Match Day 16

 Western Suburbs 2 – Stop Out 1

WS: Nando Pijnaker 86, Dom Wooldridge 90+1

SO: Bryan Heredia 80

 

Reporter: Tony Bissell

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Wests Formation (4-3-3) SO Formation (3-4-3)

Andrew Withers

Alex Clayton, Mikey Faber, Nando Pijnaker, Dalton Wilkins

 Dom Wooldridge, Harry Edge, Callum McCowatt

Elijah Just, Noah Billingsley, Mohamed Awad

Wests Subs:

Matt Garbett for Noah Billingsley (64 mins) – Mohamed Awad to 9

Nathaniel Hailemariam for Mohamed Awad (78 mins) – Callum McCowatt to 9

Marko Stamenic for Dom Wooldridge (90+2 mins) – Straight swap

Another bumper crowd at Endeavour Park were treated to an entertaining clash between Wests and Stop Out. In stark contrast to the previous week’s 8-2 mauling of Miramar, Wests faced a distinctly different challenge in the shape of a disciplined and well-organised Stop Out outfit, who set out their stall with a compact, non-pressing 3-4-3 game-plan.

Owen Parker-Price’s ankle injury meant there was just one change for Wests with Noah Billingsley returning upfront and Callum McCowatt slotting in at 8.

The early stages saw plenty of unpressured possession for Wests in defensive positions as they probed for openings. Chances were at a premium however as Stop Out well-drilled tactics consistently crowded Wests out in the final third. Dalton Wilkins and Mohamed Awad both stung the palms of Stop Out keeper Andrew McPeake, but Wests were generally restricted to shots from distance. At the other end, Luis Corrales wasted the best chance of the half when he dragged his effort wide with just Andrew Withers to beat.

Declan Edge tweaked his formation slightly, swapping around his 8s and his 7 & 11, in an attempt to unlock the Stop Out rear-guard. This almost paid off as Dom Wooldridge released Dalton Wilkins on a mazy run down the left and his pull back beat McPeake but was hacked clear by a covering defender. The 0-0 half-time score-line was a fair reflection of an intriguing encounter between the two teams with the best defensive records in the league.

Wests started the second half in the ascendancy, but once again Stop Out’s disciplined approach limited Wests to half-chances for Callum McCowatt and Dalton Wilkins. Stop Out were sitting even deeper now but still represented a serious threat on the break through Jerram Tuck and Luis Corrales. A few opportunities came Stop Out’s way but the excellent centre-back partnership of Mikey Faber and Nando Pijnaker managed to usher Stop Out’s attackers into wider positions, enabling Andrew Withers to safely handle any attempts on goal.

Wests’ best move of the half led to Dom Wooldridge setting Alex Clayton free down the right. His deep cross was expertly controlled by Matt Garbett, but McPeake was alert to smoother his shot. It increasingly looked like Wests would have to settle for a draw when, with 10 minutes to play, Stop Out took a shock lead. Nando Pijnaker was off the field receiving attention and Stop Out took advantage of their spare man with Jerram Tuck crossing from the right for Brayan Heredia to apply the final touch.

Wests upped the tempo immediately with Dom Wooldridge close to an equalizer with a header from an Elijah Just free kick. Nati Hailemariam and Callum McCowatt then combined nicely to win a corner and the delivery from Elijah Just was headed home by Nando Pijnaker, ironically the player who had been off the field when Stop Out scored.

Spurred by this, Wests went in search of a winner and their tenacity was rewarded in injury time as Dom Wooldridge calmly chested down a diagonal cross from Elijah Just before slotting past McPeake. In the seven minutes of added time, Wests had to survive an almighty goalmouth scramble with several players putting their bodies on the line. Right at the death, Callum McCowatt almost extended the lead when his 35-yard free-kick arrowed towards the top corner but was tipped over by McPeake.

Stop Out will be disappointed that their defensive organisation finally faltered in the last 10 minutes, but this was another performance of resilience and perseverance from Wests which just about merited the win.

Player of the Day:

3 points – Dom Wooldridge – Excellent late goal capping a fine all-round display

2 points – Nando Pijnaker – Kept Stop Out’s dangerous forwards quiet and took his goal well

1 point – Dalton Wilkins – Constant threat down the left looking most likely to unlock Stop Out’s