Western Suburbs made an emphatic claim for the Central League crown with a 5-1 defeat of second-placed Wairarapa United. Elijah Just put Wests ahead, before a hat-trick to Callum McCowatt and a penalty to Owen Parker-Price put a hole below the waterline of Wairarapa’s title challenge. A sole Paul Ifill classic was all that Wairarapa’s attack, the most lethal in the league, could muster.
Wests were just too good in the end for Wairarapa, who had some lengthy periods with the ball but, Ifill’s solo effort aside, couldn’t put much work the way of Andrew Withers in the Wests goal.
After some near misses at each end, Elijah Just opened the scoring for Wests finishing a nice piece of short passing play. Ifill equalised with a trademark cut in to his right foot, jinking inside two Wests defenders before curling it past Withers into the bottom corner.
One-all at half time, Wairarapa came out much stronger in the second half. They spent a full quarter hour camped in Wests defensive third but couldn’t fashion a decent chance or force Withers into a save.
Wests worked their way back into the game and as the half wore on looked more and more dangerous. Eventually it was a penalty which gave them their goal, although it had been coming. Parker-Price making no mistake, rifling the spot kick into the bottom left corner.
The floodgates opened for Wests from there. McCowatt scored the next three on the trot; one of them a delightful curling effort into the top corner. Wairarapa have been guilty of a porous defence at times this season and their enthusiasm waned after the penalty, allowing Wests to close the game out with time to go.
Wests now go four points clear at the top of the table.
Men’s Central League
Western Suburbs 5 (Elijah Just, Owen Parker-Price (pen.), Callum McCowatt x 3) Wairarapa United 1
Stop Out 2 Lower Hutt City 1
Wellington Olympic 1 Wellington United 2
Napier City Rovers 3 Palmerston North Marist 0
Miramar Rangers 0 Team Taranaki 6
AT A GLANCE
Central League standings after 11 rounds: Western Suburbs 29 points, Wairarapa United 25, Stop Out 23, Wellington United 20, Napier City Rovers 17, Miramar Rangers 14, Team Taranaki 14, Wellington Olympic 10, PN Marist 9, Lower Hutt City 8.
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