HHH United – 7, Inter Galactic FC – 0
Wellington College, August 26 2018
HHH United brought Inter Galactic FC crashing back to earth with a 7-0 victory in the Wellington Sunday Football League Plate semi-finals.
Inter Galactic had beaten the Division Two league leaders Valley FC Trust in its previous Plate matchup, and it took something special to start the scoring. Stuart McGilvray of HHH was equal to the task, seizing a loose ball, rounding his marker with one touch and curling a place-kick style shot to ‘where the spiders live’ in the top corner to bring the score to 1-0.
HHH tried everything to score again but Inter Galactic had pulled players back to strengthen its defensive line. As a result, HHH pushed forward and Inter Galactic showed its counterattacking abilities.
Jake Roberts of Inter Galactic consistently found space on the left wing, and with 10 minutes to go in the first half, a shot shook the HHH crossbar. Roberts was in the right place at the right time, striking a powerful shot, but the resulting clearance struck him in the jaw, knocking him to the ground and blunting the attack. The half ended a close contest, with HHH 1-0 up.
Both teams started cautiously in the second half. Inter Galactic threatened, but HHH absorbed pressure well and began to get numbers to the ball. A concerted attack on the right wing found Johnny Molloy, who struck across the keeper’s line, from the right-hand corner of the 18-yard box to the bottom left corner of the goal to raise the score to 2-0.
Inter Galactic pushed forward to pull the score back, trying to sting the opposition. Roberts broke away again and again, rounding defenders on a promising attack to go one-on-one with the keeper only to have his shot blocked by a full-length dive from HHH keeper Kane Landers.
As Inter pushed forward, this created openings for HHH. Molloy struck time and again, missing five relatively open shots before receiving the ball on the left wing. Despite being marked by two defenders far out on the left sideline he launched an unsaveable miracle shot that dropped into the top right corner of the goal to take the score to 3-0.
Inter Galactic battled hard, but continued counterattacks couldn’t find the mark. As more players were committed upfield, HHH players found space behind the line, launching counterattacks of their own. A long pass found Molloy, who seemed to have an eternity to shoot before putting the ball past the diving Inter Galactic keeper Phil Connors.
At 4-0 down with 20 minutes to play, Inter Galactic started to lose focus. An ill-timed goal kick went straight to Richard Atherton of HHH at the edge of the penalty arc. He wasted no time in putting it back past the keeper for another goal to bring the score to 5-0.
Molloy was fired up, and he was a thorn in the side of the defence. Inter Galactic attempted to shut him down with an extra defender, but this created another opening. His next attacking effort was a cross-field ball to Danny Clarke, who only needed one touch to take the score to 6-0.
The match was sealed with another goal from Clarke, who received a precision pass on the penalty spot from Adam Garrett. Clarke had so much time to choose his shot it almost looked like a penalty. He made no mistake, bringing the game to its final score of 7-0 and putting HHH United through to the final in high spirits and with a clean sheet.
Inter Galactic’s players agreed they had lived and died ‘by the sword’, eventually paying the price for the same counterattacking strategy that had seen them defeat Valley FC Trust in the previous round. Connors wished HHH well for the final and credited the referee on ‘a cracking game’.
HHH united was founded 20 years ago as a university social football team. Although the team was missing perennial performer Justin Lester this season due to Wellington mayoral duties, Karl Scoullar said the scoreline would give HHH a definite boost.
“This win is a good little confidence boost going into the final.”
HHH will go on to face Fireraiders in the Plate final after Los Blazeros were defeated 6-3 in the other Plate semi-final.
In the Wellington Sunday Football League Cup competition semi-finals, Division One league winner Sudakas FC was dealt its first defeat of the season as Sunday Blazers scored a strong 5-2 victory. Blazers will go on to contest the Cup final against North Wellington, which dealt Lazy 11 a 6-1 defeat earlier in the day.
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