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Marauders’ second-half fireworks steal the show

Marauders FC – 8, Four Four Two FC – 3
Wellington College, July 16 2018

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A close contest between Marauders FC and Four Four Two FC became a one-team show in the second half as Marauders FC pulled away to win 8-3 in Wellington Sunday Football League Cup pool play.

With both Division Two teams out of Cup contention there was nothing to lose, and the game was set to be a goal fest from the start.

Marauders put the first points on the board with a breakaway run from Matt Fung, who escaped the Four Four Two defenders in a two-man breakaway and fired the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal to put his team in the lead. A second Marauders goal followed soon after when Will ‘Fold’ Mathews broke through the centre defence and sent the ball past the keeper.

But Four Four Two had speed on offence too, often threatening when Marauders’ high defensive line was stretched. Striker Nelson Navin sped through from the right to go one on one with the keeper, shooting across the goal to bring his team back into the game.

Four Four Two played used the full width of the field, constantly changing the angle of attack. Several chances were shut out only by desperate defence, and free kicks were awarded in precarious positions. The next goal came from the left as Farhan Ali caught up with a through ball to even it up and bring the score to 2-2.

A Marauders goal late in the first half went against the run of play. Four Four Two keeper Praneet Singh was in good position to defend the goal but found himself swamped by Marauders players on a quick counter attack, becoming entangled at the near post as a shot from Fung took a deflection off a defender, bringing the half-time score to 3-2.

Four Four Two started the second half with energy and pace. Play centred around the Marauders penalty area, with Navin and midfielder Carl Ramsay causing issues for the defence. Several crosses were defused by the Marauders keeper, followed by a long shot from Ramsay that skimmed across the turf and steamed past the keeper into the back of the net to bring the match level once more.

After this, the Marauders defence dropped deeper and seemed to shift up a gear, using powerful play to launch coordinated counter attacks. The goal of the match came from Marauders through a controlled passing sequence on the left wing. Terry O’Donnell hit the ball up the left wing to Dave Shewan, who sent a precision cross into the penalty area for Ben Twyman to thump past the keeper and put Marauders up 4-3.

Another breakaway from Fung resulted in the eighth goal of the match. Although his initial shot was saved by the keeper, he bounced back off the turf to gather the rebound and put Marauders up 5-3.

Singh put his hand up to keep Four Four Two in the match, punching away four successive corner kicks and saving another powerful shot from Mathews, who linked up with Twyman and Marauders Captain Duncan MacKenzie to put the defence under serious pressure.

Mathews was rewarded for his efforts after a series of promising plays, striking from the edge of the penalty area and past Singh’s fingertips to bring the score to 6-3. He followed up with a hat-trick goal minutes later when a cross found him unmarked near the back post and his header deflected from the keeper’s shoulder and into the goal.

The match finished with yet another goal as the tireless Fung ran down another through ball on the counterattack, putting it low and to Singh’s right to to bring the match to its final score of 8-3. The goal also sealed Fung’s hat-trick, which could have been a four-goal haul but for the earlier deflection.

MacKenzie said Marauders had played a great game against a tough team, and the team strategy had played out well in the end.

“We test our defence by letting them in, then go on the counter. We’ve been working on our corner kicks and it paid off well for us this match.”

Four Four Two team manager Kash Naidu said it had been a frustrating second half.

“It was a game of missed opportunities for us. We had our chances. We didn’t take them. In the end we paid the price and the better team won on the day.”

Naidu said despite some momentary lapses in form, Four Four Two had performed well in most games of the season, achieving results against the top teams and nearly achieving a draw against Sudakas FC in the previous Cup round.

Marauders FC was founded in 2009 and recently stepped down from Division One to focus on a more social style of play.

In other Cup results this week, North Wellington went through to the semi-finals after dominating Pool A with an 11-1 win over Zazaspor, while Lazy 11 are through to the next round from Pool B after Levuka FC forfeited its match. Expected Toulouse couldn’t manage another upset in Pool C after rolling Tuskan Raiders in the previous round, and Sunday Blazers went through with a 6-3 win.

In this week’s Plate matches, Valley FC Trust went through to the quarter finals after a 4-0 win over Pirates FC while Rogue X1 couldn’t catch Inter Galactic FC on goal difference in Pool B despite a 7-5 win over Sharks FC. Sunday Cardigans were in a similar situation, unable to stop Los Blazeros progressing despite a 6-2 victory over Valley Soccer Friends.
Fireraiders topped Pool D with a massive 11-2 win over Unipods, while HHH United showed it is still a team to be reckoned with, winning 5-1 over Division Three leaders Westwood United to go through to the quarter finals. Universe topped Pool F with a 7-2 win over Porirua Battlers FC.

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 weekend’s action (July 22)
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.

 

Watch: Four blocked corners and a save from Praneet Singh

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Wellington Sunday Football League

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Fraser May

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.

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