Wellington Sunday Football League. While Westwood are currently ahead on goal difference, Ball Tamperers have won the previous encounters 1-0 and 5-2 respectively.
Westwood United were formed three years ago, with the team named in homage to the team’s idol – British DJ Tim Westwood of Pimp my Ride UK fame, whose face is printed on the team uniforms as unofficial figurehead.
Ball Tamperers are in their first year of the Wellington Sunday Football League, having formed the team after the core players returned from study at Otago University. In other Plate action, Los Blazeros went some way to cementing their places in the next round with a 7-1 victory over Valley Soccer Friends, while Inter Galactic FC beat Rogue X1 4-0.
Valley FC Trust currently top the Division Two league table, and proved too strong for Division Four leaders SVH with a 1-4 victory in their Plate match-up. Porirua Club Battlers knocked out Alcoholics Albion, winning 3-5. Fireraiders rounded out the week’s Plate results, beating Battlers FC 8-4 in a deluge of goals.
The Cup is run as a separate competition, generally seen as the more prestigious of the two. In this week’s Wellington Sunday Football League Cup action, Sudakas FC cemented a place in the next round with a 2-1 win over Marauders while Sunday Blazers eliminated Tuskan Raiders with a 2-0 victory. Lokomotiv Beer Quarter downed Zazaspor 3-1 while Universal Language won by default over Levuka FC.
Thirty-six 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.
Next weekend’s action (July 8)
Sunday Football League teams return to regular league play next weekend. The match to watch in Division One may well be a clash between Tuskan Raiders and Sunday Blazers. Both teams are currently on 19 points, with Tuskan narrowly edging Blazers on goal difference. This matchup may be the difference between a top three or mid-table finish. Lokomotiv Beer Quarter match up against Sudakas FC and will be looking to avenge a narrow loss in their previous encounter.
In Division Two, V-Well will want to beat Marauders FC, especially if new second division league leaders Valley FC Trust can beat a wily Fireraiders side. The promoted Battlers FC may be in for a struggle against a HHH United team that seems to be finding its Division One form once more following relegation.
Expected Toulouse will take on Valley Soccer Friends in Division Three, but the match to watch may be a contest between Ball Tamperers and Terrace-Nadi as Ball Tamperers strive to take back top spot from Westwood. In Division Four, Pirates FC will challenge division leaders SVH, while Trentham United will be looking to close the gap on the top three with a win over The Dave Bakers.
Categories: Wellington Sunday Football League
I alternate between club, indoor and street football. I'm keen on the social game and have been known to bother urban Wellington by playing street football at night. I usually play keeper or wing back, and I'm enough of a geek to enjoy football manager games.