NZFC - Round 4, FMG Stadium, 25 November
Trent Watson 23
Halftime: 1-0 Referee: Neil Fox Crowd:
AUCKLAND – YoungHeart Manawatu produced a compelling dress-rehearsal ahead of a potentially season defining fortnight in Auckland with a 6-0 drubbing of Otago United in Palmerston North on Sunday.
Trent Watson’s 23rd minute goal was all Manawatu had to show for their first half dominance in the bottom-of-the-table clash at a sun-baked FMG Stadium.
But Shane Rufer’s men went into overdrive after the break with four goals in a 12-minute spurt - including 52nd and 56th minute goals from Adam Cowan – ending any hopes of an Otago fightback.
Captain Ian Robinson, striker Dominic Rowe and Uruguayan substitute Gouzalo Nieres also got on the scoresheet as Manawatu warmed up to their trips away to O-League champions Waitakere United on Saturday and three-time defending NZFC champions Auckland City on December 8.
Rufer knows those matches will provide a clearer indication of Manawatu’s title credentials. Regardless of what happens, he is convinced his side is on track to contest the top-three playoffs again.
“What we must ensure is that we get points off our direct opponents. Auckland, Waitakere, Wellington and Hawke’s Bay…those are the teams we are going to be fighting it out for the top three places,” Rufer said after Manawatu’s “very pleasing” performance.
“We’ll be there or there abouts.”
Rufer is confident Manawatu will only get better after making short work of Terry Phelan’s young Otago squad.
“There are still a lot of players we’re learning about and that’s going to take a bit of time,” he said.
“But we’re on the right track. We were definitely a lot more patient with the ball today, we’re slowly shifting the ball a bit quicker like we use too and getting back a bit of form. It was good team performance.”
It doesn’t get any easier for winless Otago who host Hawke’s Bay United at Carisbrook on Saturday before a round six trip to Waikato FC on December 9.
Photos: Rowena Duncum.
NZFC - Round 4, FMG Stadium
25 November 2007, 3:00
19. Michael Utting (GK)
1. Liam Little (GK)
4. Peni Finau
3. Terry Phelan
5. Trent Watson (off 58)
5. Kevin Taylor
9. Osea Vakatalesau (off 72)
6. Terry Alvino
11. Ian Sandbrook
11. Andy Coburn
12. Nick Roydhouse (off 65)
12. Aaron Burgess
15. Prince Quansah
15. John Chisholm
16. Ian Robinson
17. Croyden Wheeler (off 58)
17. Dominic Rowe
18. Mike Smith
20. Adam Cowan
19. Richard Smith (off 58)
23. Scott Robson
21. Ben Keat (off 6)
1. Andrew Bailey (RGK)
2. Nick Dale
3. Pabo Yackson
7. Robbie Deeley (on 66)
7. Gouzalo Nieres (on 72)
8. Michael Flaws (on 58)
8. Nathan Cooksley (on 58)
10. Bradley Scott (on 58)
21. Tim Richardson (on 65)
13. Callum Flaws (RGK)
=2 yellow cards
= red card
Welcome to FMG stadium in Palmerston North, where the bottom two teams YoungHeart Manawatu and Otago United look to climb off the foot of the table. It's a beautiful day here - wer'e told the official temperature is 23 degrees but it feels much hotter than that, with just a gentle breeze blowing from end to end to offer any respite for the players.
The pace of the game is brisk to start.
Free kicks within shooting range to either side within the last couple of minutes have come to nothing with teh keepers saving comfortably
The tempo is still high with the players putting in lots of running - we'll see if the heat takes it out of tehm as the game goes on
GOAL!! 1-0 YoungHeart. A freekick out to the right is played in to the box by Ian Robinson. Liam Little comes to collect but spills it and Manawatu's Trent Watson is on hand to poke it goalward.
YoungHeart are taking more control of this match - their possesion and territorial advantage leading to a swag of corners but Otago are managing to deal with them.
Yellow Card for Trent Watson who tried to beat Liam Little to a cross but only ended up fouling the Otago stopper.
HALFTIME: Manawatu have the advantage going into the break 1-0 up over Otago.
GOAL!! 2-0 Adam Cowan doubles YoungHeart's lead, finishing in the top right hand corner after Dominic Rowe's shot had ricocheted off the left hand upright.
GOAL!! 3-0 All Manawatu now, as Ian Robinson is set free inside the box and slams it home.
GOAL!! 4-0 Adam Cowan gets his second, again set up by Dominic Rowe.
Substitutions: Otago - Michael Flaws and Brad Scott come on for Croydon Wheeler and Richard Smith.
GOAL!!! It's 5-0. Dominic Rowe gets on the scoresheet himself after setting up a couple. Drew the keeper and put it to his right.
Substitution for Manawatu: Roydhuse replaced by Tim Richardson
Substitution for Otago: Ben Keat replaced by Robbie Deeley
Substitution for Manawatu: Osea Vakatalesau comes off for Gouzalo Nieres can he get among the goalscoring action?
GOAL!! Yes he can! 6-0. A Gouzalo Nieres header finds the back of the net.
Fulltime - A comprensive victory for YoungHeart takes them temporarily into 4th place on the table. Meanwhile, a long trip for Otago just got longer.