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Villa grab late point


A sizzling six goals by former Napier City Rovers favourite Josh Stevenson was the highlight for a rampant Greyfriar Motel Greytown in the opening match of their Capital Division Three campaign.

A five-goal first-half blitz with a further three in the second half on Saturday at Soldiers Memorial Park sent visitors Naenae back over the Remutaka Hill with their tails between their legs.

In coach Phil Keinzley’s absence, Stevenson, who is the team’s assistant coach, put all the responsibility on his shoulders, scoring a hat-trick in each half while fellow debutant Gareth Gwyther scored a first-half brace to get the rout underway.

However, had it not been for two crucial saves by veteran goalkeeper Gary Hewson, the hosts could have found themselves behind in the first half until Gwyther scored on a quick counterattack after Naenae had been denied what looked like a good penalty shout.

Following Gwyther’s first goal, Stevenson took over the scoring action with two quick goals to open an almost unassailable lead after only 15 minutes, before the former Masterton Athletic forward snagged his second with Stevenson completing a first-half treble just before the break.

Naenae came out all guns blazing after the restart, and again Hewson was called on to keep the scoresheet clean before Stevenson got back into goal-scoring action with a second-half hat-trick to round out the 8-0 scoreline.

As expected from such a scoreline, it was a complete team performance, with Stevenson picking up the man of the match honours.

Sixteen-year-old left fullback Liam Andrew played out of his skin to outperform his rivals on a consistent basis, and goalkeeper Hewson defied the age gods to keep a clean sheet for the home side.

Although perennial top goalscorer Jarrod MacDonald missed out on the scoring action, he more than made up for it with his general play picking up three assists, while at the back, Max Mitchell and Bill Reynolds provided a solid wall with the help of defensive midfielders Andy Traill, Nik Finlay and Ryan Butler.

Greytown are at home again in round two on Saturday when Victoria University Reserves head across the hill. LOWER HUTT CITY 2 DOUGLAS VILLA 2

Tumu Douglas Villa coach Mark Taylor was reasonably happy to come away with a point against his old club Lower Hutt City in the opening round of Capital Division Two.

“In parts, there was some really good stuff, but there’s other stuff we need to work on,” Taylor said.

“First up, I had an idea it would be pretty scruffy and messy and that, so it was, and we had players playing their first game, but I’m looking at the quality of their team, and if we’d been a little bit smarter, then the outcome could have been different.”

Villa made the brighter start on the Fraser Park artificial turf, but it was the home side who struck first, scoring against the run of play in the opening 10 minutes.

Captain Chris Cox equalised for Villa about 15 minutes later with a superbly struck shot from 20-25m, which went through a group of players and beat the unsighted goalkeeper at the far post. The visitors had the better of much of the first half but couldn’t capitalise on their chances.

Lower Hutt started the second half the better, and their pressure paid off when they took the lead midway through the stanza.

It took a brilliant finish from Tremaine Rimene-Albrett with about 10 minutes to play to secure a valuable away point, which Taylor felt was a fair result.

“We knocked the ball around really well and kept possession well at times and created some really good stuff. By and large, we caused them some real problems with the possession that we had, but it was the final pass and things like that that let us down,” he said.

“They came back in the second half and put us under a bit of pressure, and we just needed to play for 90 minutes, but we didn’t do that.

“We scored two really good goals, but we let in a couple of sloppy goals just from getting caught in possession in bad areas.

“We’re encouraging players to play, but we got caught out a couple of times, and they scored from it.

“So it’s just one of those things with our transition.”

Taylor added that other factors, such as conditioning, and the players adapting to a different style of play, also contributed to the inconsistent effort.

“We’ve got a whole of new players together, and we’re asking them to play a different way they haven’t played before, so we’re going to get things wrong, and we have to be patient with that and work hard, and the players have entered into that so we have everything to play for, and there are some really good signs.”

Taylor singled out Rathkeale student Liam Gale, who was named man of the match on debut, making several surging attacking runs from midfield as one player to impress.

Cox and Shea Fowler were solid at the back, striker Josh McMenamin was a constant threat to the defence with his pace, Kurtis Paine was strong in the midfield, and Rimene-Albrett was good going forward, especially late in the game.

Douglas Villa’s next fixture is away to Waterside-Karori in Wellington on Saturday.

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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