Match Day 2 review

Wairarapa United 1 – Western Suburbs 1

WU: Seule Soromon 12

WS: Elijah Just 33




Reporter: Tony Bissell


Wests Formation (4-3-3) WU Formation (3-4-1-2)

Isaac Tetteh

Alex Clayton, Erik Panzer, Nando Pijnaker, Robbie Sabo

 Elijah Just, Harry Edge, Josh Rogerson

Matt Garbett, Mohamed Awad, Xavier Green 

Wests Subs:

Ryan Feutz for Matt Garbett (73 mins) – Straight swap

Ben Sippola for Robbie Sabo (86mins) – Straight swap

Wests’ first road trip of the season took them to the Memorial Ground in Masterton for a tricky game against Wairarapa United. Declan Edge was forced into one change due to Dom Wooldridge’s ankle injury, so Matt Garbett was given a start upfront, with the versatile Elijah Just switching to midfield. WU employed a 3-4-1-2 formation, with the evergreen Paul Ifill given the “No.10” role behind an energetic front two of Seule Soromon and Mark Hemi.

Wests’ trademark high press almost caught WU cold in the very first minute, but Xavier Green saw his shot blocked and the danger cleared. The early stages were then quite cagey, with Wests dominating possession and WU happy to sit deep and stifle play in their final third. Matt Garbett was particularly lively early on, but twice upended by crude tackles from WU defenders, who were lucky not to see yellow.

There were a few moments of sloppiness from Wests in their own half though.  From the first, Paul Ifill picked up a loose ball and unleashed a fierce shot which only just cleared the bar. Wests did not survive the next defensive give-away however, as Seule Soromon curled a 25-yarder into the corner, giving Isaac Tetteh no chance.

Wests responded by upping their tempo, and while applying good patience and waiting for the right opportunities, they struggled to unlock the well-organised WU defence. When the equaliser arrived, it was a great demonstration of teamwork and high pressing. First, a posse of Wests’ players hassled a WU defender, winning the ball near the 18-yard box, and then Matt Garbett delivered a neat pass to Elijah Just who shimmied past his marker before drilling home his shot.

Wests were well on top for the remainder of the first half, with the midfield three of Harry Edge, Josh Rogerson and Elijah Just controlling possession and frequently combining with the marauding full-backs, Alex Clayton and Robbie Sabo.  There were several excellent passing movements culminating in chances for Mohamed Awad and Josh Rogerson, but neither could quite convert.

Declan Edge would have been the happier manager at half-time, and he would have been encouraged by the early stages of the second half too, with Harry Edge and Matt Garbett twice combining to create good chances. After a surging run from Harry Edge, Matt Garbett looked to be in on goal, but was barged over in the box – No penalty was the verdict from the referee though. Minutes later, Harry Edge contested a corner and the ball dropped to Matt Garbett, but his hooked shot was cleared off the line.

WU closest effort of the second half was actually from a Wests player, as Erik Panzer deflected a dangeous cross goal-wards, but Isaac Tetteh was alert to tip over. As the game wore on, both teams pushed for a winner, with Wests having the two best chances, each falling to Elijah Just. The first chance was all of his own making, as he made a great interception and accelerated into the WU box, only to be clipped by a WU defender – Again, no penalty was the verdict from the referee. Almost immediately, Xavier Green raced onto a long ball out of the Wests’ defence before unselfishly squaring to Elijah Just, but his shot was brilliantly tipped onto the post.

So, Wests had to settle for another draw, and it could have been worse, but for a crucial header by Erik Panzer from under his own bar in added time.

Player of the Day:

3 points – Elijah Just – Well-taken goal, and unlucky not to add to his tally. Part of a dominant midfield-three

2 points – Alex Clayton – Excellent wing-back play, solid defending and non-stop energy going forward

1 point – Erik Panzer – Good distribution from the back, and a couple of critical interventions late in the game