Com­pelling derby clash ends in a Tawa win

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

Tawa AFC and Western Sub­urbs wrapped up their Cen­tral League football sea­son with the two bat­tling out an en­ter­tain­ing derby on Satur­day.

The 3-1 win for Tawa at En­deav­our Park en­sured they con­clude the sea­son a cred­itable seventh, on 21 points, their high­est fin­ish in three years at the top level.

Wests, mean­while, com­pleted a tough cam­paign one spot be­low Tawa. The fi­nal match was com­pelling for the neu­tral ob­server.

Jamie Sharp opened the scor­ing from a cor­ner early on for Tawa, be­fore ex­cel­lent Wests striker Kieran Cripps con­verted a penalty early in the sec­ond half.

Late goals from Richard Bott and Mike Ra­maek­ers gave Tawa the de­served win.

Coach Maarten Romijn says it re­flected their great run of form lately, with four wins on the trot.

‘‘ Com­ing into the game the fo­cus was to fin­ish as high [in the ta­ble] as pos­si­ble. We didn’t start well, but we set­tled into a good rhythm and de­fended well.

‘‘You get on a roll like we have and the con­fi­dence grows. The last few weeks have been great for the team.’’

With a num­ber of front­line play­ers over­seas this year, it was a strug­gle at times to get good re­sults and con­fi­dence in the squad, Romijn says.

‘‘ We’ve got the nu­cleus back next year and I hope we can do even bet­ter. It was en­joy­able to fin­ish the way we did.’’

Wests’ coach Lloyd O’Keefe, who had a num­ber of young­sters play­ing on Satur­day, says they were beaten by an ‘‘older, wiser’’ team on the day. They flirted with rel­e­ga­tion at times, but he is happy the jour­ney will make the first team stronger.

De­tach­ing from Ole Football Academy has had its pos­i­tives and neg­a­tives, O’Keefe says, but the base is there to progress.

‘‘My pri­mary fo­cus [in the off­sea­son] will be im­prov­ing the squad. I’m con­fi­dent we can get back up that ta­ble and into the top four in the next two sea­sons. This year we dropped stupid points late in games. We just lacked that ex­pe­ri­ence to close them out, but the guys have worked very hard.’’

The fact Wests’ sec­ond side was rel­e­gated from Cap­i­tal 1 is a blow, he ad­mits, but there are promis­ing young­sters com­ing through.

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