Blues hold on for win

Both teams had chances at the end ... it was a gallant effort by Westlands as some players had to play two games to make up the numbers, but they just fell short of what would have been an inspired comeback.

Nifty Patterson

Wanderers held off a fast-finishing Westlands United to secure a 3-2 victory in soccer at Swandel Park on Saturday.

Both teams had players missing and it started evenly until Wanderers took the lead after 15 minutes.

A corner wasn’t cleared by the Red Devils and Fellah was able to swivel and hit a half volley past Hodgson in goal for a 1-0 lead .

Five minutes later it was two as another corner was hit low and Lawrence squeezed his close range effort between two defenders on the line at the near post to give the home side a 2-0 buffer.

Minutes before half time D’Arcy broke the offside trap and Cooley swept  his side foot shot past the committed keeper and Wanderers looked home with a 3-0 lead at the break.

Westlands came out a different team in the second half and quickly got on top.

A long punt by keeper Hodgson wasn’t dealt with by the Wanderers defence and Papoulis rounded his marker and did just enough to steer it through  the keeper and in .

With 10min to go Westlands got a second for a grandstand finish as Rhodes collected the ball at the back post and smashed it in the bottom corner to get it back to 3-2 .

Both teams then had chances at the end but Wanderers held on and did enough on the day to deserve their victory.

It was a gallant effort by Westlands as some players had to play two games to make up numbers, but they just fell short of what would have been an inspired comeback.

In Sunday’s game Lions got back into the winners circle with a 3-1 win over Steel United at Jenkins Park.

Lions lead 1-0 at the break with Kinnear slotting home from close range from a cutback and shortly after half time went 2-0 up as Worsnop’s header came off the crossbar and Hazeal pounced to score past Kilpatrick in goal .

Matty Nielsen then made the game safe with a nice goal scoring low at the near post with the outside of the boot.

Then, with minutes to go, Joslyn scored on his return drilling one into the bottom corner for a consolation to the away side.

Lions in the end were the better side on the day and gained a much-needed two points to stick with Croatia at the top of the table.

THE PROGRAM

This weekend’s games see Steel United hosting Wanderers at Magill Park on Saturday with the home side desperate for a win.

Steel haven’t won a game in the league since defeating Westlands three months ago and would love nothing but two points here to edge them up the table .

Anthony Joslyn made his much-awaited comeback against Lions last weekend and found the net. With each game, he will only get better and add some quality to coach Finnigan’s squad.

On the other hand Wanderers have found some touch of late after a horror start to the season, picking up five points in their past five league games .

With Ratzlaf injured and Climpson returning home, the Blues have lost some quality, but their depth can cover these absences for now.

I think the bigger bodies of Steel might be too much for the young Wanderers outfit and should win a close one.

In Sunday’s game Westlands United will welcome Croatia to Dakalanta Park in a game Croatia need to win to go back on top of the table .

Croatia had the bye last week, but in their last outing lifted the league cup in a tight contest. Coach Sheedy will be asking his players to put that behind them as they get back to the league proper .

One of the signings of the season has to be Croatia’s forward Sean Mahon .

He holds the ball up well, has a great touch and can finish.

Westlands were very gallant in defeat last week with several player playing two games on the day to make up the numbers and were close to stealing a point from Swandel Park .

Rhodes and Wright worked hard all day in the middle with Papoulis and Dunbar doing the same up front , Leigh Dunk looked comfortable at the back and worked well with Barr .

Westlands will need all hands on deck here to complete with Croatia. If they don’t, Croatia should win.