1st XI Football v Mount Albert Grammar, 28th May 2017


Starting XI:

  1. Williams, J. Woods, M. Wood, D. Hobson, C. Foulds, M. Lamont, R. Wynne, B. Kelly, J. Benbow, J. Olivier, L. Wilson

Substitutes:

  1. Scopas (unused), A. Al-Majmuei (on for L. Wilson 80th minute) J. Scott (unused), D. Mitten (on for R. Wynne 45th minute),

Half time score – 1-0

Full time score – 2-2

Scorers – J. Benbow, J. Olivier

The First XI travelled to Mount Albert Grammar School for one of their few Saturday fixtures of the season. The team were coming off the back of a competent cup win against One Tree Hill College and looked to take this form into the league. A backlog of sickness and injuries forced stand-in coach Tony Readings into a formation change as he looked to shuffle the pack to provide the team with more attacking options.

The game started with both teams trying to assert their influence, particularly in an overcrowded midfield. A glut of free kicks denied any real flow to the game and the stop-start nature of proceedings did not lend itself well to Westlake’s desire to dominate possession.

The first 20 minutes passed without incident or goal scoring opportunities, but this was more than made up for in the rest of the half. After Westlake had failed to deal with a high ball from the MAGS goalkeeper, it bounced into the box and put the MAGS forward through on goal. Westlake goalkeeper, Bradley Williams, mistimed his challenge and brought down the on rushing attacker. A penalty was rightfully awarded. A mixture of nerves and poor technique saw the MAGS player blaze the ball over the crossbar and allowed the Westlake contingent to breath a collective sigh of relief.

It looked as if the half would finish as a stalemate but it was MAGS who put the first goal on the board. A mistimed tackle led to a breakaway and ended up with a MAGS midfielder playing in their forward. Although he appeared to be offside by a significant margin, no whistle was heard or flag seen and he duly placed the ball into the bottom corner of the goal.

Westlake went back to the changing rooms a goal down but far from out of the game. The second half started with Westlake playing at a much higher tempo and intensity and it was the aforementioned traits that led to their first goal. Some neat interplay led to a ball squared to forward, Joe Benbow, who jinked his way into the box. His quick footwork deceived the MAGS defender into a foul and a penalty was duly awarded. Benbow, who probably had his best game for the school, dusted himself off and slotted home the penalty. Westlake were back level and very much looked the more likely to fashion a lead; a lead that did come their way around 10 minutes later. A surging run from captain Bronson Kelly put the ball at the feet of Jordan Olivier. His quick feet and even quicker thinking ensured he expertly popped the ball past the out-coming goalkeeper and Westlake now had their noses in front.

A good chance fell to the feet of Daniel Mitten that would have put the game to bed, but he wasn’t able to provide the decisive touch to send the ball goal-bound. The match was now a see-saw affair as Westlake looked for the killer goal and MAGS pushed to equalise.

A number of chances, last ditch clearances and goal mouth scrambles at both ends ensued, but it was MAGS who were able to put one away with five minutes left to play. Westlake pushed hard to score again, but time was not on their side and they had to settle for a share of the spoils.

As the final whistle blew, the Westlake team were left to rue some missed chances