Wainuiomata 2 Waterside Karori 2nds 1
Men's Capital Division 1
Richard Prouse Park, Wainuiomata
Saturday 27th May 2017
Att : I counted 40 but there were lots more sitting in cars watching

Better known for its young families, Rugby League team and famous All Blacks such as Tama Umanga & Piri Weepu, Wainuiomata is a Lower Hutt suburb nestled in the valley between the Eastern Hutt Hills and the Orongorongos. But importantly they do have a football club.

It was formed on 16th July 1959. Starting out in Wellington Division 5 they quickly rose through the grades and in 1968 were a founder member of the Central League 1st Division, they unfortunately didn't win a game in this season and hold the ignominious record of being the first team to be relegated in the Central League. They were back in division 1 a season later and stayed there a couple of years before settling into Division 2 for most of the 70's. The 1980's saw them in Division 3 before starting a climb away from the bottom tier in the late 80's which culminated with winning the Central League Premier Division in 1995 and promotion to the Superclub competition. When the federations were introduced in 2000, Wainuiomata found themselves in Capital 1 where they stayed until winning it in 2010. They stayed three seasons in the Premier Division but struggled with the step up. Two successive relegation's saw them fall to Capital 2 before winning a play off last season to get back into Capital 1 (which I wrote about here)

The season so far saw them in fifth place with two wins, two draws and three losses. They were up against Waterside Karori's reserve team, who were in 8th place with two wins and five losses.

Richard Prouse Park The JourneyFan
Someone had said to me recently that they thought Richard Prouse park was quite picturesque. I didn't really remember it like this, my memories were of a boggy ground on a slope and having to chase the ball to stop it before it ended up in the stream that runs along the back of the ground! However it was 20 years since I had last been here and despite the rain and miserable weather that greeted me when I arrived I can see what they were getting at (although the ground was still boggy).

Wainuiomata opened the scoring after just two minutes when the ball fell to Shon McKechnie on the edge of the six yard box and he curled a lovely shot into the top corner. From then on Wainuiomata defended, not that Waterside Karori gave them much to defend! While they enjoyed more of the possession they didn't do very much with it, in fact I don't think they had one shot on goal at all in the first half. The second half was more of the same. Wainuiomata, playing five at the back were very well organised and continually halted Waterside Karori's attacks.

This series of photos shows a good example of how the game tended to go

Waterside's George Hercus lines up a shot

Wainuiomata's Max Schule makes the tackle

Schule takes the ball away
As you can see in the pictures, if Max Schule hadn't made the tackle there were plenty of Wainuiomata players there to back up. This is what kept happening and Waterside Karori were finding it very difficult to breakdown. They did finally manage it in the 77th minute when Oliver Cassidy won the ball in the penalty area, I thought he had missed his chance by not shooting, but his pass found Connor Stairs who slotted the ball past Wainuiomata's veteran custodian (over 400 appearances), Ralph Cherney.

With only 13 minutes left it looked as if this would end in a draw, but Wainuiomata had other ideas and in the 84th minute when Waterside Karori keeper, Sam Martin, failed to gather the ball on the edge of the penalty area, Wainuiomata's Cam Blake sped past him and had an easy tap into an open goal to make it 2-1 and that's how the game ended.

The Graham Watson coached Wainuiomata side, defended well, stuck to their game plan and were excellent at keeping their shape and deserving of their win. Waterside Karori meanwhile showed that you can have all the possession you want but it doesn't matter if you aren't going to do anything with it!