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Waikato FC

Otago United


ASB Premiership - Round 14
Centennial Park, Ngaruawahia
Sunday 24 February, 2013


Gurjeep Singh 9', 23'
Alexi Caroama Varela 70' 

      Aajay Cunningham 54'


Halftime:   2-0                    Referee: Peter O'Leary                        Crowd: 


Home woes over as Waikato end season on a high

by Niall Anderson at Centennial Park

NGARUAWAHIA - Waikato FC were out to avoid the wooden spoon, and end their two year-long ASB Premiership winless streak at home.

They achieved both with a classy 3-1 victory over Otago United today in Ngaruawahia.

Two goals to terrific mid-season recruit Gurjeep Singh and a fine finish from Chilean midfielder Alexi Caroama Varela cancelled out a strike from Aajay Cunningham to push Waikato into sixth on the ladder and break a home drought that stretched back to February 2011.

The result consigned Manawatu to the wooden spoon, with the visiting Otago side ending in seventh.

Waikato came into the match with a squad so under-strength that goalkeeper Jason Mann was outfield cover on the reserves bench, but Mark Cossey’s men fought terrifically under the scorching sun.

Singh was the man to open the scoring, after superb hustle from make-shift left back Mark Jones led to the ball being switched back and forth across the pitch, until Singh found himself with an opportunity which he took with aplomb.

A quarter of an hour later he doubled their lead, after a fierce Varela effort was palmed into his path, Singh was again on hand to finish and bring his tally to a creditable five for the season.

After the half the match deteriorated in quality as players tired in the heat, with Otago’s Regan Coldicott missing several guilt-edged chances, and Singh somehow contriving to miss an open goal after he rounded Otago keeper Liam Little but stumbled just as it looked like he’d reach his hat-trick.

Otago made a game of it when the impressive Cunningham scored his first goal of the season after the ball had pinballed in the Waikato box, but Varela sealed the victory when he adroitly turned in the box and fired past Little after being set up by Rory Turner.

Waikato captain Sam Jasper says the result was hugely pleasing after the rigours the team has gone through.

“We’ve been working hard, we lost eight or nine starters and had a change of coach but the boys dug deep today and got a good result”

Cossey said the margin of victory should have been bigger, but was also ecstatic to get the win.

“I said to the boys: 'I came in late, you guys have been here from day one - you guys don’t want to end up bottom’'. When they got one back it was nerves nerves nerves, but it’s reward not so much for me but for the boys.”

With the season now over for Waikato, Cossey’s tenure can be looked back on as a positive, notching all of the season’s three wins despite having to deal with the mass player exodus right after he took over.

With the club forming into Wai-BOP United for next season, the club will look to put the rigmarole of this season behind them and build on this platform which has been set for the next campaign.


Team Sheet

Waikato FC


Otago United

1. Neil Mouncher

1. Liam Little

6. Sam Jasper

4. Jude Fitzpatrick (sub off 80')

7. Gurjeep Singh

5. Matt Joy

8. Dom Edwards (sub off 46')

7. Regan Coldicott

9. Rory Turner

8. Seamus Ryder (sub off 76')

10. Mark Jones

9. Victor De Costa

11. Jack Hobson-McVeigh

14. Sam Mepham (sub off 71')

18. Alexi Caroama Varela

15. Tom Connor

20. Ricky Broderson (sub off 88')

16. Aajay Cunningham

23. Hone Fowler

23. Morgan Day

24. Adam Luque

28. Craig Ferguson



14. Tim Kautai (sub on 88')

3. Cam Attwood (sub on 80')

17. Wade Maloney (sub on 46')

12. Taylor McCormack (sub off 76')

5. Jason Mann

19. Zayne Officer

RGK: Matt Upton

20. Andrew Ridden (sub on 71')


=yellow card

=2 yellow cards

= red card

Play by Play


It's another pristine, scorching afternoon here at Centennial Park for the final game of the season between Otago United and Waikato FC. With both teams trying to avoid the wooden spoon, there's plenty at stake, Waikato coach Mark Cossey has sprung some surprises by giving young Dom Edwards his debut, while also giving Ricky Broderson and Neil Mouncher starts.


And we're underway, Waikato playing away from the commentary position, their limited player pool has changed their formation into a 3-5-2, with midfielder Mark Jones spending some time at left back.


Singh goes down when looking dangerous, O'Leary lets it go and Otago scramble around to clear the danger.


Turner collects a cross on the left, plays it back in the middle to Broderson, his strike from outside the box flashes wide, the early pressure is Waikato's.


Cunningham has Luque's ankles in a twist on the right but Mouncher punches his cross clear with two players in blue lurking at the back post.


 GOAL! Waikato go 1-0 up! Mark Jones hustles superbly to win the ball on the left, Waikato switch to the right where Turner controls, he finds Singh in the middle who finishes calmly, he can't stop scoring! Great move by Waikato.


Big chance for Otago to level goes to waste, Coldicott finds himself unmarked in the middle of the box, swivels and shoots, but his volley bounces along the ground and wide of the goal.


Another piledriver from distance from Broderson forces scrambling from Little, but the fierce shot from 25 metres goes narrowly over the bar.


Mark Jones puts a foot in on a cross, but it falls straight into the path of De Costa, his shot is palmed away by Mouncher who did well to cover his near post.


Mepham's turn to try one from distance, it rolls harmlessly across the face of the goal as Coldicott was pleading for a pass.


 GOAL! Another goal for Gurjeep Singh! Varela gets open for a strike outside the area, Little can only palm it into the path of Singh who again finishes with quality, 2-0 Waikato.


After being crunched by Hone Fowler, Sam Mepham gets back up to get on the end of a cross from Cunningham, his flicked on header clips the crossbar, Waikato survive.


Turner and Singh collide in the area, both are down for some time but thankfully for Waikato both look fine to continue.


Coldicott finds himself open in the penalty area again but his touch is poor and Mouncher gratefully falls on the ball.


Possibly the oldest player in ASB Premiership history, Neil Mouncher deals well with three consecutive corners, he's been looking good so far.


Singh gets tripped up in the centre of midfield, but gets back up and goes on a mazy run, he sets up Varela whose curling effort goes wide, Singh is the fastest player on the field.


Sam Jasper, who's been working hard all season, slides in superbly on De Costa as he tries to put the ball into the mixer, Waikato's makeshift back four is holding up well.


Cunningham tries to jink his way past Luque, but Luque gets a foot in, Otago are looking dangerous but Waikato not giving an inch.


Cunningham puts in a superb ball which evades Mouncher and goes over his head, Jones inadvertently puts the ball back across the face of goal, Mouncher dives on it to avoid a comical own goal.


Mouncher comes to punch away a cross but collides into his defenders, the ball falls to Coldicott twenty yards out with an open goal, but he hits hit over! Terrible miss and costly for Otago.


For the first time in what must be several years, Waikato go into the half two goals up, thanks to some Gurjeep Singh magic. Otago aren't out of it yet though, conjuring up several good chances, but Waikato are definitely deserving of the lead.

To emphasise how short-handed Waikato are today, goalkeeper Jason Mann is the third outfielder on the bench, he's out there warming up during the break. I was prepared to volunteer for my ASB Premiership debut, but I think it's best if I stick to writing....


And we're back into the action straight away, and Coldicott is back to missing glorious chances! After a great challenge on the other end by Matt Joy, Coldicott is played straight through but contrives to put it right across the face of the goal with Mouncher stranded.


SUBSTITUTE - Dom Edwards has made way at halftime for fellow youngster Wade Maloney.


Oh dear! Gurjeep Singh manages to get through on goal with Little to beat, he rounds Little, has the open goal at his mercy to get his hat-trick, but stumbles into the ball and pokes it away, all he needed to do was sidefoot it home for his hat-trick! Two candidates for miss of the season in one game!


And with that early goal from Manawatu putting them ahead 1-0, Otago now are wooden spooners as things stand, that won't please coach Richard Murray.


 GOAL! Maybe that's spurred Otago into life! A shot from distance cannons against the crossbar, Coldicott gets the rebound but his shot is blocked by Fowler, eventually it falls to the impressive Cunningham and he strikes it home, it's all on now, 2-1.


After a series of nice passing Turner finds enough space to shoot, it goes wide but Little decides to be safe and touch it behind anyway, the linesman has a shocker and doesn't see it so Little escapes.


Good defending from Fowler who cuts out a through-ball then blocks Coldicott's attempted cross.


Turner plays in Maloney down the left, his cross finds Singh at the back post, who in turn passes to Varela but his attempted lob is too cute, a goalmouth scramble results and eventually Hobson-McVeigh fires over the bar, Otago hang on.


 The first booking of the game goes to De Costa for a slightly late tackle, O'Leary has been good with the whistle so far.


A stinging strike comes in from Varela, Little does well to get a firm hand to the ball to push it wide, Waikato are trying their luck from distance today.


 GOAL! Waikato restore the two goal buffer! Turner and Varela find themselves two on one on the left, Turner rightly feeds Varela the ball, the cover defence comes across but Varela adeptly spins on the ball, controls it and fires past Little for a classy goal.


SUBSTITUTE - Mepham comes off for Ridden.


De Costa gets in behind the defence but his lob over Mouncher finds the side netting, Otago have had their chances today.


Little does well to deal with Luque's dangerous cross after good work from Singh.


Singh just can't get his hat-trick! Hobson-McVeigh plays a superbly weighted through-ball, instead of shooting he tries to go around Little, with little space to work in he finds the side netting, he's trying too hard!


SUBSTITUTE - Otago bring on another sub, the anonymous Seamus Ryder comes off for Taylor McCormack.


Poor Coldicott can't buy a goal either, this time he powers a volley at goal but Mouncher saves superbly.


SUBSTITUTE - Attwood on for Fitzpatrick as Murray clears the bench.


McCormack nearly makes an instant impression but his header from a corner hits the top of the crossbar.


Otago can't find the net here, Coldicott's volley is blocked, as it the follow up, the very very tall Ridden blasts a chance over as Otago throw everything at Mouncher and his defence.


Hobson-McVeigh scuffs a free-kick which Little leaves, only to yell out a yelp of surprise when the ball hits his near post.


SUBSTITUTE - Ngaruawahia's own Tim Kautai is on to a large reception from the locals, he replaces Ricky Broderson.


Three minutes of added time.

90 +2'

Kautai and Varela both go close, Little has done well in goal today, as has Mouncher who is called into action to save.


And it's all over, after a long draught Waikato finally get a victory at home in the ASB Premiership! Will Otago end with the spoon? Follow Matt Barnes' terrific commentary in Manawatu to find out as the regular season comes to an end.