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Mixed start for Wairarapa

Masterton Athletic’s Judah Little [in blue], challenges for the ball with two Wellington United players. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

FOOTBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Douglas Villa 1
Petone Reserves 3

DV Magpies Seule Soromon looks to take on a Petone defender.

Douglas Villa Magpies coach Malcolm Cox admits his side were a “little bit ring rusty” in Saturday’s opening round 1-3 loss to Petone Reserves in Capital division two at the Park Sports Ground.

For the Magpies, who won promotion from division three last season, the match was a big step up against a team relegated from division one.

“It was an eye-opener for the boys,” Cox said.

“We left the game with a lot of positivity even with the loss, and that was pleasing. It’s a work in progress. We’re in a rebuilding stage, and I think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”

The home side were competitive for much of the first half but fell behind by a goal after 21 minutes. Willy Syben went close to equalising only for his shot to cannon off the crossbar, and Petone doubled their lead from the ensuing counterattack.

Striker Josh McMenamin narrowed the gap to one goal after 56 minutes before Petone sealed the three points with their third goal in the final 10 minutes.

DV Magpies goal scorer Josh McMenamin takes on a Petone defender.

Cox was happy with their first effort in the competitive second division.

“They [Petone] are a nice football side and were young and fit. The first half, we stood up all right, and the boys, especially the new boys, did reasonably well.”

Andrew Cox, Jayden Fennell, player of the day Josh Maitland-Greig, and McMenamin stood out for Cox.

Magpies’ next opponents are familiar foes — the Petone Thirds, last season’s division three winners. Magpies were the only side to beat Petone last year and did so twice.
Cox predicts another tight game in what he believes will be a very competitive league, with three of the first-round games ending in draws.

Greytown start with a bang

Western Suburbs 1
Greytown 5

“Just what the coach asked for” was Greytown Fresh Choice coach Gary Hewson’s reaction after his side started the season with a bang, thumping Western Suburbs 5-1 at Endeavour Park in Whitby.

Greytown took the lead through midfield general and man-of-the-match Andy Traill, who finished off a nice move within three minutes.

Despite a host of chances, the visitors couldn’t add to that lead before halftime despite some fantastic attacking football, but the finishing improved after the break.

Greytown doubled their lead 10 minutes into the second stanza, but Western Suburbs came back into the game, cutting the lead to just one goal before goalkeeper James Frickleton denied the home side the equaliser with two outstanding close-range saves.

Some astute second-half substitutions returned the momentum to Greytown, with two goals from debutant Liam Gale taking the game away from the hosts.

Traill, Luke Rodger, Isaac Higgins, and Alex Penman were all outstanding on attack, and fullbacks Max Mitchell and Ryan Butler provided the side with great width.

Hewson was delighted with the result but knows there is plenty to work on at training this week after his side went to sleep for 10 minutes after taking a 2-0 lead.

Greytown played some attractive football on attack but will need to focus on some of their defensive work before heading to Newtown Park on Saturday to take on Wellington United Reserves, in what is shaping a decisive early-season battle between two of the competition favourites.

Tale of missed chances

Masterton Athletic 0
Wellington United 4

Failure to nail their opportunities came back to haunt Progressive Engineering Masterton Athletic in their 0-4 loss to Wellington United in the first round of Capital division four.

Athletic coach Stu McLean said the team had four good chances but missed the lot before Wellington scored a scrappy goal from a corner late in the half.

“We had them under the pump, and they were disorganised, and we were playing some good football,” McLean said.

“The second half, they came out a bit more organised. In fairness to the boys, we ran out of puff, and it was a hot day.

“They scored a good goal, then a lazy goal, and a lucky fourth goal when a player ducked to avoid the ball but it glanced off his head into the net.”

Athletic had two good chances to find the net in the second spell but failed to capitalise.

“We gave it a good crack and it’s a big step up for a lot of them. It’s a simple game, football, and if you don’t take your chances, you pay.

“We’re better than the score shows. I’m not unhappy, but everyone is going to look at the score and say, ‘They’re an easy team’.”

Athletic play Petone Stonecutters away in their second-round match on Saturday.

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