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YoungHeart Manawatu

Otago United


ASB Premiership - Round 8
Memorial Park, Palmerston North
Sunday 13 January, 2013





BURGESS 11', 74'




Halftime:   0-1                    Referee:  N Waldron                            Crowd: 150


Manawatu see red in Otago boilover

by Matt Barnes at Memorial Park

PALMERSTON NORTH – Five goals and five red cards packed an extraordinary clash between hosts Youngheart Manawatu and Otago United, as the visitors climbed off the bottom of the table with a 4-1 win.

Alex Rufer, Tom Mosquera and Dale Higham were all sent off for Manawatu, as were Thomas Connor and Matt Joy for Otago in a wild last 15 minutes as tempers boiled over.

There was little indication of the carnage to come in the first half as a mistake-ridden opening meant there were few goalscoring opportunities. The lack of fluency from both sides smacked of rustiness from the holiday break and also, perhaps, indicative of their position at the foot of the ASB Premiership ladder.

It was Youngheart Manawatu who were controlling possession, with captain Adam Cowan and Alex Rufer dictating terms from the centre of midfield. For Rufer, son of former All White Shane Rufer, it was a confident debut as he played with an assurance that belied his youth.

Despite the dominance, Manawatu were unable to create clear-cut chances. The Otago United backline were expertly marshalled by Benjudah Fitzpatrick and Matt Joy as they restricted the space available to the home side.

When Seamus Ryder was cut down in the Manawatu box in the 11th minute, Otago captain Aaron Burgess stepped up to bury the resulting penalty.

Their lead established, the South Islanders seemed content to defend in depth and look to break quickly with long balls for the lone striker Regan Coldicott.

It was a tactic that bore fruit in the second half. Just as the pressure from Manawatu looked like it would finally tell, Coldicott was sent through not once but twice in the space of five minutes. Springing the offside trap, the speedster showed a surgical touch with two low finishes into each of the bottom corners to take Otago out to a 3-0 lead by the 67th minute.

A second penalty for Burgess saw the score out to 4-0 and the frustration for Manawatu hit breaking point.

First, Rufer flew into a challenge in the centre circle and was given a straight red that had the Manawatu bench up in arms. Then, Mosquera, whose physical approach in the first half had raised the ire of Otago coach Richard Murray, lunged into a tackle in opposition territory and was sent off, too.

Cowan’s protestations earned him a yellow card and when right-back Dale Higham was also shown his marching orders for a second bookable offence, coach Stu Jacobs quickly substituted his fiery captain before his side could be reduced further.

With eight players against 11, Manawatu finally got a goal back.

Suele Soromon, who had been lively all game, was the only Manawatu man in the Otago half when he received the ball some 40 yards out. Surrounded by opposition players, he dribbled his way through them all. Playing the ball to the right of the last defender while skipping around his left, Soromon looked certain to score until the recovering Connor caught up with him and brought him down in the box.

Soromon himself converted the resultant penalty while Connor joined the procession to the early showers as he received a red card for the tackle.

There was still time for one more red card when Joy flew into a nasty tackle on Jordan Martens at the sideline and picked up a second booking.

By the end, referee Nick Waldron had issued three straight red cards and seven yellow cards, two of which resulted in red cards, as well. Combined with three penalties, it was a very busy afternoon for the officials.

But for the victorious Otago coach Murray, it was the tactics that had brought the result.

“We were looking to reduce their space and I thought Fitzpatrick and Matt Joy - before he sullied himself with that red card at the end - were superb,” said Murray.

“Their central defenders Cooksley and Schrijvers are both big lads, so we thought Regan [Coldicott]’s pace would cause problems and it did. And his finishing was excellent.”

The win lifts Otago above Manawatu and off the bottom of the table after a season of frustration.

“After the first round of matches, we felt we deserved more results than we got, but we can't change that,” said Murray.

“We have to look at this second round game by game. Right now, we're three points from three and we move on from there.”

Both sides will have to move on into next week down several players for suspensions after a closing stanza of mayhem at Memorial Park. It is a situation that both the injury-ridden Otago and the struggling Manawatu can ill-afford.



Team Sheet

YoungHeart Manawatu


Otago United

1 - Matt BORREN (GK)

1 - Liam LITTLE (GK)

3 - Wade RANDLE

4 - Benjudah FITZPATRICK


5 - Matt JOY

8 - Nathan COOKSLEY


9 - Suele SOROMON

8 - Seamus RYDER

10 - Adam COWAN (C)

9 - Victor DA COSTA


13 - Scott GANNON

15 - Billy SCOTT

15 - Thomas CONNOR

17 - Jordan MARTENS


18 - Dale HIGHAM

21 - Aaron BURGESS (C)

25 - Alex RUFER

28 - Craig FERGUSON



19 - Ben WILKES (GK)

22 - Zayne OFFICER (GK)

13 - Michael FRASER

11 - James GOVAN

14 - Tyson BRANDT

14 - Sam MEPHAM

20 - Sam REDWOOD

20 - Geordie MANSFORD

23 - Cam ATTWOOD


=yellow card

=2 yellow cards

= red card

Play by Play


Welcome to Memorial Park in Palmerston North for this clash between Youngheart Manawatu and otago United as the ASB Premiership resumes after the holiday break. In round 1, Manawatu were 3-0 winners courtesy of a Tom Mosquera hat-trick, but since then Youngheart have gone winless. Otago, for their part, have had a season of narrow defeats but also find themselves with only a single victory, making this a crucial tie for both sides.


The heat of the past few days has eased and it is there are overcast conditions with a slight cooling breeze. The teams are coming out onto the pitch now...


And we're underway, with the hosts Manawatu kicking off and playing towards the city end of the ground.


Early free kick and yellow card for Matt JOY for a clumsy challenge on MOSQUERA


First chance of the match falls to golden boot frontrunner MOSQUERA inside the six-yard box, but this time his shot flashes harmlessly across goal.


Long ball from COWAN puts SOROMON into space out on the right, but his cross-come-shot is simple for LITTLE to collect.


A bit of niggly stuff from HIGHAM and a testy response after earns him a yellow card deep in Otago territory.


Fast feet in the Manawatu box from RYDER and he is cut down - PENALTY!! GOAL! 1-0 Otago! BURGESS the captain steps up to take it. He drills it with his right, burying it and Otago take the lead.


Corner for Otago from the left, BORREN gets a glancing punch on it - and it's a corner on the other side as a result. Manawatu clear this time.


Free kick for Manawatu about 25 yards out, to the left of the 'D'. Captain COWAN hits it low, but it bounces well wide.


Manawatu have the lion's share of possession, but so far the Otago defensive system is holding well and defusing the attacks before they get into the danger zone.


The pace of the game has dropped a bit now. Otago seem content to sit quite deep and try to play on the break, but they are well-drilled and Manawatu so far haven't been able to pass their way through.


A lofted through-ball finds COLDICOTT, but he is unable to lob the rushing BORREN, who catches the effort comfortably.


A long range speculator from BURGESS goes wide across the Manawatu goal. Otago starting to come forward again a little now.


SOROMON cuts in from the left from a MOSQUERA pass, but his effort is disappointingly high and wide. Snatched at it a bit.


The cloud cover overhead has darkened considerably in the past couple of minutes. It looks like we'll have rain before this one is through.


Free kick to Otago ten yards into Youngheart territory. Launched long into the box, but Manawatu clear without too much trouble. The game has become quite patchy with little fluency, which probably suits Otago at this stage.


Manawatu move onto attack once more, but a useful cross on the deck from HIGHAM is cleared before it can find a Manawatu foot.


Otago win a corner in a rare excursion forward. CUNNINGHAM sends it in from the right, an inswinger that is half-cleared by RUFER. DA COSTA has a crack from range on the rebound, but his effort is well off-target.


Booking for FERGUSON, but more importantly, it is a free kick in a very dangerous spot. Just outside the box, right of centre for Manawatu. But HIGHAM tries to pick out a SOROMON run at the far post, but overhits the delivery and it is harmlessly gone for a goal-kick.


And that's HALF-TIME.

It has been a bit of a mistake-ridden game, with both teams seeming a little rusty from the break. Manawatu have had the best of it, but despite plenty of possession in the middle of the park with COWAN and RUFER, the Otago defence have cut down options in the last third and Youngheart have often been reduced to speculative balls for MOSQUERA and SOROMON to run on to.

For Otago, after the penalty, they seemed content to defend in depth and look for the long ball for COLDICOTT, whose pace has caused a few problems for the Manawatu backline. He has been caught offside a couple of times, but if he can time his runs a little better, there may be opportunities for him.


Otago get us underway for the second half. No sign of rain as yet, so maybe we will be spared. No changes for either side at the break.


A nice interchange of passes between RUFER and SOROMON creates space, but SOROMON's pass across goal is cleared for a corner that Otago deal with.


A couple of stepovers by RYDER makes himself space for a cross for Otago, but BORREN leaps to intercept and hangs on.


MOSQUERA charges at the heart of the Otago defence, drilling a low shot from just outside the box, but LITTLE is down well to save.


A loose pass from RYDER is pounced on by MOSQUERA. His shot is blocked, but the deflection falls to RUFER, but his effort from the right is also impeded by a defender. Manawatu starting to create chances now.


A marauding COOKSLEY run from deep ends in a cross for MOSQUERA, but JOY gets in front and heads well to keep things intact for Otago.


A long range side-volley from RUFER is sliced and loops easily into the arms of LITTLE.


HIGHAM cuts in from the right and tries to bend a long-range strike in with his right, but it doesn't come round enough. JOY has the centre of the Otago defence marshalled well, but Manawatu are starting to find space down the sides.


SOROMON pursues DA COSTA and clips him, that's anothing name in the referee's book.


! Out of nothing! Otago get the second as COLDICOTT is put through, beating the offside and he slots low and to the right of the advancing BORREN for a very composed finish.


Manawatu pouring onto attack now. BRANDT is added to the fray, Billy SCOTT making way for him.


Again! It's almost an action replay as COLDICOTT is sent through the middle for a one-on-one once more. This time he goes the other way, but it is an equally-cool finish. Suddenly, it looks comfortable for the South Islanders.


REDWOOD on for RANDLE at the back.


Manawatu straight back onto attack, but they can't get through this resolute defence. The frustration is starting to show as COWAN has an animated discussion with the ref.


CUNNINGHAM is going nowhere in the corner of the Manawatu box, but gets a kick and down he goes. PENALTY!


GOAL! BURGESS goes the same way as his first, opening up with the right foot. Manawatu heads are starting to drop now. It's not looking like their day.


A mistimed challenge in the centre circle by RUFER and it's a straight red! Things go from worse to even worse for Youngheart.


They're down to nine! Red for MOSQUERA now. The Manawatu bench is up in arms. COWAN gets a booking in the aftermath.


Make that EIGHT. HIGHAM gets a second yellow. Unbelievable.


COWAN is subbed for FRASER, I'd say that is to protect him from picking up a second yellow himself.


So we're down to 8 against 11. Otago now getting more of the play, as expected with their big numerical advantage. To say the Manawatu bench is unhappy with the officiating today would be a major understatement.


A shot from 14 from the right is saved by the diving BORREN. Manawatu are gamely trying to play, but they are outnumbered all over the park now.


SOROMON goes on a one-man mission into Otago territory, dancing past tackle after tackle. At last, CONNOR cuts him down in the box and it's a penalty and a red card! 10 on 8 now.


SOROMON buries it from the spot! 4-1 now.




MARTENS is chopped by JOY on the sideline and it's his second yellow...we're 8 on 9 now! This is madness!


And that's full-time. Maybe not as much added time as expected, given the mass-exodus of players in the last 15 minutes. Absolute carnage in the final stages, but amongst it all Otago has come away with a 4-1 win that gets them off the bottom of the table and avenges their first-round loss.