By Bob Pearce / www.asbpremiership.co.nz
Whatever the score, chickens will definitely not be counted in either dressing room at halftime in the clash between Auckland City and Hawke’s Bay United at Kiwitea St on Saturday.
When the teams met in Napier, Auckland led 2-0 at halftime, but finished with nine men and a 2-2 draw. Hawke’s Bay led Team Wellington 2-0 at the break last weekend and lost the game 3-2.
"We played some of our best football of the season in the first half against Wellington," said Bay coach Matt Chandler. "We walked in to the changing rooms at halftime thinking we'd won and came back knowing we'd lost.
"It was a good lesson for everybody involved. We had a good team meeting this week and we've learnt from it."
What made the defeat particularly galling was that Hawke’s Bay have been enjoying their best start to a season and the loss ended a long unbeaten run.
One of the stars for the Bay has been teenager Andy Bevin, who already has five goals and a hat-trick to his credit. He will have half a game for the Phoenix A against Waitakere ahead of Saturday's clash.
Back in the Bay are Cole Peverley and Jarrod Smith and Chandler has recruited English twins Phil and Pete Doran. The experienced Leon Birnie has a foot injury and Dan O'Brien is recovering from having his appendix removed.
Auckland climbed back up the table with their 3-1 victory over YoungHeart Manawatu last Saturday and co-coach Aaron McFarland hopes this has given his players the added confidence to finish the host of chances they created.
"The circumstances of that first game with Hawke’s Bay mean the players have a point to prove," he said. "You could say we were seeking revenge for the loss of points.
"Hawke’s Bay have got some talented players and they will want to show that last time wasn't a fluke."
The two players sent off in Napier, Alex Feneridis and Ian Hogg, have served their suspensions but Luis Corrales is on holiday in Costa Rica. David Mulligan is not named in the squad but could yet return from injury.
Auckland looked a better side with Ivan Vicelich back from his Chinese stint and McFarland and co-coach Ramon Tribulietx have the luxury of a squad largely free of injury despite a tough early schedule, including O-League and ASB Premiership games.
Hawke’s Bay have yet to win at Kiwitea St. Recent history would suggest plenty of goals and fans would be well advised that it's not over until the last drum roll from the Bucket Man.
Hawke's Bay United
Ian HOGG and Alex FENERIDIS return from suspension earned against Hawke’ Bay three weeks ago.
Adam CHANDLER and Dan Ball are provisionally added to the match day squad and one of them or fellow academy member Ryan Martin will miss out of the final travelling squad.
Rory KELLY and Luis CORRALES make way while David MULLIGAN is still out with an ankle injury.
Matt HASTINGS dislocated his shoulder in the loss to Wellington and sits out until he fully recovers.
FENERIDIS scored both of Auckland’s goals in that 2-2 draw in Napier before being sent off.
Auckland City have never lost at home to Hawke’s Bay United, and have posted six straight wins over Hawke’s Bay at home since a lone draw in the 2004-05 season.
Hawke's Bay United went nine matches without a win over Auckland City, a run that began in 2004 and ended in 2008.
ASB Premiership - Week 9
Hawke's Bay United
Saturday 18 December, 2010
1- Jacob SPOONLEY (GK)
1- Richard GILLESPIE (GK)
2- Angel BERLANGA
2- Phil DORAN
3- Ian HOGG
3- Marvin EAKINS
5- Phil EDINGTON
5- Bill ROBERTSON
6- Stuart KELLY
11- Cole PEVERLEY
7- James PRITCHETT
12- Andy BEVIN
11- Daniel KOPRIVCIC
13- Dan WILSON
12- Patrick GEORGE (GK)
14- Marama THOMPSON
13- Alex FENERIDIS
15- Joachim RANDE
14- Adam DICKINSON
16- Adam CHANDLER
15- Ivan VICELICH (c)
18- Jonathan TAYLOR (C)
16- Takayuki OMI
19- Dan BALL
17- Adam McGEORGE
20- Chris McIVOR
19- Daniel MORGAN
21- Peter DORAN
22- Andrew MILNE
22- Ryan Martin
23- Adam THOMAS
23- Jarrod SMITH
25- Shaun PETA (GK)
one to be omitted