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Waikato FC

Otago United

2


ASB Premiership - Week 11
Fred Jones Park, Hamilton
Saturday 15 January, 2011

2

Jason HICKS 38' pen
Milos NIKOLIC 56'

Harley RODEKA 46'
Phil RUGGLES 49'

 

             

Halftime:        1-0               Referee:            Nick WALDRON                    Crowd: 250

 

All square in four goal thriller

by Gordon Glen Watson at Fred Jones Park
asbpremiership.co.nz

HAMILTON – A second half goal glut in sweltering hot conditions left Waikato FC and Otago United’s play-off futures alive and well at Fred Jones Park on Saturday. Image courtesy Photosport

A win for Waikato FC would have opened up a five point gap between themselves and chasing pair Canterbury United and Hawke’s Bay United.

But today’s 2-2 draw means four clubs are now stuck in a playoff logjam separated by three points with Waikato FC leading the pack in fourth place having played one more game than Canterbury and Hawke's Bay.

Seventh placed Otago United’s play-off hopes are the slimmest of the chasing group with a goal difference of negative ten – that’s three worse than Hawke’s Bay but eight adrift of southern rivals Canterbury United.

The match started promisingly enough for the visitors as they created several half chances in an even first half.

But it was the home side who took the lead after Otago defender Tom Sadd clattered into Milos Nikolic leaving referee Nick Waldron with a simple decision to award a penalty.

Otago coach Malcolm Fleming had no qualms with the decision but was disappointed with the tackle.

“There was no need to dive in there - it was a silly penalty to give away but that’s the way it goes,” Fleming said.

Jason Hicks gave goalkeeper Adam Highfield little chance with a coolly taken penalty and gave Waikato FC a handy 1-0 halftime lead.

The halftime break proved valuable for Otago with the southerners exploding into life early in the second half.

Harley Rodeka levelled the match when he scored just sixty seconds after the restart and team-mate Phil Ruggles edged Otago in front three minutes later when he put past impressive Waikato FC goalkeeper John Fletcher.

The home side were rocked into action and earned a free-kick on the hour mark for what appeared to be an unintentional handball by Tom Connor.

The visitors were clearly unhappy with the decision but could have no complaints about the superb execution of the free-kick by Milos Nikolic.

Nikolic’s right foot curling set-piece from the edge of the penalty area left Adam Highfield well beaten, the ball striking the inside of Highfield’s right hand upright before ending up in the back of the net.

Fleming was philosophical about the goal but preferred to look forward to next week’s impending transfer activity.

“The ball definitely hit the player’s hand but I don’t think it was intentional,” Fleming said, “But we’ve got a new striker from Christchurch coming in – he’s six foot two plus, Chris Anderson, and he’s a straight swap for Nathan Knox, who we’re keen to replace.”

Waikato FC coach Will Gerdsen lamented missed first half opportunities he felt could have given his team the upper hand.

“In the first half we dominated and had two one-on-ones, one with Sam Margetts the other with Nathan Palmer and if we score those, we go two or three up,” Gerdsen said.

It was the loss of two quick goals early in the second half that left Gerdsen fuming.

”After halftime, it was the worst possible start for us – one all then we are 2-1 down. Then we score a wonder goal through Milos Nikolic. But at the end of the day it shows our inexperience. I’m not disappointed so much with the performance as with conceding two soft goals,” Gerdsen said.

Waikato FC’s solution to that defensive lapse has already been found with Gerdsen happy to confirm his first transfer window signing, a no nonsense defender with international experience.

“I can confirm we have signed Phil Edginton from Auckland City a player who has played for New Zealand U-20 and New Zealand U-23 in Beijing. We have other players training with us but I cannot reveal who they are until we have confirmed everything,” Gerdsen said.

Otago United coach Malcolm Fleming was satisfied with at least a point from the match.

"We needed to get at least a point today or it may have been the end for us. We have five games at home now in the run in - we don't leave the South Island, "Fleming said.

"Today's match was between two teams who wanted to attack and take their chances. It could have gone either way. We're happy to get a point but three would have been better," Fleming added.

Milos Nikolic was named Waikato FC Player of the Match with Malcolm Fleming heaping praise on goalkeeper Adam Highfield.

 

Team Sheet

Waikato FC

V

Otago United

1- John FLETCHER (GK)

1- Adam HIGHFIELD (GK)

2- Maksim MANKO

6- Tom SADD

4- Ryan ZOGBHY

10- Phil RUGGLES

6- Nick BRANCH (Mark JONES 70')

11- Andy COBURN

7- Jason HICKS  (Tim PILKINGTON 82')

12- James RIECHWIEN

8- Jason McKEOWN

17- Tim HORNER

11- Nathan PALMER

25- Tom CONNOR

12- Jack BEGUELY

21- Liam LOCKHART (Morgdan DAY 84')

17- Milos NIKOLIC

23- Ant HANCOCK

20- Sam MARGETTS (Daniel PEAT 46')

18- Harley RODEKA  (Aaron BURGESS 61')

23- Matteo BALLAN

26- Tristan PRATTLEY

Substitutes

Substitutes

22- Alex CARR (GK)

20- Matt BROOK

21- Tim PILKINGTON (in 82')

27- Morgan DAY (in 84')

10- Daniel PEAT (in 46')

22- Callum FLAWS (GK)

9- Mark JONES (in 70')

9- Aaron BURGESS (in 61')

15'- Eugene HEERSCHAP

=goal

=yellow card

=2 yellow cards

= red card

Play by Play

0'

Welcome to Fred Jones Park, Hamilton, for this Week 11 ASB Premiership clash between Waikato FC and Otago United.

10'-

Waikato FC dominate the opening exchanges with Otago United content to sit deep for the time being.

11'-

The match is a midfield battle in hot and uncomfortable conditions - neither side is able to create a clear cut opening chance so far.

15'-

Corner for Waikato FC fired into the near post but cleared by Tristan PRATTLEY. Milos NIKOLIC misses from close range as the ball is returned into the penalty area.

20'-

Still no breakthrough - we're almost midway through the first half.

21'-

Nathan PALMER nutmegs Andy COBURN on halfway but loses possession.

25'-

Near post shot by Ant HANCOCK draws a good save by John FLETCHER - it's a corner.

27'-

Phil RUGGLES long range curling shot leaves John FLETCHER untroubled

28'-

HANCOCK this time shoots a low fast moving shot that FLETCHER handles comfortably.

29'-

Waikato FC are content to play this match on the break - Otago just starting to edge this one in terms of clear-cut chances on goal.

31'-

NIKOLIC plays in Maksim MANKO who takes on his defender but fires a wild shot beyond Adam HIGHFIELD's goal.

32'-

PRATTLEY tries to link a throughball into the path of Ant HANCOCK but the timing is just out and what looked a dangerous situation for Waikato FC comes to nothing. Not far away, though, for Otago.

34'-

Matteo BALLAN keeps possession well for Waikato FC as the home side stroke the ball about the middle of the park. These are sweltering conditions here at Fred Jones Park and maybe this is a sensible approach.

35'-

Possession lost by Waikato FC. Adam HIGHFIELD shapes to take a free-kick for Otago United near halfway - it lands on the edge of the Waikato FC penalty area and Phil RUGGLES looks to break clear only for Nick BRANCH to clear the danger.

37'-

PENALTY! Tom SADD chops down Milos NIKOLIC and referee Nick WALDRON awards a penalty

38'-

GOAL! Jason HICKS right foot shot leaves Adam HIGHFIELD beaten - Waikato FC have the lead!

40'-

Otago United nearly strike back immediately but FLETCHER saves.

44'-

Otago United coach Malcolm FLEMING can be heard shouting vociferously from the sideline - he's far from happy with the way this one is going. He has a case - Otago have dominated territory in this half and perhaps edged it on clear cut chances. Still, it's Waikato FC that lead 1-0.

45'-

They dominate the midfield but the final pass by Otago just won't find a yellow and blue shirt. Waikato FC repel another attack from the visitors, counter-attack and win a corner of their own...

45'+1

A shot by a Waikato FC player (unsighted) is deflected over for another corner. The second set-piece lacks quality and referee Nick WALDRON blows for half-time.

HALFTIME: Waikato FC 1-0 Otago United. Intriguing fixture - Otago will be pleased with the way they've played and created chances. They've just failed to find a way through. Waikato FC have played intelligently and perhaps deserve their lead without setting the world on fire in front of goal. This match is still very much in the balance and Otago United will fancy their chances of taking something tangible from this one.

46'-

 GOAL! Harley RODEKA's cross-shot beats John FLETCHER and the game is locked at 1-1! An explosive restart to the match.

47'-

Adam HIGHFIELD pulls off a regulation save to keep the scores level!

46'-

SUBSTITUTION - 10. Daniel PEAT replaces 20. Sam MARGETTS for Waikato FC

49'-

 GOAL! Phil RUGGLES beats John FLETCHER and Otago United go 2-1 up! Extraordinary! And Otago United's history of dominating Waikato FC away from home could be set to continue! Ironic. NIKOLIC and PEAT had just combined to almost put Waikato FC further ahead only moments ago...that's football! 

55'-

Adam HIGHFIELD pulls off a candidate for save of the season with a twisting one handed save from close range. That had 2-2 written all over it. This match turning into an exciting encounter.

58'-

YELLOW CARD - Tom CONNOR is booked and concedes a free-kick.

59'-

 GOAL! Milos NIKOLIC levels the match with a sublime right footed curlng free-kick that hits the post and leaves HIGHFIELD beaten!

60'-

The frenetic pace of the opening second half exchanges has given way to the blistering heat. Credit to Otago United - they've played as if their play-off chances are on the line here. Cross by Tom CONNOR is headed wide by Tristan PRATTLEY - close but no dice.

61'-

Ant HANCOCK forces FLETCHER into another desperate save with a nice vollet on the angle.

62'-

Daniel PEAT counter-attacks but his effort on goal goes well wide.

65'-

Waikato FC and trying to play diagonal long balls in behind Otago United left back Liam LOCKHART - not successful so far.

67'-

Phil RUGGLES fierce shot sees John FLETCHER at his acrobatic best - Waikato FC clear the resulting corner. This game still has plenty of goals left in it based on what we've seen so far.

70'-

SUBSTITUTION - Mark JONES enters the fray as Nick BRANCH departs - a forward for a defender for Willy GERDSEN's Waikato FC.

72'-

YELLOW CARD - Mark JONES earns Refere Nick WALDRON's ire only moments after entering the match.

75'-

Water break - sensible decision by the referee. I'm not kidding you - it's sweltering here - High twenties at least.

82'-

SUBSTITUTION - Tim PILKINGTON replaces Jason HICKS for Waikato FC.

83'-

Waikato FC earn a corner - energy sapping conditions, weary players - will there be a lapse in concentration here? No, Otago United clear their lines and launch a counter...LOCKHART hoists a cross to the far post but HANCOCK can't get his shot on target.

84'-

SUBSTITUTION - Liam LOCKHART is replaced by Morgan DAY for Otago United.

86'-

Anxious moments for Otago United - Daniel PEAT's cross is met by Milos NIKOLIC but Otago clear the danger.

87'-

Free-kick for Waikato FC to be takn by Matteo BALLAN comes to nothing.

88'-

Tim PILKINGTON tries to scoop a ball over the top for NIKOLIC - it's only just cut out - NIKOLIC was all but through.

89'-

Patient build-up by Waikato FC - just building a move outside the Otago penalty box. Possession turned over. Otago now come forward. There are some tired players out there now.

90'-

Not long left in this one - NIKOLIC races onto a pass but Tim HORNER is across to quell the danger.

90'+1-

Waikato camped in Otago's half - NIKOLIC ignores PILKINGTON's demands for a short pass in the penalty area and elects to cross to the far post. Nobody there.

90'+2

Referee Nick WALDRON checks his watch - and that's fulltime.

FULLTIME: Waikato FC 2-2 Otago United - Entertaining second-half and one for the supporters to enjoy. Waikato FC remain in fourth place, Otago United seventh but they're level on points with Canterbury United and Hawke's Bay United.