Westlake opened their season with a thrill a minute 5-5 draw against Mount Albert Grammar on Friday night under lights at QBE stadium. Westlake were fast out of the blocks and striker Matt Conroy gave his team a deserved lead with six minutes gone when he capitalized on a lovely through ball from View Rungpao to slide a calm finish past the MAGS keeper. Six minutes later Rungpao’s accurate free-kick found Lough who stooped to direct his header past the stranded MAGS keeper to double the home teams lead. Westlake were completely dominant and looked like racking up a big score only for two lapses in defensive concentration to cost them dearly.
MAGS capitalized on both of these to draw level in the 20th minute. Westlake were rocked but battled their way back in front in the 25th minute as MAGS failed to clear the ball and Conroy was first to react and score from an acute angle – 3-2 Westlake. Two minutes later the scores were level again as the Westlake defence failed to deal with a benign looking free kick and the ball rolled into the back of the net.
Undeterred Westlake rallied again and, when captain Greg Nimmo drove a free kick into the MAGS box, right back Keanen Bhagaloo steered his header into the bottom corner of the net to make it 4-3 to Westlake. Unfortunately Westlake couldn’t protect their lead until the break with MAGS equalizing in the dying seconds of the half. A frenetic first half had seen both teams attack with abandon but struggle to defend with composure
The second half saw a predictably more cautious approach from both teams adjusting their tactics and tightening their defending. Westlake got the break through goal they desperately sought in the 58th minute. Again Rungpao delivered an accurate free kick into the MAGS box and in the ensuing melee Lough claimed the final touch as the ball bobbled into the back of the net. Westlake had a goal disallowed for offside in the 32nd minute and Pirie saw his header graze the MAGS crossbar but the home team could not extend their lead and predictably MAGS snatched a late equalizer to salvage a point.