PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

FOOTBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

A goal within the first 20 seconds set Douglas Villa Magpies on course to a 5-1 victory in their playoff match for promotion to Capital Four for 2020.

Playing Horowhenua-Kapiti champions Otaki Purutaitama, Magpies striker Willy Syben caught the opposition napping at the kick-off, pinching their pass, and then passing to fellow striker Josh McMenamin, who found the back the net.

For much of the first half Magpies struggled to get out of their half of the field, playing into a strong wind at Memorial Park, Petone.

However, they did cause problems for the Otaki defence when they attacked.

Magpies made the most of a rare foray into the Otaki half to double their lead through Syben for a 2-0 lead at the interval.

Magpies’ superior fitness began to tell, and they dominated the second 45 minutes.

Further goals to McMenamin, Syben and captain Tremaine Rimene-Albrett sealed a comfortable win.

Magpies coach Dan Pawson said the knowledge gained from their trip to watch Otaki play paid off.

“They were a physical side and we expected they would run out of gas in the second half.

“We had identified their stronger players and managed to shut down their best player.

“It was tough in the first half and we were struggling to go forward. But we knew we would roll them in the second half.

“They ran out of steam in the midfield and we could’ve won by more – we hit the post and had a couple of shots just miss.”

Pawson said there was a lot of work to be done before the start of next season.

“We need to sort out a feeder team in the local league. There’s already been quite a bit of interest from other local players.

“The boys have done really well. It’s all be done with local young players.

We had a 15-year-old and two 16-year-olds, and the oldest in the team is Troy Burling and he’s only 33, so we’re a very young team, and we’re looking to give them a chance to play at a higher level.”

The victory had Magpies finish the season with 20 wins from 20 games. It also extended their unbeaten run to 37 matches, going back to April 2018.

It will be a welcome return to the Capital Leagues for Douglas Villa’s premier men’s team.

The club previously had a team that had played in Capital Three and won promotion to Capital Two. They pulled out of the Capital leagues after finishing bottom of Capital Two in 2016.

The win caps a successful year for Douglas Villa teams competing in Wellington.

The Douglas Villa-Wairarapa College 14th-15th grade combined team won the A Division after starting the season in the C Division.