Tuesday, 25 July 2017


Men's Capital Division 1
St Pat's Turf, Wellington
Sunday 23rd July, 2017
Attendance : 52
The view from St Pat's turf

In my quest to get to every club in Wellington I have yet to visit Kapiti Coast United. I keep meaning to and this year would have been good as up until this game their only loss had come in the Chatham Cup, so when I realised that they needed only one point to win the title and they were playing second placed Miramar, it seemed a must go. The only downside was that as it was a Miramar home game I wouldn't get to visit Weka Park (where I don't think I've been since I played my first ever game of football there when I was seven!). As it was I did get to visit a new ground as the game was transferred off DaveyF park and on to St Pat's turf.

Kapiti Coast United (KCU) were formed in 2002 by the merger of Raumati Hearts and Paraparaumu United. Raumati Hearts had been formed in 1960 and with some of the founding members being Hearts fans from Scotland that's how they got their name. They played in the Central League from 1976 until 1999, mainly in the lower leagues, they did reach the premier division twice. For a long time they were the only club on the Kapiti Coast and were probably better known for their massive preseason Coastlands junior tournament and in later years their very strong masters team, which benefited from many ex National League players deciding to retire on the Kapiti Coast.

Paraparaumu United were founded in 1992 and lasted for 10 years, in that time they rose from Central League Division 3 up to Central Premier, played 228 League & Cup games winning 50% of them. Always a small club with only a couple of teams, after a horrendous season in 2001 when they scored just seven goals and lost all 18 games they joined Raumati (now known as Kapiti Hearts) to create Kapiti Coast United.

Since 2002 the club has been in Capital one or Capital Premier, they won Capital one in 2006 and 2014. Last season they only won one game and have found themselves back in Capital one.

Going into this game KCU were unbeaten at the top of the table and needing just one point to secure the championship and promotion back to the Capital Premier Division. Miramar, despite being in second place, weren't exactly what you could call hot on their heels, being nine points behind and their slim chance of snatching the title relying on KCU losing all their remaining games and having a better goal difference than the coasters.

When it comes to goals, I expected to see a few, these two teams had scored 97 goals between them in their 15 games so far this season and Miramar in particular have had some spectacular scorelines such as 9-3, 7-5 & 7-0.

Eric Molloy (MR) goes past KCU's Nick O'Hagan The JourneyFan
Miramar put out a very strong team which included Team Wellington regulars Tommy Jackson, Billy Scott, Andy Bevin as well as new signing, Irishman Eric Molloy from Southern United and regular reserve team players such as CJ Atkinson, veteran keeper Phil Imray and 17 goal striker Merlin Luke-Miny.

In the first 20 minutes, KCU were playing well although neither team were dominating, that was until the first of two four minute flurrys. That was when Andy Bevin, Tommy Jackson and Cai McClean scored three goals in four minutes. The second came eight minutes from half time when Eric Molloy, Tommy Jackson (again) and CJ Atkinson scored another three goals in four minutes and took the score to 6-0.
KCU's Lachie Fay - impressive performance The JourneyFan

When a game is 6-0 at half time you don't really expect much in the second, but there were a few things, the first was a horrible injury to KCU's Fraser Leith, who had collided in mid air with Phil Imray and landed awkwardly on his neck, luckily it was worse than it looked and by the end of the game he was up and walking about (although very slowly). To KCU's credit they kept attacking and were trying to get something back and they were rewarded when Jayden Stratford scored in the 66th minute but there was to be no miraculous comeback. Miramar did get the ball in the net again but it was ruled out for offside and there was an impressive performance from KCU substitute Lachie Fay, but there was no trophy for them this week. 

I think I could be a jinx, last season I went to Endeavour Park to watch Waterside Karori take on Western Suburbs, when they needed just three points to win the Capital Premier division - the result that day was 6-0 to Wests. KCU  needed just a point and they lost 6-1, they play Wainuiomata at home next Saturday and should lift the trophy, but I think I'll stay away just in case!




Wednesday, 12 July 2017


Waterside Karori 2 Western Suburbs Reserves 3
Men's Capital Premier
Saturday 8th July, 2017
Karori Park, Wellington
Attendance : 112 

When I started this blog I had the aim of visiting every club in Wellington, and after two and a half years, 133 posts, an award for Website of the Year & 75 thousand views, I had been doing not bad with only six clubs left to visit. I got to tick one of at this game, despite Karori Park being the second closest ground to where I live, I hadn't seen Waterside Karori at home!

Waterside Karori AFC make the bold claim "since 1894" on their club badge and with some validity too. While the present day Waterside Karori club was formed in 1988 by the merger of Waterside AFC (known as Columbus Waterside then) and Karori Swifts, the history of the clubs involved does go back to 1894. Swifts were formed then and were one of the first big names in Wellington football, winning the Venus Shield seven times by 1911. They were originally based in central Wellington, but eventually relocated to Karori, although it took until 1968 before they changed their name to Karori Swifts. While this allowed them to grow and become one of the biggest junior clubs in Wellington, the senior club never replicated their early success and Central League Division 2 was the highest they played.

Jack Haggerty & Ethan Cain who were making their 50th appearances for Waterside Karori (apologies to Jock Sutherland who also did but I didn't get a photo of him)  The JourneyFan

Waterside were formed in 1921 by workers at the Wellington dockyards. They too quickly established themselves as one of Wellington's top clubs winning the Venus Shield in 1922 & 23 (they went on to win six times in total) and in the late 30's became the first club to win the Chatham Cup three times on the trot. Always an ambitious club, they won the Central League five times and had one season in the National League in 1978.

In 1987 the National League was expanded to 14 teams and the NZFA was encouraging clubs to merge. However it was still a surprise when the radical working class Watersider's teamed up with the posh conservative suburbanites of Karori, but the marriage worked and in 1988 Waterside Karori were back in the National League. They lasted two seasons and struggled at a time where there were four Wellington clubs in the league and competition for players was high.

Since then Waterside Karori have been a competitive club (they have finished in the top 3 in 13 of their last 19 seasons) but they have been unable to break out of the second tier into the Central League. Going into this game they were top of the table, two points ahead of Petone, thanks to beating them 1-0 last weekend.

They were up against Western Suburbs reserves, only one of two teams to have beaten them this season (Petone being the other). 

Facundo Babero (WK) gives thanks after scoring The JourneyFan
It was a tight game, played in the middle of the park and a few goalmouth scrambles for both teams, at half time it felt as if 0-0 was a fair reflection of the game. Five minutes into the second half, Western Suburbs pounced on a defensive mistake and Ahmad Mohammadi made it 1-0. Wests then hit the bar, before Mohammadi got a second from the penalty spot.

Then there was three minutes of madness, Facundo Babero pulled a goal back for Waterside with a nice header, from the kick off, Wests went straight down the other end and Erik Alexandersen made it 3-1. Waterside Karori restarted and won a penalty which was converted by Babero. I was still trying to compose a tweet about Babero's first goal by the time it was 3-2! Waterside Karori kept pressing and Babero almost had a hat-trick but his shot went just over the bar and the score finished 3-2 to Wests.

Petone beat (and effectively relegated) BNU, 1-0, which sees them go back to the top of the table. There are two points in it and four games left. Waterside Karori have the easier run in with three home games, while Petone have a couple of tricky ties with a derby against Lower Hutt City and 3rd place North Wellington, so the title will go down to the wire and then the winner will have to overcome the Central Football Premier League winner, which is looking like Havelock North Wanderers, to see if they can get into the Central League next season. 

For photos from the game click here

After not seeing Waterside Karori for so long I ended up seeing three of their teams play over the weekend (well four if you count my nephew's 9th grade junior game for the Onslow Rangoons at Karori Park in the morning)

For photos from the curtain raiser Waterside Karori Reserves v Kapiti Coast United (1-1) Click here

Hayden Polyanszky (WK) is upended by a Kapiti Coast United player The JourneyFan

And for photos from Sunday's Women's Capital Premier game between Waterside Karori & Wellington United (0-1) Click Here

A Waterside Karori Throw in at Sundays Womens game The JourneyFan

Tuesday, 4 July 2017


Central League
Wakefield Park
Sunday 2nd July
Att 150

It must have been one hell of a party, Wellington Olympic's Championship party last August that is, as even now 10 months on they are still suffering from the hangover and find themselves at the bottom end of the table.

How did they get here? despite the off season rumours there wasn't a large turnover of players. Three regular starters in Juan Chang, Sean Morris and Tapfuma Di Mario departed and they bought back evergreen striker Luis Corrales from Stop Out. Due to Team Wellington's involvement in the Oceania Champions League, they had to wait a little longer than usual to get the likes of Basalaj and Barcia back. This wasn't really an issue as it was during this period that they picked up their two wins (4-3 over Wairarapa & 3-1 over Lower Hutt). They haven't been playing badly, five of their six losses have been by a margin of just one goal and they found themselves on 10 points in 8th place going into this game with bottom place Lower Hutt City.
The Olympic faithful  The JourneyFan

While there is general surprise at where Olympic are in the table, Lower Hutt City are pretty much around where most, except for themselves, thought they would be at this stage of the season. They have a young team, and despite being able to score goals they have had trouble keeping them out, as shown in results such as 3-3 with Napier, 3-4 v Miramar and an amazing 6-4 win over Wellington United.

This was the 85th meeting between these two clubs, Olympic having the more success with 40 wins to Lower Hutt's 23. Lower Hutt City had only managed one win in their last 19 games against Olympic.

The first half of the game was one of the worst I've seen for a while, truly it was awful, it really was, the game had 0-0 written all over it and I was seriously regretting my decision to see this game rather than the Western Suburbs v Team Taranaki. 

Lower Hutt City must have thought the same and decided to do something about it, they came out attacking in the second half and five minutes in Nathaniel Hailermariam converted from the penalty spot, a minute later he hit the crossbar, four minutes later Lower Hutt had the ball in the net again but it was ruled out for offside. Then three goals in six minutes to Jarred Cunliffe, Tim Fenton and a second for Hailermariam made it 4-0 and the game was Lower Hutt's with 20 minutes remaining on the clock. A threadbare Wellington Olympic side, who were missing seven regular starters due to injury or suspension, just had no answers and put in what was probably their worst performance of the season.

Hailermariam celebrates his 2nd goal The JourneyFan

The win lifts Lower Hutt City into 8th place, drops Olympic into 9th only one point ahead of bottom placed Palmerston North Marist who they play away on the 22 July in what will be a crunch game if they want to avoid being the first team to be relegated just a season after winning the league!

The run in for the teams in the bottom 3 of the Central League



Monday, 3 July 2017


 Petone 0 Waterside Karori 1
Men's Capital Premier Division
Petone Memorial
Saturday 1 July, 2017
 Attendance : 100ish
Petone and Waterside Karori are two clubs with long histories in Wellington football. Petone was founded in 1898 and is the oldest club in Wellington. There are other clubs that can trace their origins back further than Petone's, but these clubs have merged with others along the way. One example of this are Petone's opponents in this game, Waterside Karori.

Waterside Karori were formed in 1987 by a merger of Waterside and Karori Swifts. Waterside were the team of the dock workers and had been formed in 1921. Swifts had been formed in 1894 and were originally based in central Wellington, before settling in the suburb of Karori, although it wasn't until 1968 that they changed their name to Karori Swifts to reflect this. 

Petone had a season to forget last year, losing several older players and being left with a team whose average age was only 17. Managing only a solitary win and getting relegated back to Capital Premier for the first time since 2008.

In cliched terms Waterside Karori could be described as a "sleeping giant", although given that in 13 of the last 19 seasons they have finished in the top three places of their division, and when they finally won it last year they failed to overcome Team Taranaki in the playoff for Central League, "always a bridesmaid" may be more appropriate! 

Despite Petone's only loss in the league this season coming off the field when they played an ineligible player against North Wellington, they only led Waterside Karori by a point. History  was on their side though as they had only lost once to Waterside Karori in their last 16 meetings.

Earlier in the season I had been planning to go to the reverse of this fixture as Waterside Karori are one of the clubs I have yet to visit (bad memories of always getting thumped in junior football by them never helps!), but I never made it due to work or something like that, and of  course that was a cracking game that ended 4-3 to Petone. So I was hoping for something similar for this game - I know, I know, by now I should have learnt not to hope for  things like this!

Maybe it was because that game was earlier in the season and there was less riding on it than now that it was more open and had lots of goals. This game was two similar teams not wanting to lose, which made for a cagey game played in the middle of the park and just as I thought it was Petone starting to look the more likely to get anything out of the game, up popped Waterside Karori's Jack Haggerty to make it 1-0

Jack Haggerty (#10) makes it 1-0 to Waterside Karori The JourneyFan

The second half was more of the same, rather scrappy football. Things threatened to get  interesting with about 20 minutes to go when Waterside Karori's Caleb Hilbron picked up a second yellow card and was sent off, although Petone were unable to exploit the numerical advantage. In this sort of game you get a few tasty challenges going in, but there was nothing too serious and referee Mark Hewitt was doing a good job of controlling both teams. Waterside Karori's coach Martin Garcia didn't agree and despite being warned to stay quite he kept on about it and was eventually sent off as well, as he left muttering about playing against 12 men, he decided to stand behind the dugout, which was technically off the field of play, however he continued to coach from there so was told to go to the stand which he did.

This had no real effect on the game, but it did give the spectators some entertainment which was good as the football just wasn't doing it. In the end Waterside Karori held on for a 1-0 win and go top of the table with five games left.


Thursday, 29 June 2017


1981 is remembered in New Zealand mainly for the divisive rugby tour by the Springboks, which saw widespread protests against the racist apartheid regime of South Africa. Meanwhile the New Zealand football national team, adopted the name the All White's (as a to counter rugby's All Blacks) and embarked on an epic journey which would see them qualify for the 1982 World Cup in Spain.

With 821 men's teams, 245 women's teams and 41 000 juniors registered (up from 24 000 in 1970), football was on an all time high.  They were even announcing the All White's scores at half time in the rugby!

Here is a look back at that brilliant year in NZ Football


Wellington Diamond United National League Champions 1981
For the first time since the league started in 1970, no Auckland team finished in the top two. Wellington Diamond United (WDU) won their second title. Jeff Strom became only the second kiwi to captain a team to the title, (the first to do so was his teammate Mike Simeonoff , who was captain when WDU first won the league in 1976). Coach Barrie Truman showed his skill in developing youth with several promising youngsters in the team, including Billy Harris, Ceri Evans and a certain Wynton Rufer, who scored seven goals in his 19 appearances.

Dunedin City, who had avoided relegation the season before by only three points , bought in coach Derek Daniels and surprised everyone in finishing second on goal average and winning the Chatham Cup.

Defending champions Mt Wellington, had lost a couple of players, but remained a formidable team, including All White's Ricki Herbert, Billy McClure & Glen Adam and despite a seven game unbeaten run which saw then score 24 and concede only 1 they were unable to make it three in a row.

Gisborne City were coached by All White's assistant, Kevin Fallon (who also played) and were stacked with All White's including Grant Turner, John Hill, Keith “Buzzer” Mackay, Kenny Cresswell and Peter Simonsen. So many they asked for, and were granted a seven match dispensation while the All White's games were played. This was a double edged sword for them, they were unbeaten at the top of the table when they got the dispensation, when they returned they had the situation where they had to play eight games in 22 days (including a ridiculous 5 games in 9 days!) and a run of five losses in a row put paid to their title aspirations

North Shore United and Christchurch United had unspectacular seasons and finished mid-table. Manurewa started the season with John Adshead as coach before he realised that he needed to concentrate full time on the All Whites and Russ Toyne took over. They had an unpredictable season which included their biggest ever win (7-0 v Rangers) & their biggest ever defeat (0-5 v Gisborne City) at the time.

Of the three newcomers to the league, Miramar Rangers finished the highest, while 8th position doesn't really show it, it was a successful year for Miramar, they secured a huge sponsorship deal from Insurance company National Mutual, their crowds were the third highest after Gisborne City & Mt Wellington and on the field they had what the NZ Soccer Annual described as “one of the best deals involving an overseas professional”. Peter Mendham arrived from Norwich City, to a Miramar team that had just three wins from 12 games, he played six games for three wins and three draws, scored three goals and left with Miramar comfortably in the top half of the table.

Hamilton had their worst ever start to a season taking eight games before registering a win. They only managed 18 goals and five of these were from the penalty spot, however they still finished four points clear of relegation.

League newcomers, Takapuna City and Woolston Working Men's Club both struggled and couldn't fight off relegation. Takapuna City had the youngest team in the league with an average age of 22, while Woolston struggled without the defensive services of All White Allan Boath.

Christchurch club Rangers had survived in 1980 by virtue of a 0.176 goal average but they couldn't rely on maths to survive this time, achieving the ignominious record of not winning a game all season, in fact they set a record of 25 games in the National League without a win. The high point of their season was holding eventual champions WDU to a 0-0 draw!

Takapuna City, Woolston Workingmen's Club & Rangers were replaced by the regional league winners, East Coast Bays from the Northern region, Napier City Rovers from Central and Invercargill Thistle from Southern


Wellington Diamond United – merged with Wellington City, now Wellington United
Dunedin City -                         defunct
Mt Wellington –                       merged with University, now University Mt Wellington
Gisborne City -                        defunct
North Shore United –              Northern League Division 1
Christchurch United –             Canterbury Premier League
Manurewa –                            Northern Premier League
Miramar Rangers –                 Central Premier League
Hamilton –                               Merged with Waikato United, who then merged with Melville, 
                                                now Melville United
Takapuna City –                      Northern League Diision 2
Woolston WMC –                    merged with Christchurch Technical, who then merged with 
                                                Cashmere Wanderers, now Cashmere Technical
Rangers –                               merged with New Brighton now Coastal Spirit



Mt Wellington's Sandy Davie can't stop a shot from Dunedin City's Mike Glubb as Dunedin City win Chatham Cup 3-1 Photo Steve Stefanos

Cup competitions seem to always throw up giant killers, and in the 1981 Chatham Cup it was Central League Stop Out who took on this role. A talented team with the likes of Keith Barton, Steve Boyland, Bruce Polyanszky & Malcolm Dunford, Fred Goodwin's men saw off National League opposition in Nelson United (2-0), Miramar Rangers (2-1) & Wellington Diamond United (4-2 on pens after a 2-2 draw) before going down 3-1 to Dunedin City in Dunedin.

That result meant that for only the second time in history of the Chatham Cup the finalists were the teams who had competed in the final the season before. In 1980 Mt Wellington beat Dunedin City 2-0. In 1981 Mt Wellington opened the scoring through Billy McClure, before two goals from Mike Glubb and one from Terry Wilson, gave Dunedin City their revenge with a 3-1 win.


Auckland finally broke the stranglehold Wellington (who had won the first five) had on the National Tournament with a 5-4 win on pens after a 1-1 draw in a very wet Napier.

The Women's National Team lost 2-1 in a friendly against Australia, before heading off to Taiwan for the Women's World Invitational Tournament where after nine games they finished second, with wins over Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, Thailand as well as two Taiwanese club sides


As well as the All White's (see below) New Zealand participated in the 25th Merdeka Tournament in Malaysia. 11 teams were invited and NZ and Brazil were requested not to select any of their 18 man World Cup squad, so instead of John Adshead, Allan Jones took what was effectively a New Zealand B team and they ended with 2 wins 2 draws and a loss.

The NZ youth team, which included the likes of Wynton Rufer, Billy Harris, & Malcolm Dunford, traveled to Buenos Aires for a qualifying series with Argentina & Israel. They managed a win and a draw against Israel, but two losses to Argentina ended their qualifying hopes



The Biscuit tin for the World Cup All Whites
This really deserves a blog post of its own and I may do one in the future.

The All Whites journey to Espana 82 began in Auckland on ANZAC day with a 3-3 draw against Australia and finished with an epic 2-1 playoff win against China in Singapore.

Along the way they played the most games any team had ever had to in qualifying for a world cup (15), traveled over 90 000km, Handled the hostility of a 100 000 strong crowd in Indonesia to win 2-0. Set a new record for an international win, hammering a coachless and hapless Fiji 13-0. Were nearly were kicked out of the tournament thanks to a fan throwing a beer can at the Indonesian ref, Sudarso, who had awarded not one but two dubious penalties to Kuwait. Went 5-0 up in the first half in the heat of Riyadh against Saudi Arabia, but just couldn't get the sixth goal which would have seen them qualify automatically. Scored some stunning goals, in particular Grant Turner's header (see video below) against Australia and Brian Turner's against Saudi Arabia and unleashed up on world football the talented youngster, Wynton Rufer.

Goals from beating Australia 2-0 including Grant Turner's header

After all that it came down to 90 minutes in Singapore. It was a nerve racking night, Steve Woodin scored in the 20th minute and Wynton Rufer made it 2-0 just after half time, then it was 40 minutes of hanging on. It was too much for Brian Turner, who was suspended for the game and watching at home in Auckland and he went walkabout. Then with 15 minutes to go Huang Xiang dong hit a well struck free kick and it was 2-1, the All White's had to hang on and even though they looked and felt dead on their feet they did, this team made up of journeyman players from England, Scotland, Ireland and a dozen home grown Kiwi's had made it to the biggest stage in the footballing world.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017


Chatham Cup, Round 3
Sunday 25th June
Bluewater Stadium, Napier 
Att: 260ish

There are lots of things I love about the Chatham Cup and road trips are one of them. So when the 3rd round draw was made the one game that stood out in the Central \ Capital region was Napier City Rovers taking on Wairarapa United. It wasn't only the road trip that made this attractive. It was a repeat of the 2011 final, which Wairarapa United won 2-1, and there was the small fact that games between these teams always produce goals. In fact the last 10 meetings of these teams they have produced an amazing 58 goals between them!

Napier City Rovers were formed in 1973 by a merger of Napier Rovers and Napier City. They progressed through the Central League and made it into the National League in 1982. Despite winning the Chatham Cup in 1985 (beating North Shore United 3-1) they were relegated. They bounced straight back and by 1989 had secured their first of four National League titles. Four Chatham Cup wins and three runners up medals in both the National League & Chatham Cup, along with a excellent set up at Park Island, where the ground and setup is not dissimilar to that of an English non-league club, has seen them establish themselves as one of New Zealand's top clubs. 

Napier City Rovers Bluewater Stadium The JourneyFan

Wairarapa United were formed in 1996 by a merger of Masterton and Carterton. They have had success in winning the Chatham Cup in 2011 and while they have yet to win the Central League they have finished in the top three in five of the last eight seasons, and this season are currently sitting in second place. 

This game had all that was needed for a cup classic, two closely matched competitive teams that knew each other well, can score goals for fun, a boisterous home crowd and it lived up to it, especially in the second half.

Wairarapa United had a slight edge in the first half and were making more chances and only being denied by good saves from Napier's custodian, Ruben Parker. Wairarapa United were finally rewarded when Paul Ifill was bought down in the penalty area in the last minute of the half and made no mistake in slotting home the penalty.

Paul Ifill send Ruben Parker the wrong way  The JourneyFan

12 minutes into the second half, Napier City Rover's Josh Stevenson, evened up the scores when he rose to meet a cross and head past Coey Turipa in the Wairarapa goal. Three minutes later Paul Ifill restored their lead when he thundered the ball into the top of the net for his and Wairarapa United's second. From the restart Napier forced a good save from  Turipa. Then we got a five minute spell that produced three goals. First Wairarapa's United's excellent Swedish striker Ermal Hadjari, broke down the left and was almost on the byline before he managed to beat Parker from an almost impossible angle to make it 3-1.

I have seen Wairarapa United a few times this season and thought that this would be the game now as they'd close up, keep the ball off Napier and see out the remaining 20 minutes. I obviously haven't seen Napier City Rovers this season as they weren't having any of that! Two minutes after the restart Ross Willox pulled one back and then two minutes later goal machine Angus Kilkolly added another to his tally of 22 for the season and it was all square.

Angus Kilkolly celebrates his 23rd goal of the season The JourneyFan

The last 10 minutes were pretty frantic, both teams trying to get a winner, some robust challenges going in from both sets of players, Ifill hit the post, but neither team could get that goal so we went to extra time.

It was Wairarapa United that came out firing in extra time, Hadjari got his second with a tap in after two minutes, Ifill had a shot that just missed, then Hadjari almost got a hat-trick, but it was substitute Seule Solomon who got Wairarapa's fifth to give them a 5-3 lead at the turn around.

The drama wasn't over yet, when Paul Ifill broke down the left flank and knocked the ball into the center, Jorge Akers then made a very late tackle on Ifill, and was sent for premature ablutions with about 10 minutes left.

Angus Kilkolly got his second of the game with three minutes left on the clock, but after this Napier City Rovers were unable to force the game to penalties and Wairarapa United keep alive their dream of securing a second Chatham Cup.


Napier City Rovers' Oliver Coren "tackles" Wairarapa's Alex Ridsdale The JourneyFan

Friday, 16 June 2017


Wairarapa United 3 Wellington Olympic 2
Men's Central League
 Wairarapa United 0 Wellington United 6
Capital Football W-League 
Memorial Park, Masterton
Saturday 10th June
Att : 130, Cost $5

A double header, with the women's game as the main game! Almost unheard of, although this was more an accident of the draw than anything planned and Wairarapa United obviously saw the men's game as the main game, as the tannoy announcer only stayed for that game.

It was between the defending champions, Wellington Olympic and one of the favourites for the title this season, Wairarapa United. Wellington Olympic's title defence hasn't been going to plan, only two wins so far, sees them in the relegation zone. That's not to say they haven't been competitive, they have drawn four games and with the exception of a 4-1 defeat to Napier City Rovers, all their losses have been by a single goal.

Wairarapa United were in second place going into this game and scoring an average of almost four goals a game. They had only lost two games, one of which was 4-3 to Wellington Olympic.

The first half was a pretty even affair, with only a Sam Mason-Smith penalty giving Wairarapa a 1-0 lead going into half time. The second half was when things started to happen. Two minutes in Wairarapa's Ermal Hadjari curled a shot past Scott Basalaj in the Olympic goal and it was 2-0. Three minutes later, Olympic pulled one back when Luis Corrales fired the ball into the top corner from close range.

Wairarapa's Turipa gets the ball but collects Corrales as well The JourneyFan

Then mid-way through the half, Luis Corrales broke into the penalty area, Rapa's keeper, Coey Turipa, lunged at the ball and got to it first but unfortunately for him he also collected Corrales in the aftermath, which resulted in a penalty, not that the Wairarapa United players agreed, but the ref waved away their protests and Mario Barcia slotted it home from the spot to make it 2-2.

Shortly after this, Paul Ifill, hit a lovely cross from just inside halfway which found Hadjari and after a bit of ping-pong between him, the post, the keeper and a defender the ball finally found it's way over the line to make it 3-2 and give the game to Wairarapa United.

Alison Vilsack (Wgtn Utd), Emma Kuzcona & Billie Cook (Rapa) The JourneyFan

The W-League game wasn't expected to be as close, the last time these teams met it was 8-0 to Wellington United and Wairarapa United have managed only three goals all season.

So when it was only 1-0 at half time it would have seemed a bit of a surprise, while Wellington United had started with effectively their reserve side, Wairarapa were playing pretty well and putting up a good defence, the big question was would they be able to keep it up for the second half? 

The short answer was no, in the first 10 minutes of the half Topaz Lloyd-Sanders and Megan Wozniak had extended the lead to 3-0 and then Wellington United made five substitutions bringing on regular starters Jayme-Lee Hunter, Asha Strom, Alison Vilsack, Maggie Jenkins & Hope Gilchrist. Hunter & Jenkins got a goal apiece with Ella Wilson completing the scoring to make it 6-0.

Towards the end of the game there was an incident where two players had ended up on the ground and as they got up they clashed, not something that you usually see in the women's game, after the match it emerged that the Wairarapa player had allegedly made a racist comment, which was why the Wellington United player reacted. There was a lot of discussion on the field at the end of the game between the management of both teams, whether the matter was going ot be dealt with internally by Wairarapa or an official complaint was going to be laid I don't know and my efforts to find out have been met by silence.

Whatever happens, it's a real shame that in this day and age we still have things like this going on. There is no place for it in the game or society and it really takes the gloss of the a pretty good performance by the Wairarapa United team.