Match Day 7 review

Stop Out SC 0 – Western Suburbs 0

 

Reporter: Tony Bissell

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

Isaac Tetteh

Alex Clayton                Erik Panzer Nando Pijnaker               Dalton Wilkins

Josh Rogerson                   Harry Edge Owen Parker-Price

Elijah Just        Mohamed Awad Xavier Green

Wests Subs:

Matt Garbett for Xavier Green (70 mins) – Straight swap

Sean Bright for Alex Clayton (76 mins) – Straight swap

 

Adverse (windy) weather and an uneven, fast pitch at Hutt Park meant conditions were not conducive to good football. However, Stop Out and Wests both adapted to the circumstances and provided a highly entertaining spectacle despite the lack of any goals.

Declan Edge welcomed back Owen Parker-Price and Dalton Wilkins after their National League and Oceania Champions League experiences with Auckland City. He is also likely to have Callum McCowatt available for next week’s Chatham Cup game at Tawa.

Stop Out matched Wests’ 4-3-3 formation but applied a much more direct style of play, hoping to benefit from the strength of Micky Malivuk and Jarram Tuck, and the explosive speed of Luis Corrales. They found the Wests’ centre back pairing of Erik Panzer and Nando Pijnaker in imperious form however, effectively snuffing out all of Stop Out’s open play attacks.

Stop Out’s best opportunities came from dead-ball situations where they were quick to throw forward their tall-timber, especially the giant Kade Shrijvers. Wests defended these situations extremely well though, with Harry Edge and Josh Rogerson helping the defence with firm clearing headers.

It took Wests about 30 minutes to master the tricky weather and pitch conditions, but they then enjoyed the lion’s share of possession for the reminder of the game. Wests had several sequences of keep-ball late in the first half as they patiently sought a defence-splitting ball. Half-chances started to come Wests’ way, but Dalton Wilkins and Josh Rogerson could not quite convert.

Wests’ best two chances occurred just before half-time. First, Elijah Just played an excellent one-two with Xavier Green, only to be denied by the out-rushing James McPeake. Almost immediately, Xavier Green beat the offside trap to race through on goal, but his effort was also smothered by James McPeake.

In the second half, Stop Out were playing into the strong wind and found their Route One football increasingly ineffective. Isaac Tetteh had very little to do in the Wests’ goal, but still had a fine game with his distribution from the back. He displayed a wide range of passing including firm floor passes into his midfielders and attackers, together with the occasional long diagonal to the marauding full-backs, Alex Clayton and Dalton Wilkins.

The two full-backs regularly got into advanced positions in the second half but could not deliver the killer ball. Dalton Wilkins did manage to find Josh Rogerson during one forward sortie only for his firm shot to again be turned away by James McPeake.

Matt Garbett was introduced for the last 20 minutes, and a tactical change saw Dalton Wilkins move upfront with Elijah Just dropping into the No.5 slot. Sean Bright also came on for a neat 15-minute cameo, and he almost had an immediate effect when combining with Matt Garbett and Josh Rogerson to set up Mohamed Awad, but his attempt was blocked.

As the clock ran down, Stop Out became progressively penned back. Wests remained patient as they pried for good openings but found it difficult to unlock the resolute Stop Out defence. Further half-chances fell to Josh Rogerson, Mohamed Awad and Owen Parker-Price, but unfortunately the scoresheet remained blank.

In summary, although some so-called sports enthusiasts may find this difficult to understand, this was an excellent goalless draw. Like last season, Wests appear to have established a solid defence (only one goal, a penalty, conceded in the last three games) and it is surely only a matter of time before the attack-minded players re-discover their scoring boots.

Player of the Day:

3 points – Nando Pijnaker – Another dominant performance on the floor and in the air

2 points – Erik Panzer – Also immense at the back, forming a great partnership with Nando

1 point – Harry Edge – Excellent No.6 performance providing crucial shield to the defence and conduit to attacks