Croatia cause upset

Croatia caused the upset of the season so far defeating an under strength Westland United 3-2 at Jenkins Park on Sunday.

Westlands many key players missing including Payne and Papoulis while Croatia still had Ben Longin and Gill still on the sidelines.

Croatia got off to the ideal start after 10 minutes as Sullivan met a beautiful cross from the right and his bullet header made it 1-0.

Soon after Croatia got a second as Westlands keeper Gibbs did well to save an initial shot but King followed up to knock in the rebound to make it 2-0.

Robinson had a chance to pull one back for the Red Devils just before half time but it was Croatia who deservedly went into the break with a two goal cushion.

Fifteen minutes into the second half Westlands got back into the game as a lovely cross from the right found Shane Dunbar unmarked and his clever Header found the far bottom corner as Westlands halved Croatia's lead.

Croatia got off to the ideal start after 10 minutes as Sullivan met a beautiful cross from the right and his bullet header made it 1-0. Soon after Croatia got a second as ... King followed up to knock in the rebound to make it 2-0.

Westlands were starting to get on top and Croatia looked as though they needed a buffer and they got it with 20 minutes to go.

The ball fell to Alex Longin in the box from a resulting corner and he smashed it high into the roof of the net from close range to have his side 3-1 up. With 10 minutes to go Westlands once again pulled a goal back as Robinson's low shot from a tight angle could only be parried by Keeper Tudhope and Rhodes was on hand to bundle it home.

Westlands pushed for an equaliser near the end but Croatia was resolute and held on for a hard fought 3-2 victory. In the reserves Westland United had a huge 16-1 victory over Croatia.

In Saturday's game a patient Wanderers eventually won 3-0 over a gallant Steel United at Magill Park.

Steel were undermanned while Wanderers were near full strength and it showed early as Wanderers created plenty of chances but poor finishing hurt them while Green and Jackson went close up the other end for the green machine.

The second half start very similar to the first but eventually Wanderers finally cracked the Steel defence as Joslyn found some space just outside the box and thumped a low one past Welgraven in goal for a 1-0 lead.

Soon after it was two as Joslyn once again got a shot away in which Welgraven got a hand too but it lobbed into the bottom far corner for a 2-0 lead.

Five minutes later, the blues made the game safe when an identical goal to the previous was scored, this time it was Mikic with the shot as Wanderers held a commanding 3-0 lead.

With minutes to go Dale Robinson popped one over from close range but it didn't matter as Wanderers go outright top of the league by one point at the half way mark of the year in a tightly contested league championship. In the reserves Wanderers had a 3-1 win over Steel United.

This weekend's games

This weekend's games see Croatia host Steel United at Croatia Park on Saturday in a game that's detrimental to both clubs.

Both Croatia and Steel trail the leaders by six and five points respectively on the table and a loss by either side here could see an ever widening gap too hard to peg back .

Croatia were terrific last week knocking off then top of the table Westland United and were passing the ball around like the Croatia of old while getting behind defenders with their pace up top.

Both full backs Warren and Ziki were unsung heroes for Croatia last week taking a lot of pressure off Todd and Banovic in the middle .

Steel's loss to Wanderers last week showed how badly their missing some of their injured players right now and are slowly going through a stage as the older veterans are hanging on as some of their good young talent aren't just ready yet for the riggers of A grade soccer.

Eddie Wales played his first game in a while on the weekend and with a few games under his belt he will be handy.

I never would have thought this at the beginning of the year but I think Croatia are favourites here.

Sunday's game has Wanderers tackling Lions at Swandel Park with both teams wanting a victory for very different reasons.

After Croatia's win last week Lions sit bottom of the ladder so a win would be handy to keep in touch with the chasing pack while Wanderers want to try stay on top.

The Blues are the inform team at the moment with four wins on the trot with 20 goals scored but coach Paterson is a stickler for defence so only four goals conceded in that time would be satisfying as well.

Ratzlaf and Ben Robinson made successful returns in the reserves last week and they'll be putting their hand up for selection but Fellah maybe in doubt with a groin strain.

Lions had the bye last week but in their previous match they let a two goal lead slip to Steel to eventually go down 3-2.

Lions are enjoying having Kinnear back in the side, his energy and attacking prowess make him dangerous while Worsnop could be back for the one after missing the Steel game with fullback Knox serving a suspension. It's top versus bottom here but the way the leagues been this season this will be closer than expected, should be a great game.