The West Canberra Wanderers put a stop to their National Premier League losing streak on Saturday afternoon at Melrose Synthetic with a 2-2 draw against Canberra Olympic with their aim to retain their position in the top-flight still in their own hands.
The home side hit the front twice against Olympic, Jenno Ceruti and Thomas Barbatano netting in an exciting and incident packed first forty-five minutes in which they should, and perhaps could, have scored more.
West Canberra co-coach Dom English looked to celebrate these small wins as a token of heading into the right direction for the remainder of the season.
And English still does not believe their chances are over for even reaching the fourth spot on the ladder but believes there is more development to do as a team to hopefully push past the last few consecutive losses.
“For a team that has had to deal with a bit of disappointment, to see that game out and to be attacking hard at the end was very pleasing,” English said.
“At times it is a bit of concentration and a bit of maturity. The level of intensity they have had to play at for the last couple of months in the Cup run was brilliant to have but t took it out of them.”
Due to the youth in the front line, the challenge of inexperience has proved to be an issue when opportunities in front of goal arise and the need to finish presents itself.
“Concentration and effort have been the issue for us, we need a bit of experience up front to finish those moments when we get them,” English admitted. “The usual age of our strikers is about 17 to 18 so they’re still learning how to use their body in those tight spaces and make those choices.”
English is determined to see the team grow by creating better attacking strategies and execution when aiming to get the ball in the back of the net, something that cost them in the Australia Cup Final when opportunities to add to their first-half lead went begging, ultimately resulting in the concession of a 94th minute equaliser.
“We’ve certainly been working hard to make our attacking options better, getting people in better positions when they are taking their shot and building confidence in front of goal,” he said. “We are seeing more of that; we have certainly lifted our goals per game now we just have to reduce our goals conceded.”
With 11 games remaining, West Canberra sees themselves in the top four position by the end of the season but are taking every game as it comes in a bid to aim for the three points each week.
“We still see that race for that fourth position in the table is still open but obviously the more it goes, the harder it gets, we just want to start amassing wins and the rest will work itself out from there,” English said.
The Wanderers remain committed and having a strong focus on the youth at the club as they are developing these players in hopes of seeing them eventually succeed in representational sides. They face Tigers FC in their next match-up and will hope to continue onwards and upwards after their result against Canberra Olympic.
“Cooma is a team we respect, and we know they’ll come at us with a whole lot of confidence but they’re a team that we have matched in the way we play,” English said.
“I’m expecting to be trying to get the team across the line in that game too and hopefully for a change in the front. They are all winnable games, we are not worried about who we are playing to be honest, we do what we do well enough and everything else doesn’t matter.”
Words: Sonia Emanuel