By David Gearey / asbpremiership.co.nz
NAPIER - Hawke's Bay host Waikato in their final home match of their ASB Premiership campaign and only a win will do if they are to snatch a last gasp semi-final berth.
The Bay have to beat Waikato on Sunday and hope Manawatu can take points from their match with Team Wellington if they are to hold any chance of grabbing that elusive playoff berth.
Most pundits have written off Hawke’s Bay’s chances of claiming that important fourth spot. The TAB have withdrawn all odds on any possibility of the Bay progressing, but with the door still slightly open, assistant coach Chris McIvor would like nothing less than for his side to finish their home campaign with all three points.
“It is important we finish the season in a professional manner regardless of things we can't control, i.e. their results. The team have worked very hard to get into a position to have a chance to make the four and getting three points is the first job,“ McIvor said.
The coaching staff will be extremely pleased with the young Bay’s progression throughout the year in what has been a very mixed season on and off the field.
“With the changes off the field early in the season you could forgive the team for not achieving consistently early on, however, I feel we got to a stage early this year where there should be no excuses once you cross the white line. Chris (Greatholder) has given the team good direction and players have taken accountability for their performances,” McIvor said.
He added, “It is a shame the season is so short because I feel we have really started to bring things together”.
Standing in their way is an even younger Waikato side. The visitors have been struggling to pick up points of late but are determined to continue that attacking football that has gained them plaudits right across the country.
Head coach Declan Edge is relishing the chance to bring his young side to arguably the best football ground in the country.
“Firstly we work on entertaining football, which we believe means dominating possession, which has become normal now for us and something we always concentrate on. I believe that long-term, this is the best way, along similar lines to Brisbane Roar,“ Edge said.
The former All White has installed a philosophy and a brand of football in his side that he hopes one day will win Waikato FC their first ever ASB Premiership.
“We have three permanent objectives that are eternal with me and will not change. We are looking to entertain, we are looking to play fair and abide by the rules, and then we will try to win every game," Edge said.
The match takes place this Sunday at Bluewater Stadium. Kick off is at 2pm.
Hawke's Bay United
Stephen HINDMARCH returns from suspension
An extensive injury list includes Rudi BAUERFIEND (broken arm), Matt GOULD (shoulder), TINNION (knee) and Josh MARGETTS (ankle). Adam COWAN is suspended.
While Conor TINNION is under an injury cloud, the impressive wide midfielder was named in the ASB Premiership Team of the Month for February.
Michael MAYNE is in line for his 55th ASB Premiership career appearance, if selected. MAYNE has two career goals in that time.
Hawke’s Bay United must win to keep alive any hopes of a playoff place this season. With Team Wellington playing winless Manawatu, home fans’ eyes will be on Chris GREATHOLDER’s team. Four wins, three draws and two defeats in 9 home matches since 2004 shows this match could be tight.
Waikato FC’s last victory in the ASB Premiership was on January 15 when they downed Otago United 2-0. Waikato FC last defeated Hawke’s Bay United in 2010 when they prevailed 1-0.
Hawke's Bay United
ASB Premiership - Round 13
Sunday 11 March, 2012
1- Richard GILLESPIE (GK)
1- Mark FULCHER (GK)
2- Fergus NEIL
2- Tyler LISSETTE
4- Stu WILSON
3- Jesse SMITH
5- Bill ROBERTSON (c)
4- Mohammed AWAD
6- Stephen HINDMARCH
6- Mike KRAMER
7- Matt HASTINGS
7- Jason HICKS
10- Sam MARGETTS
8- Matteo BALLAN
12- Dale HIGHAM
9- Michael MAYNE
13- Luke CHAPMAN
10- Adam THOMAS (c)
14- Danny WILSON
14- Josh GREENE
16- Reilly O'MEAGHER
15- Jesse EDGE
17- Tom BISS
19- Harry EDGE
18- Hamish WATSON
21- Tyler BOYD
19- Chris McIVOR
23- Jordan SHAW
20- Leon BIRNIE
24- Ryan THOMAS
26- Shaun PETA (GK)
25- Danyon DRAKE (GK)