ASB Premiership - Round 13
Rugby Park, Invercargill
Sunday 17 February, 2013
Henry Fa'arodo 16'
Halftime: 0-2 Referee: Mark Hester Crowd: ~350
by NZF Staff Writer
With both teams eliminated from the playoff reckoning there was little but pride riding on this match, played at Invercargill's Rugby Park.
Otago - who have had to deal with a horrendous injury list and player departures during the transfer window - have turned in some spirited displays but not always come up with the rewards.
When Henry Fa'arodo popped up to nod a Cory Chettleburgh lob over the head of goalkeeper Liam Little after just 16 minutes of play, it looked like being another one of those days.
That sad state of affairs was all but confirmed when Otago United hit the self-destruct button eight minutes later.
Ben Fitzpatrick's wayward clearance struck the back of striker Hamish Watson, who latched onto the second phase ball faster than a static Otago defence before carrying on to finish beyond Little for Team Wellington's second.
Otago survived another close shave when Watson was thwarted by Little in another one-on-one, before Seamus Ryder thundered a shot off Scott Basalaj's upright.
Trailing 0-2 at the break, Otago regrouped and turned in a stirring second half show with Seamus Ryder a thorn in Wellington's side.
Invercargill-born substitute Andy Ridden was thrown into the fray much to the delight of the parochial home crowd, and he made an immediate impact teeing up a chance for Regan Coldicott who watched his 70th minute shot graze the Wellington crossbar.
The final 20 minutes became tense and tempers boiled over when Victor da Costa tangled with Tom Doyle with Otago's French attacker and Doyle both cautioned for their part in the melee.
Otago's wretched season is their worst on record but they can finish sixth by beating Waikato away next Sunday, thus avoiding a second wooden spoon.
With Waikato getting thumped 7-1 at Kiwitea Street, Otago start as slight favourites for what may effectively become a winner-takes-all sixth place playoff at Porritt Stadium next week.
YoungHeart Manawatu face the almost improbable task of having to beat Auckland City to climb off eighth place on the ladder, and should provide some incentive for the Richard Murray-coached Otago.
"Little combinations we have been working on are improving in every game, and allowing us to set up patterned attacks.
"Our back four was solid, and as we pressed high, Otago started to make mistakes which opened up the game. Justin Gulley was our Man of the Match and we are are all looking forward to next weeks match with Hawke's Bay," he said.
Otago coach Murray again bemoaned his side's poor start and the two goal handicap it caused.
1. Liam LITTLE
1. Scott BASALAJ
3. Geordie MANSFORD
2. Tim SCHAEFFERS
4. Benjudah FITZPATRICK (Gannon 52')
8. Adam McGEORGE
5. Matt JOY
9. Cory CHETTLEBURGH
7. Regan COLDICOTT (Ferguson 83')
10. Henry FA'ARODO (Gulley 62')
8. Seamus RYDER
13. Karl WHALEN
9. Victor DA COSTA
18. Tom DOYLE
14. Sam MEPHAM (Gannon 66')
20. Luke ROWE
15. Tom CONNOR
21. Justin GULLEY
16. Aajay CUNNINGHAM
22. Hamish WATSON
17. Tim HORNER (c)
23. Tom BISS (Rowe 83')
22. Anthony MELLON (RGK)
25. Daniel CLARKE (RGK)
13. Scott GANNON (Fitzpatrick 52')
6. Steven GULLEY (Fa'arodo 62')
20. Andy RIDDEN (Mepham 66')
14. Dominic ROWE (Biss 83')
28. Craig FERGUSON (Coldicott 83')
24. Alec SOLOMONS
=2 yellow cards
= red card
Play by Play
Hello and welcome to Rugby Park Stadium, here in Invercargill for the last Otago United home game of this season for coverage of this Round Thirteen ASB Premiership fixture between Otago United and Team Wellington, just the second ASB Premiership/NZFC match to be played at this venue.
It's not very often I get to say this, but the last time these 2 sides met, Otago were winners, winning 1-0 thanks to an 84th minute winner scored by Joel Stevens in a televised game at Wellington Stadium back in December. In this fixture last season, Team Wellington ran out 2-1 winners in bitterly cold, wet and windy conditions at the Caledonian Ground. Incidentally, Team Wellington are the only side in the league yet to play under the roof at the new stadium having played at the Caledonian, Tahuna Park and now here at Rugby Park since the FBS opened mid 2011.
The first time that Otago United appeared at this venue back in February 2005 a 1-1 draw with Waikato FC was the result. Blair Scoullar the scorer for the hosts, and Colin Gardyne for a Waikato side that would go on to make the 3-team playoffs that season.
Teams are above. One change for the hosts, Youth Team Captian Geordie MANSFORD wins a start replacing Craig FERGSUON. One wonders ifhis service would have been better used in Wellington where the Youth team play a vital game at Dave Farrington Park. But he's here today and based on his performance for the Youth team last week, won't disappoint today. For the visitors, Wiremu PATRICK, Alec SOLMONS and Tom ROWE drop out of the 11, replaced by Hamish WATSON, Tom BISS and Adam MCGEORGE.
Of course, Otago have had more home venues than any other in this league, calling The Caledonian, Tahuna Park, Carisbrook, Sunnyvale, Forsyth Barr Stadium, here at Rugby Park, and Aorangi Park in Timaru home at various stages.
Scorcher of a day here in Invercargill. At least 20 degrees, and no wind. Grass is longer than it is at the FBS but the pitch is firm and the lines are well marked, both of which are a nice change from previous weeks.
As always, Twitter banter via @ASBPremiership is welcome.
Teams entering now. Otago in all blue with yellow trim, Wellington in white with black stripes, referees in yellow.
Wellington win the toss, choose to play towards the Southland Girls High School End. Otago to kickoff.
Tim Schaeffers looks to find Henry Fa'arodo, Matt Joy slides in and wins it.
Wellington lob a couple into the area. Jude Fitzpatrick and then Matt Joy tidy up.
Aajay Cunningham curls one in from the left. Luke Rowe diving header clears it for a corner.
From the corner, Cunningham tries to drop one over Basalaj, but can only hit the bar. First real chance.
Sam Mepham wins the ball in midfield that he had no right to, and through Cunningham and da Costa they break. Forcing Schaeffers into giving away a throw in. From the throw, Otago show promise but Wellington clear.
Watson runs hard at the Otago defenders. Mansford tidies up well and clears.
Seamus Ryder creates down the right, flicks it onto da Costa who can't beat his man.
GOAL WELLINGTON!!! Otago are sloppy in clearing the ball, giving it straight to Cory Chettleburgh who lobs one coming down near the penalty spot, onto the head of Henry Fa'arodo, who puts it over Little. Simple goal and Wellington lead 1-0.
Cunningham delivers a corner for Otago, which is poor and easily cleared.
Wellington attack with patience, passing well, flooding men forward. Tom Biss shoots high over the bar.
Hamish Watson skips past 4 defenders and shoots from an acute angle. Well saved by Little
GOAL WELLINGTON!! Again poor clearing hurts Otago. Fitzpatrick's clearance hits Watson, deflects back behind the defensive line, Watson reacts quicker and gets the ball 30 yards out and with a one-on-one with Little was never gonna miss and didn't. 2-0 Wellington
Hamish Watson through on goal one-on-one. His shot finds the head of Little and is cleared by Otago. Could, possibly even should, have had his second.
Otago's best chance of the game. Victor da Costa runs strongly at the Wellington centrebacks. He feeds it right to Ryder who shoots and hits the far post. Sam Mepham running through sees the ball run past him just 2 metres to his right. If his run was timed a little later, it would have certainly been 2-1.
Long injury break as Matt Joy is down. He's fine to continue.
Otago awarded a free kick in midfield. Victor da Costa was breaking and desperately wanted the advantage. Of course none was played and he grabs the ball and punts it a long way away. Yellow Card shown for dissent by action.
Tom Doyle shoots from distance. High and wide.
Three minutes to be added.
Halftime called. Team Wellington well worth their 2 goal lead.
Unless Otago can find 2 or more goals in the second half, they will equal the league record for fewest points at home (0) in a season. Incidentally, that record could also be equalled by both Waikato and Manawatu depending on their results next week.
Good crowd in here, certainly more vocal than the Dunedin crowds of late. Incidentally, their entrants in the halftime kick-for-cash competition are much poorer than their Dunedin counterparts.
Teams reentering now. Slight delay as a hole in the netting at the old scoreboard end needs reparing.
Hamish Watson on the turn delivers a thunderbolt of a shot that goes well over.
Mepham long ball sees Doyle put under pressure by Regan Coldicott. Gives away a corner. Should have done better.
Sub Otago. 13. Scott Gannon replaces 4. Benjudah Fitzpatrick.
Tom Biss feeds Fa'arodo wide on the left. He puts it into the side netting under the pressure of Tom Connor.
Great chance for Otago. Seamus Ryder gets onto a through ball in the right of the penalty area. If I were him, I'd have had a shot, he squares it up to Da Costa on the penalty spot, who's shot is poor and high over the bar.
Ryder again on the edge of the box, squares it up to Sam Mepham who's shot is deflected and gather by Basalaj.
For third time is succession, it's Ryder who runs at Wellington this time wins a free kick in a great position.
Free kick taken by da Costa hits the wall.
Wellington break. Tom Biss is a great position. Great sliding tackle by Tom Connor.
Wellington win a free kick for a foul by Connor. Crowd and defenders loudly disagree.
Sub Wellington. 10. Henry Fa'arado replaced by 6. Steven Gulley.
Free kick is taken by Luke Rowe and is well over.
Loud discussion between da Costa and Justin Gulley. Gulley gets a talking to by Hester.
Watson takes on Tim Horner. Horner slides in and gets nothing. Mansford covers.
Big cheer from this loud Invercargill crowd as Southland born and bred midfielder 20. Andy Ridden comes on for 14. Sam Mepham. This place will go bananas if he scores.
Ridden creates a chance for Coldicott who on the turn skims the bar. Corner awarded so Basalaj must have got something on it. Great save.
Da Costa on the right gets a giant shirt tug by Doyle. Da Costa gets up and sparks a confrontation with Doyle. Tensions rise big time. Possibly a slight head butt by da Costa in that. Yellow to Tom Doyle for the shirt tug, a very firm word to da Costa for the confrontation.
Computer died momentarily. A couple of chances for Otago through Cunningham and Coldicott. Both cleared.
Connor delivers a free kick from near the touchline that finds the head of Horner who flicks it straight to Basalaj.
Everytime Ridden touches the ball, the crowd cheer on their man. Loses the ball, still gets a cheer. Great to be here Invercargill
As I type that, Ridden wins a corner for Otago which comes to nothing.
Another man with strong Southland connections 28. Craig Ferguson comes on replacing 7. Regan Coldicott. Also for Wellington 14. Dom Rowe, replaces 23. Tom Biss.
Hamish Watson beats 2 in the area and shoots. Shot deflected for a corner.
Nearly an own goal as Seamus Ryder's cross is put over the bar by Steven Gulley. More luck than judgment I'd suggest.
Tim Horner gets a yellow for breaking up a promising attack.
Adam McGeorge is one-on-one with Little, but the flag is up.
5 minutes to be added.
Much like her earlier goal, Watson has the ball, is one-on-one with Little, looks to run around Little. Watson's first touch is too heavy. Goal kick.
Full time called. Otago finish this season with no points at home. Team Wellington well worth their 3 points. And that's it from me this season, it has been a privilege and pleasure. Hope you've enjoyed.