Western Suburbs 7 Petone 0
Xavier Green 15
Callum McCowatt 21
Owen Parker-Price 28 (pen), 47
Ihaia Delaney 74
Noah Billingsley 88
Dominic Wooldridge 90+3
Wests Formation (4-3-3) Petone Formation (4-3-2-1)
Alex Clayton, Michael Faber, Kyle Adams, Dalton Wilkins
Dominic Wooldridge, Harry Edge, Owen Parker-Price
Callum McCowatt, Elijah Just, Xavier Green
Ihaia Delaney for Elijah Just (63 mins) – Straight swap
Noah Billingsley for Xavier Green (63 mins) – Straight swap
Daniel Harford-Silas for Callum McCowatt – Left back with Dalton Wilkins moved to more advanced position
The number 1 sporting event in NZ of the day took place on the excellent all-weather pitch at Petone Memorial, as round 3 of the Chatham Cup paired Capital Premier leaders Petone against Central League leaders Wests. For the third week running, Declan Edge named an unchanged side, and for the third week running, spectators were treated to an outstanding team performance and an emphatic victory.
Right from the start, Wests oozed confidence, displaying some superb one-touch passing, lightning one-twos, and the usual solidity at the back. Dominic Wooldridge was in particularly good form with excellent first-touch control, and was a regular outlet for the under-worked Andrew Winters.
The only surprise was that it took 15 minutes for Wests to make the break through, but when the goal arrived, it involved the trademark Wests teamwork, with nice contributions from Owen Parker-Price and Calum McCowatt, before Elijah Just’s pinpoint cross was headed firmly home by Xavier Green.
The lead was soon doubled – There was a neat interchange of passing between Owen Parker-Price and Dalton Wilkins, followed by an injection of pace by Xavier Green, and he set up Callum McCowatt to execute a cool finish.
A short lull then occurred, as Wests maybe got a little complacent, and a couple of sloppy passes could have caused trouble but for some excellent cover work from Kyle Adams. Normal service was soon resumed however, when Dalton Wilkins surged forward down the left and was brought down in the box, with Owen Parker-Price confidently dispatching the resulting penalty.
Wests were now completely dominant, and could easily have added to their tally before half-time. First, Dominic Wooldridge was just wide after a good move down the right involving Alex Clayton, Xavier Green and Elijah Just. Then, after more neat work from Alex Clayton, Owen Parker-Price crashed a 25-yard rocket against the inside of the post with the keeper well beaten.
Early in the second half, Wests scored another goal of the season contender. Patient build-up play ended with Elijah Just passing to Owen Parker-Price, and this time his 25 yarder found the top corner.
This was effectively game-over, but Declan Edge had to politely remind his players about their defensive discipline after a couple of decent Petone chances were only averted by a fine Andrew Withers save and a well-timed Kyle Adams tackle.
With the game safe, Noah Billingsley, Ihaia Delaney and Daniel Harford-Silas were given the chance to shine in the last 30 minutes, and all of them managed to get in on the action. First, Daniel Harford-Silas struck a perfect cross for Ihaia Delaney to score with a thumping header. Next, Noah Billingsley was presented with a simple tap-in after a superb team set-up from Dominic Wooldridge, Dalton Wilkins and an incredibly unselfish final pass from Owen Parker-Price (who was on a hat-trick). Finally, Noah Billingsley, who had also hit the bar, made a vital contribution to the seventh goal, chasing back 50 yards to win possession. He then linked with Dalton Wilkins whose cross was headed back across goal by Ihaia Delaney for Dominic Wooldridge to expertly convert for a deserved goal.
The final score of 0-7 was a fair reflection of the game, and after recent reports of unacceptable spectator behaviour at some grounds, it was nice to hear so many complimentary comments from the Petone fans about the quality and entertainment value of the Wests team.
Player of the Day:
3 points – Owen Parker-Price – Outstanding second goal, but even more impressed by the unselfish assist for Noah’s goal
2 points – Dominic Wooldridge – Top performance, involved in most of Wests better moves, and a deserved late goal
1 point – Kyle Adams – This team is built on a solid core, and Kyle ensured Petone never got a foothold in the game