Match Day 11

 Western Suburbs 6 Wairarapa United 1

WS: Elijah Just 24, Callum McCowatt 42, Matt Garbett 45, Mohamed Awad 55, Owen Parker-Price 68 (pen), Dom Wooldridge 81

WU: Hamish Watson


Reporter: Tony Bissell


Wests Formation (4-3-3) WU Formation (4-4-2)

Andrew Withers

Alex Clayton           Mikey Faber       Nando Pijnaker         Sean Bright

Elijah Just              Dom Wooldridge         Owen Parker-Price

Matt Garbett            Mohamed Awad        Callum McCowatt

Wests Subs:

Nathaniel Hailemariam for Matt Garbett (58 mins) – Straight swap

Ihaia Delaney for Callum McCowatt (72 mins) – Straight swap

Jayden Rodwell for Elijah Just (72 mins) – Straight swap


Perfect weather, an outstanding pitch, and a superlative team display. The 200 or so supporters that turned up at Endeavour were treated to highly skilful and entertaining performance by Wests as they ruthlessly accounted for a Wairarapa side laden with National League players.

Wests were still without the injured Harry Edge and drafted in Sean Bright at left back for the suspended Dalton Wilkins.

Like most of Wests’ opponents, Wairarapa’s tactics involved sitting deep and relying on long balls to their forward duo of Paul Ifill and Hamish Watson, each of whom has the strength and experience to hurt any team that drops its guard. Both strikers were to the fore in the early exchanges as Wairarapa regularly made inroads down their right flank. Hamish Watson blasted a decent chance over the bar after a neat pass from Ifill, and moments later Daniel Allan headed just wide from a right-wing corner. Paul Ifill then had the best opportunity of the opening period but was thwarted by Andrew Withers when one-on-one with the Wests’ keeper.

Declan Edge responded to the early Wairarapa pressure by making a subtle but very effective tactical change, with Dom Wooldridge switching positions with Sean Bright. This negated Wairarapa’s right wing threat and also allowed Sean Bright to excel in his more favoured number 6 role.

Wests started to take a stranglehold on the game, harrying Wairarapa out of possession and regularly forcing turnovers in dangerous positions. This high-press, hounding tactic led to the opening goal, with Mikey Faber making a fine interception and feeding Elijah Just who then played a sharp one-two with Mohamed Awad before lobbing the stranded keeper.

Further chances to Mohamed Awad and Callum McCowatt went begging, before Wests extended their lead with a length-of-the-field team goal. Andrew Withers gathered a Wairarapa cross and immediately distributed to Owen Parker-Price. He advanced the ball to Elijah Just who surged forward drawing a defender before passing to Callum McCowatt. Callum cut in from the right to the corner of the 18-yard box before unleashing a perfect left foot curler into the far top corner.

The old football cliché that you are at your most vulnerable just after you have scored then struck against Wests, as almost straight from the kick-off, Hamish Watson latched onto a long ball from Cameron Lindsay and clinically dispatched it past Andrew Withers. It appeared that this might give Wairarapa some momentum going into the break, but Wests responded with another excellent team goal. This time, Mikey Faber and Elijah Just were involved in the set-up, releasing Alex Clayton down the right wing. His far post cross was expertly controlled by Mohamed Awad who then very unselfishly set up Matt Garbett for a slotted finish.

Into the second half, Wairarapa started to commit more players forward, but rarely troubled the solid centre-defence partnership of Mikey Faber and Nando Pijnaker, with Sean Bright ably assisting from his pivot role. Instead, Wairarapa were now prone to fast and incisive breaks with Owen Parker-Price going close, followed by an unlucky attempt from Callum McCowatt which hit both bar and post.

A fourth goal duly arrived with Alex Clayton and Matt Garbett combining with Callum McCowatt who set up Mohamed Awad for a polished finish. Callum McCowatt was then also involved in the fifth goal, flicking a header into the path of Nathaniel Hailemariam who was upended as he rounded the keeper, leaving Owen Parker-Price to drill home the resultant penalty.

Andrew Withers had to be alert to deny Callan Elliot, but this was a rare Wairarapa attack and Wests were virtually encamped in the Wairarapa half for the remainder of the game. Dom Wooldridge became the sixth different scorer for Wests, slotting in at the far post after neat play from Mohamed Awad. Late on, Nathanial Hailemariam and Ihaia Delaney both had chances to become the seventh scorer, with the latter particularly unfortunate to see his effort cleared off the line.

In summary, a comprehensive and deserved 6-1 victory for Wests, although the Wairarapa coaching team will be disappointed at how easily their team folded in the second half.

Player of the Day:

3 points – Whole team – It would be inappropriate to single out players after such an outstanding team performance