Tawa retain honour in defeat
Losing the big derby is never easy but Daniel Wood still cut a satisfied figure on Saturday.
The Tawa football coach was philosophical about his side’s 3-1 Central League loss to Western Suburbs at Endeavour Park. It was a dead rubber for both teams, with Tawa safely above relegation and Wests in third place on the table.
Wests started brightly and were 2-0 up after 15 minutes through goals to Sean Morris and Michael Fraser. They dominated possession and looked dangerous going forward.
The sending off of Tawa striker Jone Salauneune just before the break – a red card for a ‘‘tackle’’ in which he never made contact with an opposing player – should have signalled game over, but Wood said it spurred his players.
‘‘We were the better team in the second half, even a man down. When Mike [Ramaekers] scored in the 78th minute, it gave us real life.
‘‘They [Wests] panicked and we lifted a notch, thinking we might pinch a draw.’’
Mohammed Awad scored in injury time to seal the three points for the home side, but only after Tawa’s Karl Romijn had forced an incredible, finger- tip save from the Wests goalkeeper.
Wood said Wests were one of the best sides technically in the league, but that his team pushed them all the way over 90 minutes, creating plenty of chances of their own.
‘‘Wests finished well and that was the difference,’’ Wood said. ‘‘But you can’t fault our guys for effort and commitment.
‘‘I’m really proud of the way we played.’’
Tawa’s two wins and a draw in the past month gave Wood plenty of satisfaction.
‘‘We’re realistic – our goal at the start of the season was to stay in the league. The first half of the season we had a lack of firepower up front and it showed.
‘‘Getting Karl, Todd Painter, Richard Bott and Jone into the side was huge and we just grew in confidence in a league that’s getting stronger.
‘‘It was great to go into the Wests game and just relax and enjoy the derby.’’
Wood said most of the squad would be returning in 2014 and their youthful outlook would hold them in good stead.
They enjoyed each other’s company, trained hard and hoped to remain a part of the Central League for good, he said.
Saturday’s result placed Wests a point behind Olympic but four adrift of league leaders Miramar.
Wests play Lower Hutt at Bell Park on Saturday to wrap up their season.
In the last round of Kapi Mana premier netball action, Norths 1 pipped Kahurangi 1 30-29, KBJ 1 overcame Plimmerton Tuohy 34-15 and Aotea Red went down 36-18 to Rockz 1.
The semi-finals will be played on Saturday.
Chasing hard: Tawa’s Karl Romijn, left, and Wests’ Tom Biss worked their socks off in midfield.