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Waitakere United

Canterbury United


NZFC - Grand Final,
Fred Taylor Park, 
Saturday 24 April, 2010
Waitakere crowned New Zealand champions


Benjamin Totori 34, 73
Allan Pearce 57

Tom Lancaster 6



Halftime: 1-1                   Referee: Jamie Cross                            Crowd:  1535


Waitakere United see off brave Canterbury to claim NZFC crown

by at Fred Taylor Park

2009-10 NZFC Champions Waitakere United

Waitakere United came from a goal down to clinch their second New Zealand Football Championship title with a 3-1 win over a brave 10-man Canterbury United at Fred Taylor Park on Saturday.

Diminutive Tom Lancaster fired the Dragons into a sixth minute lead with a well taken shot but a classy strike from Benjamin Totori in the 34th minute levelled the scores just minutes before a red card to Canterbury midfielder Paul Dirou for a high challenge tipped the balance of the final in the home side’s favour.

Man of the match Allan Pearce put Waitakere into the lead 12 into the second half while Totori grabbed his second with just over 17 minutes to play as Waitakere stepped up a gear against a tiring flagging Canterbury outfit.

With the crucial second leg of the O-League final to play at the same venue next Sunday, and Waitakere needing to haul in Hekari’s three goal lead to qualify for the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi, player/coach Neil Emblen admitted to some nerves with the camp ahead of today’s battle for domestic silverware.

“We were apprehensive because we’ve come so far, got ourselves into two finals but there’s still the chance you could end up with nothing,” Emblen said.

“That fear of failure does scare you a little bit especially at a club like Waitakere that’s been so successful over the past few years.

“It’s nice to get the first one out the way and now we will start thinking about the Hekari game, how we overturn the lead they’ve got and how we win that competition as well.”

Despite playing in their first final in four years, Canterbury showed no signs of stage fright with target man Russell Kamo providing a solid attacking platform for the likes of Lancaster and Aaron Clapham.

In goal Tom Batty had another assured game and it was his presence of mind to chest a ball and play out quickly from the back that led to Kamo and Clapham to combine to tee up Lancaster for the early opener.

For Waitakere, Totori and Krishna displayed flashes of brilliance and only the foot of Batty stopped Krishna equalising at the end of a mazy run that began near the halfway line.

The ball spun on to the post and back into Batty’s arms and moments later the woodwork denied Krishna again, with a snap shot rattling the cross bar.

Totori then delivered on the glimpses of dangerous promise he had already shown when cutting in from the left and blasting the equaliser past Batty.

Three minutes later, the game well and truly turned toward the home side when Canterbury  midfielder Paul Dirou was beaten to the ball by Jason Rowley and only succeeded in catching him high with a raised boot.

“The sending off changed the game and I feel sorry for the lad, although he did go high and it’s one of those challenges that looks bad,” Emblen said.

“Having said that, I thought we had momentum back before the sending off but it may their job a lot harder. “

The second half was dominated by Allan Pearce.
Causing havoc on the right flank, Pearce set up Butler who should have done better with his 56th minute effort, and then showed him how to do it with a pinpoint shot across an outstretched Batty to give Waitakere a lead they wouldn’t surrender.

Starving the visitors of visitors of possession and forcing them to spend precious energy on defence, Waitakere grabbed a third goal through Totori, who was slipped a pass from Butler and proceed to tip toe round Batty to seal the victory.

Canterbury coach Keith Braithwaite, who took a Canterbury side that had finished dead last for the previous two seasons almost to the title, said the season bode well for football in the region.

“It’s a foundation. The board of Canterbury United are working hard and have plans for the future. If we do things right then there’s no reason why we can’t be back here in the final next season,” Braithwaite said.

“We’re proud of the lads. We’re very disappointed but we’ve been beaten by a very good Waitakere side. When they break they put us under a lot of pressure and with 10 men they picked holes out and punished us. For playing an hour with 10 men, I thought they we’re fantastic.”


Team Sheet

Waitakere United


Canterbury United

1. Danny Robinson (GK)

1. Tom Batty (GK)

2. Jason Rowley  (Pelter 90+1)

2. Dan Terris (captain)

4. Tim Myers

4. Gareth Rowe

7. Martin Bullock

5. Matt Boyd

8. Brent Fisher

6. Andy Pitman (Barton 80)

9. Benjamin Totori

7. Aaron Clapham

10. Allan Pearce  (Lucas 90+1)

9. Russel Kamo (Frame 88)

11. Neil Sykes

11. Tom Lancaster

12. Roy Krishna (De Vries 79)

12. Nick Wortelboer

16. Neil Emblen

15. Paul Dirou

17. Jake Butler (captain)

17. Glen Collins (Overton 59)



22. Liam Little (RGK)

1. Chris Sinlair (RGK)

3. Aaron Scott

8. Andy Barton (on 80)

19. Dakota Lucas (on 90+1)

13. Hue Frame (on 88)

20. Ryan De Vries (on 79)

16. Daniel Burns

21. Jack Pelter (on 90+1)

19. Darren Overton (on 59)


=yellow card

=2 yellow cards

= red card


Play by Play


Fred Taylor Park is bathed in sunshine for the grand final of teh New Zealand Football Championship. Perennial finalists, and 2008 champions Waitakere United welcome underdogs Canterbury to Whenuapai with the title of New Zealand Champions and a place in next season's O-League up for grabs.


In team news, Canterbury welcome back influential defender Dan Terris back from injury, while for the home side Neil Emblen has elected to start TIm Myers ahead of All White Aaron Scott at right back.


Speaking of the All Whites, national coach Ricki Herbert has already been spotted in the crowd and assistant coach Brian Turner is also expected to attend as they cast the eyes over a few candidates hoping to force their way into World Cup reckoning. Quite a few eyes will be on Aaron CLapham today after he was named in Herbert's squad for a domestic camp beginning next week.


A good number of Canterbury fans have made the trip up and are certainly making themselves visible. The cheekiest among them have planted a pair of of Canterbury United flags either side of where the teams will walk out of the tunnel.


The same fans have now formed a guard of honour to greet the players as they enter. Should make the away team feel at home.

Those interested in a late bet: Waitakere paying $1.25 to win the titel, Cantybury $3.70

Canterbury playing towrads the Kumeu end.


Referee Jamie Cross gets us underway.


Totori dances along the edge of the box, and delivers a firm pass in on goal. Fisher beats Batty to it but his cute flick is smothered by the big Dragons keeper.

Totori is playing up front with Brent Fisher in a 4-4-2, with Krishna and Allan Pearce providng pace out wide. Butler and Bullock in the middle with a back four of Myers, Emblen, Rowley and Sykes. Danny RObinosn between the sticks.


Clapham wins the ball on halfway and Kamo picks up the scraps. A great ball finds Lancaster wide on the left and he wins a corner. Emblen clears the danger from the set piece.


GOAL! Canterbury take an early 1-0 lead! Quick clearance from Batty eventually finds Kamo (following a miscued chestfrom Emblen). The striker works well with Tom Lancaster who beats Danny Robinson on the angle.


More pressure Canterbury who nearly make it 2-0. Clapham finds space in the box to volley a shot but straight at Robinson.


Totori goes on another run but is stripped by a expertly-timed Terris tackle. Totori looks dangerous.

The Dragons have lined up in a 4-3-3. Clapham and the goalscorer Lancaster either side of Kamo up front. Collins and Pitman slightly deeper than Dirou. Fullbacks Wortleboer (left) and Wortleboer (right) outside Rowe and Boyd.


A cross form Gareth Rowe is met by Paul Dirou. He gets his header lowe but Robinson is down weel to turn it round teh post for a corner.


Krishna picks the ball up just over halfway, pauses, then sets off on a mazy run that ends with Tom Batty getting just enough of a foot on teh Fijian;s shot to defect it back off the post. Canterbury fans breathe again.


Tom Batty shows pace, timing and 'good ups' to gather in Krishna's cross on the dge of his area.


 Yellow card for Martin Bullock who collects Clapham in the right hand corner. The free kick is headed behind for a corner, which is cleared away.


Ooh! Waitakere hit the woodwork again! It's from Krishna's snapshot after indecsion by Canterbury defenders gives him a sniff.


Pearce is bailed over by two Canterbury defenders including ANdy Pitman who gets a talking to from referee Jamie Cross.


The free kick is headed clear by the towering Matt Boyd.


short corner taken by Waitakere. Pearce delivers, Emblen just misses, Boyd clears.

Canterbury sweep down the other end, Kamo is the outlet and he finds Clapham racing free down the left. Clapham's shot is blacked by Robinson who has earned his keep already today.


More shots from Lancaster and Clapham but the first is easily taken by Robinson and the second is well wide a minute later.


GOAL! Totori levels the scores with a classy solo effort. Cuts insode from the left hand edge of the area and blasts a shot past Batty.  1-1.


RED CARD! Canterbury down to 10 men as Jamie Cross send Paul Dirou off for a dangerous tackle on Jason Rowely. Dirou went in studs up and with a high foot. Cross consult his assistant and returns with a flash of colour.


And a yellow for Rowley now as fouls Kamo. Tempers flaring.


Clapham is caught from behind from Sykes who gets a few words from Jamie Cross, and eventually a yellow card.


Halftime. Scores locked at 1-1 but Waitakere surely have the edge given it's 11v10 for the next 45 minutes.


A rip roaring start to the second half as Clapham tries his luck from distance and then at the other end Krishna almost sets up Pearce with a shot-cum-cross.


Waitakere finding a lot of space in midfield now.against a tired looking Canterbury outfit.


Krishna skips past one but is floored by Wortleboer who fgives aqway aa free kick in a very dangerous postition. Bullock takes it from knuckle of the area but Terris heads it out for a corner.


Pearce reaches teh byline and pulls the ball back. Totori leaves it for Butler who stabs at it, sending it high over the bar.


Canterbury doing a lot of leg work on defence and struggling to find rhythm on attack.


GOAL! Pearce makes it 2-1 with a great shot from the corner of the box accross an outstretched Batty and inside the far post. A big effort needed from the visitrs now,


Sub: Darren Overton replaces Glen Collins for Canterbury


Krishna somehow dances through four tackles and tees up Pearce whose shot is cleared by Matt Boyd off the line.


Acrobatic efforts from Pearce and Totori but the score remains 2-1. Waitakere asserting themselves now.


Fiher hesitates  and a chance is lost but Waitakere living in Canterbury's half of teh field at the moment.


Free kick on the right hand flank is curled in by Neil Sykes but Canterbury clears.

A shot from Pearce floats accross the face of goal.


The DRagons finally get the ball into the white half of the field but are struggling to unlock the home side's defence.


Canterbury win a free-kick on half way. Clapham send it long and ROwe gets a head to it but Robinson is equal to it.

Clapham sets Overton free on the right and his cross finds Kamo at the back post but the striker can't find a killer touch.


GOAL! Totori alsmots walks it in for Waitakere's third. Butler shapes to shoot on teh edge of teh area but slips a pass to Totori instead. His first touch takes hinm away from a defender the second aroudn Batty and the third may have sealed the title.


Krishna is taken down in teh box but Cross waves away claims of a penalty. PLay is delayed however as Krishna is treated by the Waitakere medical staff. Krishna is strecthered off the park which may be a concern for Waitakere with a big O-League match next week. Ryan Devries replaces him.


Andy Barton replaces Andy Pitman for Canterbury


Under ten minutes to play and Canterbury need two special plays to keep their title hopes alive.


That's not one of them. Waitakere soaking up time and possesion but Canterbury win the ball back and startt o build something. Glen Collins looks up, picks his spot and then scuffs his shot weakly to Robinson.


Last throw of the dice for Keith Braithwaite as he send Hur Frame on for Russel Kamo.


Andy Barton send in a flat cross into the goal mouth but Sykes clears teh danger.


Waitakere soak up some more time with a double substitution. Dakota Lucas and Jack Pelter in for Pearce and Rpowley.


Robinson picks off a cross to keep Canterbury at bay.


And that's the game. Waitakere collect their second New Zealand Football Championship title and head into next week's O-League final second leg full of confidence. For Canterbury, the remarkable season comes to an end.

Full report and pictures to follow.