Wests juniors show good form
Western Suburbs showed off their junior football talent when finishing runners-up at the recent under-19 national tournament in Napier.
Wests were in the main draw for the group stages. Games were 25 minutes each way.
The first-day matches on October 25 went as planned, with wins over Cashmere Technical (4-0), Fencibles (2-1) and Hibiscus Coast (4-0).
On Sunday, Wests overcame the other unbeaten side in their group, Western Springs, thanks to a goal from Tinashe Marowa.
The final game against Petone ended 0- 0, but Wests were assured of finishing top regardless of the result.
In the quarter- final, against Wellington United, Patrick O’Keefe showed his class by scoring all three goals.
Wests were drawn against Western Springs in their semifinal. Tthe match finished 1-1, but Wests’ penalty-takers held their nerve and the team went through 4-2 in the shootout.
In the final, against Birkenhead, Wests raced out to a 2-0 lead, but were pegged back.
The Porirua club led 3-2 with just minutes remaining but conceded very late and then again in extra time to go down 4-3.
Coach Lloyd O’Keefe – who also coaches the club’s Central League side – said a style of play embraced by the club and Ole Football Academy was bearing fruit.
‘‘We have a clear identity based on keeping the ball and moving it quickly, with everyone understanding their roles,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s highly entertaining and we work proactively to get the ball back. The players really enjoy that style and it’s entertaining for those watching.’’
O’Keefe said all 18 players in the squad were a credit to Wests over the weekend, on and off the pitch. After eight games in three days there were tired bodies and legs, he said.
Many of the teams at the tournament had players aged 18 and 19, whereas Wests will have only two not available to play in 2015. Six of the Wests squad are only 16.
Ruling the roost: Joash Sutherland in action during Wests’ dominant performance against Cashmere Technical.
Threat: Patrick O’Keefe was a key goal-scoring menace for Wests at the Napier tournament.