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Inter Galactic through to Plate semi-finals

Inter Galactic FC – 4, Valley FC Trust – 3
Wellington College, August 5 2018

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Inter Galactic FC are through to the Wellington Sunday Football League Plate semi-finals after a 4-3 victory over Division Two league leaders Valley FC Trust.

The result was a major upset as Inter Galactic lags eight places behind Valley FC on the league table and lost the previous encounter 7-0.

Valley FC came out firing, with Peter Barbarouses receiving a through ball on the edge of the penalty box, breaking through the defence and wrong-footing the keeper to score in the first minute of the match.

The pressure continued in the first half, and Valley FC would have gone further ahead 20 minutes in if it wasn’t for a spectacular diving save from Inter Galactic keeper Phil Connor, who went to his right at full stretch to keep his team in the match.

But the Valley FC bench was low on reserves, and players started to conserve energy rather than pressing for a second goal. Inter Galactic seized its opportunity, equalising through Mark Underwood with just seconds left in the half. Underwood pounced on a loose ball in the Valley FC box, sneaking a shot through scrambling Valley FC defenders to bring the half time score to 1-1.

The second half began with a string of five Valley FC corners in succession. But Connor and his defence stood strong, shutting down the attacks before clearing the fifth corner upfield for a swift counterattack that caught Valley FC’s defenders off guard. The play culminated in a strong shot from Dennis Lima that put Inter Galactic ahead 2-1.

Lima’s goal, scored on his final game for the club before a move to Auckland, appeared to fire Inter Galactic up, and minutes on, Lima found a second goal as Tom Wallace played a precision aerial ball from the edge of the box to find Lima on the penalty spot. Wallace’s accurate placement left nothing to chance and Lima powered a shot off the laces and into the back of the net.

Wallace left the field shortly after, felled by a diving save from the Valley FC keeper. But right winger Chris Gazley ran with tireless energy, steaming up the right sideline time and again. His efforts paid off with 20 minutes remaining when he played a precision ball across the penalty box to Ben Jeffrey, who slotted the ball past the keeper to bring the score to 4-1.

Valley FC were behind the game and reserve players arriving late were shocked to hear the scoreline. The team redoubled its efforts with fresh legs, winning a corner which was headed home at the far post by Demetre Kotrotsos to bring the score to 4-2.

Connor had been a standout for Inter Galactic with diving saves, sliding clearances and decisive play to defuse attacks. But with five minutes to play, he opted to attempt to clear a shot from Anaru Tatsell rather than diving on it, deflecting the ball into his own goal off his shin pad in a costly error that brought Valley FC back into the game at 4-3.

The final moments of the match were electric, with Valley FC on all-out attack. With 30 seconds left on the clock, Theo Kay found space in the penalty area. His shot would have levelled the score to extend the game but for quick footwork from defender Tim Rosen, who managed to deflect the ball just centimetres over the crossbar.

Inter Galactic wing-back Jonathan Dowson said the team had absorbed early pressure and made good use of counterattacks to bring home the win.

“I think we play better with our backs to the wall. It was a well-deserved victory and a great game to see off Dennis Lima, who was amazing with his two goals.”

Josh Moore of Valley FC congratulated Inter Galactic on the win.

“Now we’re free to focus on league promotion. Well played to Inter, and good luck to them in the Plate.”

Inter Galactic was founded five years ago, changing its name as part of a 2017 sponsorship from MOON bar in the Wellington suburb of Newtown. The team will face off against fellow Second Division team HHH United in the Plate semi-finals after HHH beat Universe 2-0.

Fireraiders booked a place in the other Plate semi-final with a resounding 7-0 victory over Terrace-Nadi. Los Blazeros claimed the fourth semi-final berth with a 5-1 victory over Wellington Chinese United.

Catch-up matches for poor weather were also played this weekend, with Tuskan Raiders winning 4-3 to leapfrog Sunday Blazers on the Wellington Sunday Football League Division One table and claim third place. Porirua Battlers FC also took the field, beating nemesis Trentham United 1-0.

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.

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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