Two goals in the final 10 minutes saw Wanderers overcome leaders Westland United to secure a 3-2 victory at Swandel Park on Saturday and move within a point of the Red Devils on the table. Both teams started brightly and playing some good soccer but it was the blues who took the lead with a slice of luck after 30 minutes.
Dale Robinson's goal bound shot took a nasty deflection off Jackson and wrong footed Gibbs in Westlands goal and nestled in the roof of the net for a 1-0 lead. That lead didn't last long as a cross field ball found Rhodes at the back post and although he was surrounded by defenders he was able to get away a shot that beat keeper Rowlands at his near post for 1-1. Ten minutes into the second half a mistake in the Wanderers defence saw Payne pick up the ball and he was upended for a penalty in which he duly dispatched in style to put the away team up 2-1.
With 20 minutes to go blues coach Paterson changed his backline to three at the back to look for a goal and brought on exciting youngster Damien Willmott. With 10 minutes to go Wanderers pressure payed off as Dale Robinson found the ball at his feet at the back post from a corner and somehow steered his shot through a posse of players and into the far bottom corner for 2-2. With two minutes to go Wanderers grabbed a winner as Gibbs did well to save an initial shot but Willmott smashed in the rebound high into the net as the blues imposed Westlands first loss of the league campaign.In the reserves a superb solo goal by Willmott saw Wanderers win 2-1 in a tight contest over Westlands.
Sunday's game saw Steel United come from two goals down to register a brilliant 3-2 victory over Lions at Magill Park.Steel's Welgraven made his first start in goal for nearly two years and was in the action early pulling off some good saves.After 15 minutes Lions took the lead as Wade handled in the box and Colaruotolo coolly crashed his penalty home for 1-0 and not long after Lions doubled their lead. A long throw found Jordy Kuchel just inside Steel's 18 yard box and he smacked home a crisp volley into the far bottom corner for a 2-0 lead. Just before half time Steel got themselves back into the game as Jackson nodded the ball across goal and Keegan Fay pounced with a header that beat keeper Tyler Welgraven to half the deficit.
Fifteen minutes into the second half a shot from Myers was saved by the keeper but Paterson was on hand to side foot the rebound low into the corner to get the home side level at 2-2. Soon after Steel looked in trouble as Corney saw red for a second yellow card and the green machine were down to 10 men but this seemed to spark them into life and even got on top. With 10 minutes to go a brilliant ball by Green put Keegan Fay through but he was upended by Knox who also received a second yellow and early shower as Steel were awarded a penalty and Green made no mistake as Steel hit the lead. Straight from kickoff Lions won a penalty of their own but this time Colaruotolo cannoned his spot kick off the crossbar as Steel held on for a memorable comeback victory, 3-2. Up and coming Steel keeper Ethan Fay saved a penalty but was unable to help his side to victory as Lions won a close match 3-2.
This weekend's games
Steel United host Wanderers at Magill Park on Saturday with both clubs coming off come from behind victories last week. Steel were very good in the win over Lions last week and showed plenty of grit in their victory as coach Finnigan's squad seems to get thinner by the week. Wade has now left to return to Adelaide, Corney is suspended and Anthony Fay nursing a Achilles will see them scratching for a backline. Youngsters Keegan Fay and Lachy Paterson stepped up where it counted last week with Fay scoring and winning a penalty while Paterson slotted home the equaliser.
With 10 minutes to go last week Wanderers looked to be staring at a five-point gap between themselves and leaders Westlands, two late goals though have them only one behind and looking to mount a challenge in this season's league championship. Dale Robinson's form of late has been devastating with 5 goals in his last 3 games and tormenting opposition with his pace and close control.
These games are always good to watch. Sunday's match has Westland United tackling Croatia at Croatia Park with the Red Devils looking to get back on the rails after their first defeat of the league season last week. Westlands once again were very good against Wanderers last week but injuries during the game at crucial times took there toll as the match wore on. Both Dave Dunbar and Edmondson suffered injuries during that game and look like missing this one but Papoulis maybe available after a week out to bring some attacking flair upfront.
What a wonderful player Stephen Payne is, smart, quick and an eye for goal makes him so hard to match up against. Croatia had the bye last week but in their previous match they went down heavily to Wanderers late in the game but showed for near on an hour they're competitive in most areas of the park. Croatia will be hoping Beasley and Sullivan are available this week. If Croatia don't contain Westlands midfield they might find this one tough.
Other news ...
Steel United's home game against Lions on the weekend raised over $1400 for Scotty Kilpatrick who broke his leg against Westlands two weeks ago. Thanks to everyone involved and the match officials who generously donated their match fees for the day. Wanderers' young rising star Damien Willmott may have done something no player has done before last week. After scoring two goals in the u17s Wednesday night, he then scored for the reserves on Saturday. He wasn't done with there though, coming off the bench to get the winner in the A grade as well meaning he scored in three different grades in the one week.