SVH – 3, Pirates FC – 2
Fraser Park, July 8 2018
A spirited comeback from Pirates FC couldn’t sink the Wellington Sunday Football League’s Division Four leaders as SVH sailed away with a 3-2 victory at Fraser Park.
Pirates started with 10 on the field and held SVH off for the first 10 minutes until the first goal. A free kick was called just outside the penalty area, and SVH captain Daniel Binns got a leg to the ball, deflecting it into the goal to take the score to 1-0.
The match was affected by swirling wind and rain, making the aerial ball difficult to read. There was a midfield stalemate at times but SVH was able to take advantage of its taller players and extra man by playing aerial balls that allowed its strikers to get in behind the Pirates FC defence.
The next SVH goal came after 30 minutes. Rob Salisbury struck an uncanny ball high into the swirling breeze from over 40 metres out, drifting the ball centimetres under the crossbar and centimetres over the outstretched glove of the keeper to score the second goal of the match.
SVH looked firmly in command after this. After a stretch of solid play, another high ball caused chaos inside the Pirates FC box before falling at the feet of Henrick Walker, who chipped it over the keeper and take the match to its half-time score of 3-0.
The impact of the swirling wind was clear in the second half. But although Pirates had the wind advantage, their lack of a right midfielder allowed SVH to continue creating chances. An SVH cross rolled slowly across the goalmouth, metres ahead of the onrushing attackers. A shot pinged off the crossbar. Another shot thudded into the keeper’s arms.
But when these attacks subsided 65 minutes into the match, it was clear Pirates FC’s luck was starting to turn. Tall German teenager Collier Lange dropped back to help secure the Pirates’ penalty area against the aerial ball, using his pace to launch several counter-attacks. Pirates shifted play to the left side of the field where they had a full complement of players, and Sean Beales consistently caused issues for the SVH defence.
After one smooth run, Beales evaded two defenders and deftly lobbed a cross into the penalty box. The SVH keeper seemed to have the play covered but a strong gust changed the angle, resulting in a collision between the keeper and an attacking player. The resulting penalty for Pirates FC was neatly put away by Ben Davies to bring the score to 3-1.
Pirates FC gained confidence and found space to run the ball through Beales, Davies and Hunter Wright. Beales’ elusive footwork caused more issues, eventually resulting in a free kick as he was brought down.
Captain Andrew McLean took the free kick from ten metres outside the box. Davies harried the keeper and SVH players were caught watching the opposing players rather than the ball as the shot rode a gust past everyone and to the back of the net to bring the score to 3-2. Despite their fighting spirit, Pirates FC couldn’t muster another goal, and this was the final score.
Binns said SVH was happy to come away with the win.
“It was definitely a game of two halves out there. The boys played really well, and I’ve got to give credit to the other team for coming out and playing hard with only ten men on the pitch.”
McLean said the match was very similar to their first-round plate matchup with SVH three weeks prior, which also ended 3-2 to SVH.
“It’s a bit disappointing we couldn’t get the draw this time around, but it was a great fightback.”
Pirates FC is a social football team that played under the Seatoun and Island Bay United banners prior to joining the Wellington Sunday Football League. McLean said Pirates FC took the field with nine completely new players this season – practically a whole new team.
SVH now have a firm hold on the top of the Division Four table, eight points clear of Wellington Chinese United who lost 4-3 to Porirua Battlers FC.
In Wellington Sunday Football League Division One action, Sunday Blazers held on to third place with a 3-1 win over Tuskan Raiders, while top-placed Sudakas FC dealt Lokomotiv Beer Quarter a heavy 5-1 defeat.
Valley FC Trust retained top spot on the Division Two table with a 4-2 win over Fireraiders. Marauders beat V-Well FC 4-0, holding third place and booting the former Division Two leaders to fourth on the table, while Zazaspor kept themselves in second place with a narrow 3-2 win over Los Blazeros.
Several games were affected by high winds and heavy rain, and matches planned for Wellington’s windier fields were called off or cancelled, including a Division Three clash between Expected Toulouse and Valley Soccer Friends.
Ball Tamperers won when Shamrocks forfeited rather than endure the conditions, reclaiming top spot on the Division Three table as Westwood United drew 2-2 with Terrace-Nadi. Sharks FC beat Alcoholics Albion 5-2 while Universe defaulted to Rogue X1.
Thirty-six teams are competing in this year’s Wellington Sunday Football League, a community based 11-a-side league that was founded over 40 years ago and is growing year-on-year. A full table of results and fixtures can be found at https://tinyurl.com/WSFL2018.
Next week’s action (15 July)
In Division One, Tuskan Raiders will take on North Wellington and Sunday Blazers will match up with Lazy 11 as the mid-table teams vie for places on the table. Time is running out for Lokomotiv Beer Quarter to launch a comeback, while Sudakas FC seem firmly set at the top of the table.
The match to watch in Division Two will be a struggle between Valley FC Trust and Zazaspor, which achieved blowout scorelines at the start of the season but have been subdued in recent weeks. Fireraiders will also be looking to pounce on a poor run of recent form from V-Well FC.
In contrast, Terrace-Nadi have had a good run of form in Division Three but will be up against current league leaders Ball Tamperers. Sharks FC will take on old rivals Shamrocks, while Westwood United takes on Rogue X1.
In Division Four, league leaders SVH play Wellington Chinese United while Pirates FC will take on the experienced Trentham FC.
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.