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Villa Magpies fall to shock loss

Caleb Anstis, right, was a late withdrawal for Magpies with a back strain. PHOTO/FILE


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Miramar Rangers1
Douglas Villa Magpies 0

Miramar Rangers scored a goal midway through the first half which was enough to hand Douglas Villa Magpies their third loss in Capital division three.

The game was also the first in the league in which Magpies have failed to score, and coach Malcolm Cox said it was just one of those days where they missed chances and whatever could go wrong went wrong in the away game.

“We had a bad start when [midfielder] Caleb Anstis tweaked a muscle in his back in the warmup, so he was out and we had to reshuffle. Unfortunately, there were a couple of players who had a really off day and did nothing,” he said.

“We gave away possession, which is the same old story we’ve been having trouble with early on, and we didn’t value the ball as much as we should. Instead of making a short pass, we were knocking 20m passes, which became 50-50 balls.”

Magpies’ chances against their combative opponents weren’t helped when prolific striker Josh McMenamin was sent off for retaliation for what Cox described as the worst thing, he had seen on a football field.

“He was taken out, and he landed on the guy. It was a really ugly tackle, but you can’t retaliate, and that’s what he did. He sort of kicked out and then the other guy with both feet just dived into Minnie while he was lying on the ground with his sprigs full on.”

Cox said it was a two-footed tackle that deserved a red card, but McMenamin reacted, and the referee saw it as retaliation.

The sending-off was McMenamin’s second of the season and will confine him to the sidelines for at least the next three weeks.

Magpies remain second on 23 points and on target for promotion to the second division, but the gap has closed to one point to third-placed Victoria University Accies. The in-form Naenae and Waterside-Karori are four points behind.

Magpies’ season could be defined over the next three weeks, starting with the struggling Upper Hutt City at home on Saturday, followed by Victoria away, and Naenae at home.

Closing the gap

Greytown 4
Victoria University Raiders 1

Greytown Fresh Choice closed the gap on the top three in Capital Division Four, with a fine come-from-behind victory over Victoria University Raiders at Soldiers Memorial Park.

A first-half howler by Greytown gifted the visitors the lead before Jarrod MacDonald scored a superb solo goal to bring the hosts level before the break.

Going into halftime behind would have been a huge injustice to the home side, who had full control of the game, and the 1-1 score gave Greytown the momentum they needed going into the second half.

After soaking up some early pressure from the visitors, Daniel Frischknecht gave the home team a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, managing to get the ball over the line after it hit both posts before ricocheting in.

Goals from MacDonald – his 12th in six games – and a first-ever first-team goal for Alex Penman completed the scoring for the hosts.

Centre back Jack Braybrook was man-of-the-match after an outstanding display alongside young William Newton, who improves with every game he plays.

After a stuttering start to the season in which Greytown lost their opening five games, they are now just five points off second in the league with six games remaining.

Greytown can mathematically achieve a top-two finish and promotion to the third division but probably need results from other games to go their way.

Greytown face their longest away trip of the season on Saturday against Kapiti Coast United Reserves at Raumati.

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