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Battle at Wakefield Park keeps Valley FC on top

Valley FC Trust – 5, Battlers FC – 3
Wakefield Park, September 2, 2018

A 5-3 victory over Battlers FC at Wakefield Park kept Valley FC Trust in pole position at the top of the Wellington Sunday Football League Division Two table with just one round of competition left to play.

Valley FC gained the early advantage just five minutes in. A scrappy shot from outside the 18-yard box deflected from a defender’s back to fall at the feet of Caleb Baker, who shot through a crowd of players to put his team in the lead.

Baker was involved again just minutes later, launching a cross to teammate Nikos Moraitis, who rose up to head the ball into the goal from close range, giving Valley FC a 2-0 lead just 10 minutes into the game.

Battlers fought back hard and defused attacking plays with slide tackles and toe-tip touches. But Valley FC kept the pressure on, finding Demetre Kotrotsos just inside the penalty area 30 minutes into the match.

The Battlers FC keeper saw the danger, leaving his line to try and close down the attack, but a moment’s indecision between the keeper and a defender gave Kotrotsos the time he needed to evade both players and launch a shot into the goal to bring the score to 3-0.

The last 10 minutes of the half saw a slew of high-energy attacking opportunities from Battlers. One play saw Ben Purser dribble the ball the full width of the field without finding a way through the defensive line. Felix Faisaner ran hard to win the ball, but also couldn’t find a way through. But the team found its range with the long ball, turning defenders on the slippery surface as heavy rain began to fall.

The long ball tactic nearly paid off for Battlers as Daniel Walker-Bowell and Tim Hall regularly ran onto well-weighted balls from the halfway line. Walker-Bowell found space and would have scored were it not for keeper Bern Wyatt’s save. Hall’s physical play caused trouble for the defenders – and himself – as he was regularly knocked to the ground. The half ended with flaring tempers and a shoving match quickly defused by referee Tom Parkes.

Battlers FC’s continued to threaten in the second half, but Valley FC stayed strong. Baker received the ball in the box once more, eluding three Battlers’ defenders before thumping the ball past the keeper to bring the score to 4-0.

Valley FC brought on fresh legs with wing back Bobby Saranglao, who defused several attacks using his pace and acceleration. Valley FC striker Moraitis continued to cause all sorts of issues for the defenders and Kotrosos narrowly missed a one-on-one opportunity against Battlers’ keeper Josh Laua’ani.

Valley seemed firmly in control, but Hall had other ideas, dribbling past defenders all the way from the centre line to the penalty box, where he was felled by a challenge. Teammate Ben Purser stepped up to the penalty spot and put Battlers on the board.

Battlers FC lived up to their name, and Hall struck once more from the edge of the penalty area to claw the score back to 4-2, but hesitation in defence cost Battlers at the other end minutes later, with Valley FC players to breaking into the 18-yard box and committing Laua’ani to a diving save. The ball deflected to Moraitis, who made no mistake in front of the open goal to bring the score to 5-2 with his second goal.

With time nearly up, Battlers fought on. A string of one-touch passes up the right wing found Hall inside the box. Two touches put the ball past the keeper and into the back of the net, but it was too little too late for Battlers, and Valley took the match 5-3.

Valley FC are two points clear of Marauders FC at the top of the Division Two table and a win against Inter Galactic FC next week will win them the Division Two title. The team is in its fourth year of competition in the Wellington Sunday Football League, and the team name is based on the team motto: ‘Trust the boys’.

In other Division Two action this week, Fireraiders sorely missed its first-choice goalkeeper in a 7-4 loss to Marauders FC, while Los Blazeros beat Inter Galactic 5-2.

HHH United beat Zazaspor 5-1 and Four Four Two took down V-Well 2-1 – a reversal of fortunes for teams that held the top positions on the table for the first half of the season.

Marauders FC still has an outside chance to take the Division Two title with a win against Zazaspor next week, but only if Valley FC Trust loses to Inter Galactic FC – which beat them in the Plate quarter-finals in August. HHH United will look to continue its recent winning streak against Los Blazeros as it heads into the Plate final on 16 September, while their Plate final opposition Fireraiders will square off against Four Four Two.

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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