Wests turn in gutsy effort against Miramar Rangers
Conceding a penalty in the opening minutes to Miramar Rangers would normally mean a football team was in for a hiding, but not Western Suburbs.
The young side had five players aged 17 or under when they met second-placed Rangers at Endeavour Park in round 7 of the Central League on Saturday.
Both sides made light of the blustery winds and gloomy weather and produced some sparkling play.
Wests’ goal keeper Mitchell Stewart-Hill gave away the early spot kick, which was converted, but the home side were undaunted.
They were rewarded in the 15th minute when Aaron Jones tapped in from close range.
Miramar landed a killer blow just before halftime with a welltaken goal.
Individual brilliance from Henry Fa’arodo gave Rangers a 3-1 lead just after the turnaround. He beat two defenders and curled the ball into the top corner.
Wests refused to lie down and gave themselves chances to draw level in a frantic last quarter. They hit the crossbar and Harry Edge blasted a penalty over the bar.
Wests’ coach Lloyd O’Keefe said his charges believed they could win and the score flattered Rangers.
‘‘It was a terrific game and we were disappointed not to get anything out of it because we had so much possession and great chances. Our boys really rattled a top side like Miramar,’’ he said.
‘‘The difference was Fa’arodo. He’s an incredible player.’’
The result makes for a tasty rematch on Queen’s Birthday, when the two sides battle in the second round of the Chatham Cup at David Farrington Park.
But Wests had to first focus on bottom side Upper Hutt City in the league this Saturday, O’Keefe said.
‘‘We haven’t been doing that badly, despite what the table [seventh] says. But it’s time to pick things up. We have the talent and the belief to be better than any team in the league.’’
Tawa, meanwhile, remain second bottom – albeit five points ahead of Upper Hutt – after their 5-0 loss to league leaders Olympic.
Gale-force winds greeted the teams at Wakefield Park on Saturday for the evening kick off.
Olympic spurned a host of early chances and would not have been happy to get to halftime at 0-0.
A crucial moment came on the hour mark when Tawa’s Jamie Sharp was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle, then the speedy Andrew Abba came on as a substitute for Olympic.
Abba set up a goal then grabbed two himself, in two minutes, as Olympic put the foot down.
In premier club rugby league, Porirua Vikings ran riot over Upper Hutt at Porirua Park on Friday night.
The 60-22 score showed what the Vikings are capable of on their best days. The win keeps them fourth.
On Saturday, St George Dragons drew 24-all with Petone and remain in sixth.
In Kapi Mana premier netball, KBJ 1 continue to set the pace, thrashing Paremata-Plimmerton 77-15 on Saturday.
They were joined at the top of the table by Norths 1, who accounted for Tawa Red 34-23.
Rockz 1 beat Aotea Red 37-34 and Kahurangi pipped KBJ 2 47-42.
Suburbs’ Mohammed Awad, left, does his best to win the ball in a fastpaced match against Miramar
Back in the game: Western Suburbs’ Sean Morris, left, plays his first match in Wellington of the 2014 season. He has just returned from Auckland City from their O-League campaign.