Douglas Villa have leapfrogged to fourth on the Capital Football second division points table with a thrilling 3-2 win over previously unbeaten Western Suburbs in a catch-up game played at their Memorial Drive grounds in Masterton on Sunday.
It was a hugely impressive result for the home team as Western Suburbs went into the game having already established an unassailable lead at the top of the points table while Douglas Villa, by contrast, had recorded five wins, two draws and six losses. And judging by their previous meeting it should have been a rather one-sided contest, Western Suburbs having won that game 6-1.
The latter sentiment looked set to hold true when Western Suburbs went to the halftime break with a 2-0 advantage but whatever Douglas Villa coach Dennis Burling said to his troops during the break they came out a much improved side in the second spell. Their defence was tight, the midfield equally so and both Troy Burling and Tim Woodcock were full of running up front.
Western Suburbs, for their part, continued to test Douglas Villa down their right and left flanks but with Fred De Lara Bell and Sam O'Reilly leading the way, supported by Josh Logan and Daniel De Lara Bell, Douglas Villa continually thwarted their attacks.
It was Troy Burling who opened Douglas Villa's account when he lobbed the ball over an advancing Western Suburbs 'keeper for a well-taken goal and then with 15 minutes of play remaining skipper Michael Kempson won possession after a keen chase and put in a pinpoint cross for Tim Woodcock to score the equaliser.
Within a few minutes of the resumption of play Western Suburbs broke away but Douglas Villa 'keeper Cory Burling responded splendidly, making a brilliant reflex save down low and to the right.
A draw now looked the likely result but with time almost up Douglas Villa made another foray into opposition territory, a free kick was awarded to them, the ball was crossed to the far post from where Kalen Hutchinson headed the ball across goal for Woodcock to easily head in the winner.
Competition points see Western Suburbs well in front on 39, followed by Tawa 29, Upper Hutt City 22, Douglas Villa 20, Island Bay United 20, Stop Out 18, Lower Hutt City 17, Victoria University 12, Wellington Olympic 12 and Wairarapa United 10. The latter desperately need maximum points from their match with Victoria University at Howard Booth Park on Sunday to help avoid relegation while Douglas Villa can expect a keen tussle with Stop Out at Memorial Drive on Saturday.
Meanwhile, all eyes will be on their star striker Hamish Watson when the Wairarapa United Central League side resumes their season with a match against Lower Hutt City at Fraser Park, also on Saturday. Watson is right in the reckoning for the Golden Boot award, having scored 12 goals in league games, one less that Petone's Paul Whitmarsh. The next highest scorer for Wairarapa United is Seule Soromon with five. Wairarapa United are fifth on the points table with 21 while Lower Hutt City are eighth with 12.