Expected Toulouse – 4, Westwood United – 2
Boyd Wilson Field, August 12 2018
Expected Toulouse scored its fifth straight Wellington Sunday Football League Division Three win, beating rivals Westwood United 4-2 at Boyd Wilson Field.
The match started as it would go on, with Expected Toulouse claiming possession in the midfield through speed and athleticism and Westwood playing a counter-attacking defensive game.
The first chance fell to Westwood’s Nick Waring, who caught up with a long ball behind Toulouse’s defensive line. However Toulouse keeper Matt Twort advanced quickly, leaving his penalty area to rush Waring’s shot, which went well wide of the goal.
The next ten minutes saw Westwood restricted to their half of the pitch. Toulouse’s continued possession led to long shots, free kicks and a penalty from Jordan King that went just wide, but Westwood’s Sam Wheatley was up to the early challenge, making several saves.
Later in the half, Westwood began to get numbers to the ball upfield. Striker Paratene Cowlin found space on several occasions, and Westwood won a free kick in an attacking position. The resulting strike from Jack Langston penetrated the wall, skidding and bouncing just inside the right hand upright and putting Westwood ahead with 20 minutes to go in the first half.
Despite a mistimed clearance that caused a few worried moments, an equalising goal for Toulouse seemed inevitable after extended possession and concerted attack. Luke Enoka was the man of the moment when an attack from right winger Tom Left found him unmarked in the middle of the box. Enoka shot just above the keeper’s shoulder, and a fingertip was all Wheatley could get to the ball before the score was levelled 1-1.
Minutes later, a string of passes on the left wing saw another ball find Enoka on the penalty spot. The resulting shot rebounded off the right-hand upright, deflecting off the side of Wheatley’s head on its way to the back of the net, and taking Toulouse to the break with a 2-1 lead.
Wheatley was replaced in goal at the start of the second half, his strong performance in goal marred by bad luck. Westwood continued to play a long-ball game but without substitutes the players began to tire and the threat of the through ball was neutralised by solid defence from Toulouse’s Roydon Misseldine and Corey van de Coolwijk.
After 10 minutes of stalemate, Jack Close asserted himself for Toulouse, breaking through to cross the ball dangerously across the penalty area, but just out of King’s reach. Moments later, Left found space on the right, passing to the middle of the penalty area and finding Close, who raised Toulouse’s lead to 3-1 with a blazing shot past the keeper’s nose.
The situation worsened for Westwood as Wheatley landed awkwardly following an aerial challenge and was forced to leave the pitch with an injury to his ACL ligament, leaving Westwood with just 10 men. After this, the defence began to open up.
King found himself free in the box, winning a penalty as the keeper tackled the player rather than the ball. The resulting spot kick was saved by the keeper, with the deflection thumped to the back of the net by King, but the goal was disallowed as a Toulouse player was deemed to have impeded the keeper.
Westwood dropped back to defend while Toulouse focused on showmanship, attempting bicycle kicks, long shots and set plays. This broken play suited the pace and ball skills of van de Coolwijk, who appeared all over the field, winning the ball and making dangerous runs. After several threatening plays, he received the ball in the middle of the box, keeping his cool to slot one past the keeper and seal Westwood’s fate at 4-1.
With just minutes left in the game, Westwood marshalled one last counterattack, breaking through the defence and winning a penalty when one of the team’s midfielders was brought down illegally in the penalty area. Captain Noa Nawalowalo lobbed it right of the keeper, bringing the game to its final score of 4-2.
Nawalowalo said Westwood had performed well for the majority of the season, leading Division Three for several weeks, but injury and absences had put the team on the back foot.
“It’s been a pretty good season, but there have been a few recent issues. We need to bring back Tyler Bedford.”
Twort credited his team on the victory while Toulouse celebrated van de Coolwijk as the man of the match.
“Full credit to the boys. It was a good game – a game of two halves. Our thoughts are with [Wheatley] though, it’s never nice to see someone go down like that.”
The victory means Toulouse has claimed second place in Division Three from Westwood. The team is undefeated in league play since a mid-season promotion to Division Three, with six wins and two draws. Its final match this season will be against division leaders Ball Tamperers, which beat Valley Soccer Friends 10-2 in their Sunday afternoon clash at Wakefield Park.
In other Division Three matchups, Universe beat fellow cellar-dwellers Alcoholics Albion 6-2 while Terrace-Nadi won a close-fought match with Shamrocks 4-3. Sharks FC lost out to Rogue X1 4-1.
In Wellington Sunday Football League Division Two action, Zazaspor downed Battlers FC 3-2 while V-Well won 6-3 over Los Blazeros.
Division Four saw a 1-1 draw between Wellington Chinese United and Sunday Cardigans. Pirates FC dealt Unipods a 4-0 defeat, while SVH won by forfeit over The Dave Bakers.
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
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.