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Draws to finish off the season

Kurtis Payne, right, opened Magpies’ account from the penalty spot. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

FOOTBALL

Douglas Villa Magpies 3 
Stokes Valley 3

Josh Greig, left, scored his first goal for Magpies, with a 90th minute equaliser.

A 90th-minute Josh Greig goal earned a deserved point for Douglas Villa Magpies in their final game of the season at the Park Sports Ground on Saturday.

The result was even more commendable given that Stokes Valley had a 2-0 lead at halftime.

But the second half was a different story for the Magpies after a stirring halftime team talk from captain Chris Cox.

Kurtis Paine pulled a goal back from the penalty spot after 50 minutes before Josh McMenamin equalised with his 16th goal of the season 10 minutes later.

The visitors regained the lead after 76 minutes and looked likely to head back over the hill with all three points – until Greig got on the end of a Chris Cox freekick in a goalmouth scramble and scored his first goal for Magpies with time almost up.

Magpies’ manager Nathan Cottle said the draw was very pleasing given that Stokes Valley had thrashed them 7-2 in their first-round clash.

“It was a fair result, but it was just a great game to finish the season and shows the improvement of where we have come from,” Cottle said.

The result will have Magpies finish fifth or sixth in Capital division two, an outcome that seemed improbable seven weeks ago when they were last and staring at relegation after a 0-9 loss to champions Petone Reserves.

“We managed to get a few players back, and we’ve actually managed to keep everyone fit enough and not injured, and we sorted out the suspension stuff.

Douglas Villa Magpies line up for the final game of the season.

“We just had to galvanise, and it was just getting together as a team and really showing solidarity.

“Chris Cox was a massive part of this when we signed him, and his leadership shone through early on.

“You could see the influence was growing, he’s got the respect of the young boys. He leads by example, and his work rate is incredible.”

Cottle also had special praise for the team’s three Rathkeale students Andrew Cox, Lockie Burling, Gareth Webber, and their parents, for their commitment in getting to the games after playing for the school in the morning.

He also thanked the club’s committee, the supporters, and all the players for what, in the end, was a successful season.

Greytown 1 
Wellington United 1

To steal a rugby phrase, there was no quarter asked and no quarter given when second-placed Greytown Fresh Choice met Capital division four champions Wellington United Reserves at Soldiers Memorial Park on Saturday.

The game kicked off at a rapid pace, and that continued past the 90-minute mark into injury time as two well-drilled and skilful teams played out an epic which belied its status of being a game with nothing riding on the result.

While Greytown had their visitors pinned in their own half for much of the first half, Wellington were dangerous on the counterattack.

But the hosts and keeper Gary Hewson held firm and broke the deadlock just before the break when Jarrod MacDonald latched on to a beautiful through ball from midfield to slot his 20th goal of the season.

Wellington United were revitalised in the second spell and pressed hard.

Greytown kept them at bay until the 75th minute when Hewson thought he’d covered a long-range free kick, but unfortunately, it bobbled just far enough away from him for the visiting forward to follow up and equalise.

Both sides had chances in the remaining 15 or so minutes but couldn’t quite finish off.

Man-of-the-match Andy Traill finished off the season as he’d started with yet another standout performance, while alongside him, Ryan Butler was also strong in front of the back four.

MacDonald was his usual self, creating havoc among the visiting defence, with great wide support from forward’s Isaac Higgins, Kaspar Szikszai, and fullbacks Max Mitchell and veteran Antony Oliver.

Greytown’s 42 points would have won them the league by eight points in 2021 and while at this stage, only Wellington United will be promoted, hope remains that after Capital Football rejig the leagues with the introduction of two Wellington Phoenix Development teams, promotion to Capital three may yet happen.

Masterton Athletic 3
Island Bay United 0

Progressive Engineering Masterton Athletic were denied the chance to finish their Capital division four season in front of their loyal supporters after Island Bay defaulted their last round match.

Even more disappointing for Athletic is that the two teams had clashed in the penultimate round 10 days ago.

Wairarapa United 1
Victoria Uni Units 0

A goal to Annie Jones has kept Tumu Wairarapa United’s hopes of winning the Wellington women’s first division alive.

Jones found the back of the net early in the first half, but that was good as it got for United, who couldn’t breach the determined Victoria defence again.

The win lifted United to 17 points, one behind Petone Reserves.

Victory in their final game away to Lower Hutt City on Sunday, and a Petone loss or draw, would have United take the second-round championship and potential promotion to the Capital premier division.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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