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NZFC - Round 3, Waikato Stadium, Sun 18 November
Hone Fowler 76
Andy Barron 23
Halftime: 0-2 Referee: Matthew Conger Crowd: 400
by Bruce Holloway at Waikato Stadium
Wellington have extended their perfect start to the New Zealand Football Championship season with a deserved 2-1 away win over Waikato FC today.
Midfield superiority laid the foundations for a victory which gave Wellington its third consecutive win - equalling the club’s record in the NZFC – and consigned an increasingly thin-looking Waikato to its second successive home loss.
Wellington were seldom in trouble at the back and regularly had the Waikato defence stretched at Waikato Stadium.
But it was in midfield that they completely dominated, with Andy Barron having a field day until he limped off with a hamstring twinge, and Darren Cheriton,and Raf de Gregorio also overshadowing their more inexperienced opponents.
Barron opened the scoring with a clinical low shot from the edge of the area after Waikato had cheaply coughed up possession in the 23rd minute.
It signalled a long period of Wellington domination, consummated by a further goal to Cheriton just before half time.
Graham Little, who belied his 35 years with an influential display in which he was lighting fires all over the pitch, collected the ball on the right, and played in a measured cross which Cheriton stooped and headed home from point blank.
Little had a goal ruled out for offside in the second half, while a number of excellent chances went begging for Wellington.
"We were unfortunate not to have more on the board but we can develop on that," he said.
"We have now had three wins against three contrasting systems, and none of them have been easy.
"Each win gives us a little more impetus. Football can be fickle and we had to battle right until the 93rd minute to earn this."
Jacobs said he was impressed with Michael Wilson’s efforts at centre back.
Waikato showed character to rally as the match progressed, though their chances of taking the game to Wellington were severely hampered when skipper Rob Gill went off after just 23 minutes.
Without him Waikato lacked any sort of pivot up front, and it was hard to see where a goal might come from.
Hone Fowler eventually supplied the answer in the 76th minute. Luke Findley headed a Dale Williams free kick square, Shaun Van Rooyen had his header parried by Phil Imray, but Fowler was on hand to blast it into the net from a couple of metres.
Fowler had an ineffectual first half at left back before reverting to the centre of defence.
For Waikato the outlook is bleak. They only named 19 players at the start of the season, and have since been decimated by injuries.
"We’ve got to be disappointed, but not downhearted," Wilkinson said. "Once again, against a leading team, we were still in it at the end and could have equalised.
"But we are praying about Gill’s injury."
Van Rooyen had the ball in the net in injury time but it was ruled out for a foul, while Aaron Scott volleyed just wide when he might have done better.
Waikato’s prospects dimmed when Che Bunce withdrew an hour before kick-off with food poisoning. David Samson took his place, despite having been laid low with a virus for a fortnight, and made a fair first of his defensive duties.
Van Rooyen was the pick of the Waikato players, with an energetic midfield effort, though on the debit side, it never really worked starting Stu Watene off at sweeper, and he reverted to left back at half time.
Substitutes Tom Edwards and Scott Campbell – younger brother of All White Jeff Campbell – made their Waikato debuts, coming off the bench.
Team Wellington entertain Hawke's Bay United at Newtown Park next Sunday while Waikato travel to Christchurch to take on Canterbury United.
Photos: Tony Whitehead www.wildlight.co.nz
NZFC - Round 3, Waikato Stadium
Sun 17 Nov, 2007
1. Dan Robinson
GK. Phil Imray
2. David Samson
2. Sam Peters
3. Hone Fowler
6. Adam Birch
5. Aaron Scott (off 90+2)
8. Michael Wilson
7. Joe Simpkins
12. Andy Barron (off 52)
9. Jakub Sinkora
14. Darren Cheriton (off 64)
10. Luke Findley
15. Graham Little
12. Robert Gill (off 23)
16. Raf de Gregorio
14. Shaun Van Rooyen
17. Wiremu Patrick
17. Stu Watene
18. Peter Halstead
18. Stanley Waita (off 46)
19. Sean Douglas (off 85)
4. Tom Edwards (46 min for Waita)
1. Dylan Hall
16. Scott Campbell (90+2 min for Scott)
5. Peter Howe (52 min for Barron).
19. Junya Nakahashi
11. George Barbarouses (on for Cheriton 64 min).
23. Dale Williams (23 min for Gill).
13. Karl Whalen (on for Douglas 85 min)
=2 yellow cards
= red card
0 mins: Good afternoon from Hamilton, where is is a fine but overcast day, with a slight westerly breeze. Che Bunce is out with illness for Waikato while Junya Nakahashi, formerly with Three Kings United, joins the squad as reserve keeper.
2 min: Wellington playing towards the river end, with a slight wind behind them. Peter Halstead clatters Stu Watene, who is playing sweeper in a 5-3-2 formation
10 min: Fowler, playing left back, attacks down the flank but Wellington clear.
12 min: Referee Matthew Conger blows for three free kicks, two to Waikato, in quick succession.
15 min: Luke Findley dives, but no free kick.
19 min: Wellington attack throug Sam peters and a doubles save by Dan Robinson, firstly from wiremu Patrick than Graham Little on the rebound. Meanwhile Waikato women go 1-0 ahead of Canterbuy in the women's match at Gower Park through a Sarah McLoughlin header.
21 min: Andy Barron blasts over the top after Sinkora gave the ball away in midfield.
22 min: Van Rooyen creates a half chance for Gill
23 min: GOAL!! Barron strikes one low and hard into the right hand corner of Robinson's net from just inside the area with a clinical shot after Wellington pressure.
23 min: Skipper Gill, nursing a hip injury, is replaced by Dale Williams. A further drama for Waikato.
29 min: Williams is taller than Gill, but can't jump as well and misses an aerial feed.
31 min: Little is playing some clever little balls.
33 min: Findley turns sam Peters, but the shot is weak.
34 min: Barron goes just wide with a low shot from 25m, and Stanley Waita is booked after rubbing shoulders with Little.
36 min: Robinson just holds another long shot from Barron, who fancies his chances.
39 min: Wiremu Patrick is well wide after a good wllington break down the right.
41 min: GOAL!!! Little shows his skills inside the area and whips in a little cross for Cheriton to head into the corner. 2-0.
Half time: Wellington are well worth their 2-0 lead, with Waikato struggling to make any impact up front without Gill, and grimly defending at the back. Meanwhile its 1-1 between Waikato women and Mainland at Gower Park with Alana Ainsworth lobbing the Waikato keeper to equalise.
46min: Tom Edwards is on for his first run for Waikato, replacing Waita in midfield. Fowler has returned to central defence, with Watene going to left back.
48 min: Barron goes around the keeper, but wide of goal, and his cross is cleared after Peters initiated an attack. Barron appears injured. Stays down.
50 min: Little has the ball in the net following a corner but it is ruled out for offside.
52 min: Peter Howe is on for Barron, and takes up a midfield position.
54 min: it's all wellington, but Waikato/BOP women make the semis for the second successive year after a 1-1 draw with Mainland at Gower Park
57 min: Cheriton is injured. The players all have a drink.
59 min: Wiremu Patrick picks out Halstead inside the area as Wellington create a series of chances without finishing.
62 min: Wellington are completely dominating the midfield. George Barbarouses comes on for Cheriton.
66 min: de Gregorio is just over the bar with a volley after Halstead set him up.
67 min: It's all hands on deck in defencefor waikato as Wllington dominate possession.
68 min: Findley earns a free kick to give Waikato a breather. Fowler is just wide with a header from Aaron Scott's free kick.
74 min: Sprawling save from Roinson to tip Little's shot for a corner after Simpkins had given it away in midfield.
76 min: GOALL!! Fowler pulls a goal back. Williams free kick to Findley on the far post, headed square, van Rooyen has his header saved but Fowler rams the ball home from 2m.
82 min: Good Waikato build up but shocking cross from Edwards.
83 min: Barbarouses is booked after scything down Sinkora. Williams puts the free kick high over the bar.
84 min: Scott is just with a sidefoot volley. Whalen is on for Douglas.
86 min: Edwards booked.
88 min: Simpkins looses the ball again with players free.
91 min: Scott Campbell on for Aaron Scott. Van Rooyen has the ball in the net, but a free kick to Wellington.
93 min; It's all over, Wellington retain their perfect record, and Waikato again lose by a narrow margin at home.