Men's Capital Premier 
Lower Hutt City 0 North Wellington 0
  Men's Central League
Lower Hutt City 2 Stop Out 3
Fraser Park
Friday 16th April
Attendance :120

Lower Hutt City defend an indirect free kick against Stop Out The JourneyFan

A long long time ago, the Roman's got scared of a bloke born in a stable who wandered around doing things like turning water into wine and claiming he was the son of god, so they crucified him! 2000 or so years later we commemorate this by getting bunny rabbits to deliver chocolate eggs!!! Oh and all the shops are closed.......thankfully we have football!

After missing the first 2 weeks of the season due to being in Australia, I saw the chance to make up with it by attending a double header at the sports hub of Fraser Park. Before the start of the season I had made picks that both Lower Hutt City teams would be relegated from their division's. So I was somewhat surprised to see they were both at the top of their league's, albeit only 2 weeks into the season.

The first game was a Capital Premier game between Lower Hutt City who had yet to concede a goal and North Wellington whose 2 games so far had produced 16 goals! Add to this North Wellington's new coach was ex Lower Hutt City coach, Lloyd O'Keefe, and ex Phoenix defender, Ben Sigmund has signed for them this season, it looked as if it could be a tasty encounter.

Well Sigmund wasn't there, and while North Wellington physically were, mentally they were at home munching Easter Eggs. Lower Hutt City were better organised at the back but didn't really create much up front but probably can be forgiven a bit given that the majority of the squad are under 17. The most exciting thing to happen was after 18 minutes they had to change one of the balls as it had deflated, much like my pre-match optimism! It ended 0-0 and neither team really deserved a win.

Despite that I managed to get some photos

The 2nd game was another one that promised to be a tasty encounter, Lower Hutt City, 2nd in the league against Hutt Valley Rivals, Stop Out, 1st in the table and thankfully it turned out that way.

Abba about to make it 1-1 The JourneyFan
After a lot of to and froing in the first 10 minutes, just as Stop Out were starting to look like the dominant team, Lower Hutt opened the scoring through Sekou Diane in the 16th minute. Stop Out's tactic then seemed to be get the ball to Andrew Abba and in the 33rd minute it worked when he cut inside the penalty area and fired in a shot to make it 1 all.

10 minutes into the 2nd half Stop Out had the ball in Lower Hutt's net but Micky Malivuk was ruled to be offside. A couple of minutes later, Lower Hutt's keeper Marcel Kampman, who bizarrely had the number 91 on his back, slipped when tracking a back pass across the goal, with both Malivuk and Andrew Abba in front of him he quickly threw himself on the ball. This led to an indirect free kick in the penalty area and a yellow card.

Lower Hutt saw off the danger of the indirect free kick, but 2 minutes later found themselves 2-1 down when the on fire Andrew Abba easily rounded an advancing Kampman to tap it into the net. It looked as if Stop Out were starting to dominate the game, but Lower Hutt weren't having any of that and Jarred Cunniff evened up the scores 2 minutes later.

Last season I covered this fixture and it was a similar story, Stop Out dominating, but Lower Hutt fighting back. That game ended 2-2 and the dropped points for Stop Out cost them contributed to a disappointing 5th place finish. They must have learned from this as they laid siege to the Lower Hutt goal and were rewarded in the 75th minute, when after a free kick Malivuk made it 3-2. Kampman, in the Lower Hutt goal, wasn't too happy about this and after tugging at the shirt of Steven Gulley, ran at the referee to discuss his view of things. Of course under the new rules any player running at a referee to do this receives an automatic yellow card and as it was his 2nd he got to take an early shower.

Marcel Kampman is sent off much to the shock of a spectator The JourneyFan

As often happens in these situations, the team with 10 men play better, although they were unable to break down a dogged Stop Out, who went on to record only their 2nd win over Lower Hutt City since 2006.

I do need to revise my predictions of Lower Hutt City being relegated in both divisions, last season the Central League side took crucial points off title contenders and are the sort of team that could do that again. The 2nd team looks a well organised unit and should do enough to stay up depending on the number of injuries and suspensions that they pick up during the season

For Stop Out, Andrew Abba was everywhere and terrorised the Lower Hutt defence, once he and new signing (last seasons league golden boot winner), Jerram Tuck, can form a better understanding, they will be a pretty devastating strike force.

So the shops may have been shut but we had football and that made for a Good Friday!