Westgate might have won at the weekend, but it did not win the week in the Football Federation Victoria men’s state league 2 north-west.
In an unfortunate twist to its season, Westgate finished a rollercoaster week three points worse off in the standings, despite picking up a 2-0 win over Altona East Phoenix at Paisley Park on Saturday.
Through no fault of the players, Westgate had six points deducted from its points tally, the club received a $3500 fine and a club associate was banned for life for throwing a can at a referee after emotions boiled over after the round 10 game against Hoppers Crossing.
The net result at the end of a week’s worth of work for Westgate was -3 in the points column.
While the Westgate powerbrokers attended tribunals and will consider appealing the severity of the points deduction, all that coach Nik Kovacevic and playing group could do was get on with the job.
In tough wintry conditions, Westgate managed to return home with a two-goal win against a plucky Altona East Phoenix.
“It’s disappointing, obviously,” Kovacevic said of what transpired in the lead-up to the game.
“The playing group gets punished for something they haven’t done.
“That was going to be a challenge for the playing group, could they get over the little hurdle after finding out the news on Tuesday night at training?
“We responded well, so that’s all I can ask.”
Westgate had the unenviable task of kicking into the breeze in the first half.
While there was a bit of damage limitation mode about their play, Westgate was not without its chances.
Just before the half time whistle, Westgate found the game’s opening goal through Bobby Eftimoski.
“The wind was straight down one end,” Kovacevic said.
“It’s challenging when it’s that strong, it’s a lot harder for the team trying to get out.
“The keepers were trying to clear the ball and it wouldn’t have been going 25 or 30 metres.”
Westgate had the game more on its own terms in the second half.
The key driver for Westgate was new recruit Josh Calabria.
Calabria, brought in from NPL club Pascoe Vale, dictated play from the central midfield position.
“It’s no coincidence that we’ve done really well in the last three weeks since he’s come in,” Kovacevic said.
It was not until late in the second half that Westgate would get the insurance goal it needed.
Eftimoski turned from scorer to provider, sending in the cross that found young winger Daniel Soumelidis at the back post and he made no mistake with the finish.
Westgate will host Hume United on Saturday evening at Ardeer Reserve.