Hawke's Bay United
NZFC - Round 6, Park Island, Sat 8 December 2007
Graham Fyfe 3
Dave Walker 26
Halftime: 2-1 Referee: Neil Fox Crowd: 900
by Hamish Bidwell at Bluewater Stadium
Hawke's Bay United have more talent in their squad than they have for some time. But are they really any better?
Well, we got our answer at Bluewater Stadium tonight, when they beat Canterbury United 2-1.
They are better and Canterbury showed it, in the sense that Danny Halligan's side are where Hawke's Bay were a year ago. Young, keen, hard-working but perhaps not in danger of winning all that often.
You get the sense Halligan won't have cause to be grumpy with his players many times this season. How can you when they're giving you all they've got?
Canterbury are an admirable side and they didn't lose to Hawke's Bay because they were significantly worse. They lost because they're just a year behind them in their development.
Hawke's Bay have always hoped and tried to win; now they're learning to as well. They weren't brilliant today, but they won. A year ago they wouldn't have.
"I think it's a great win. We didn't play particularly well, but we did enough," Gould said.
"It was a big win for us, mentally, because it puts a cushion between us and Manawatu and means the other teams have to win two now to catch us. We've got to go to Waikato now with that same hatchet mentality.
"I'm delighted with the outcome."
As he was with the start, which saw Graham Fyfe score in the third minute, after a Sam Jenkins long ball released Jarrod Smith, whose cross found his captain unmarked. Canterbury simply couldn't live with the pace of Hawke's Bay's front men, Smith, Jeremy Brockie and Stu Wilson, and a deluge of goals looked possible.
Twenty-three minutes later a goal did come; only it was Dave Walker scoring it for the visitors. Hawke's Bay responded four minutes later, when Smith was a again the provider, this time for Wilson, after Fyfe had sent Smith screaming down the right.
In the 35th minute, Hawke's Bay were caught square at the back again, as Blair Scoullar latched on to a ball over the top to slot past Mitch O'Brien in goal. It looked a pretty good goal but, for the second time in as many matches at Bluewater Stadium, linesman Conrad Dickinson-Burrows felt otherwise, flagging Scoullar for offside.
"I thought it was harsh and that he'd held his run quite well," Halligan said.
"The linesman is obviously in a good position, but I thought it was touch-and-go. It was a well-taken goal, but that's the way she goes sometimes."
While not happy to lose once again, Halligan was fairly positive about things.
"I thought it was a very evenly-contested game and we're a bit disappointed not to have taken something out of it," he said.
"We worked really hard and we're improving. We've just got to hang in there. We're very young and we're going to have to rely on workrate and sometimes the ball just doesn't bounce your way.
"No-one likes losing, but I know that if we can get a result in our next couple of matches then things can turn around very quickly. That was probably our best effort so far and we played good football and created chances.
"But, yeah, the players do need a bit of reward for their efforts."
Canterbury's last chance of reward before Christmas is away to YoungHeart Manawatuon Sunday while Hawke's Bay travel to Hamilton to face Waikato on the same day.
Photos: John Cowpland www.alphapix.co.nz
Hawke's Bay United
NZFC - Round 6, Park Island
Saturday 8 December 2007 Kickoff 5pm
1. Mitch O'Brien (GK)
1. Adam Highfield (GK)
3. Cole Peverley
2. Glenn Squire (off 80)
4. Greig Henslee
3. Andy Pitman
5. Campbell Parkin
4. Bill Robertson
6. Ian Hogg
8. Blair Scoullar
7. Stu Wilson (off 77)
9. Dave Walker (off 61)
10. Jeremy Brockie (off 66)
10. Stu Kelly
11. Graham Fyfe
11. Tom Lancaster
19. Jonathan Taylor
12. Jeremy Wild
20. Sam Jenkins
17. Ryan Faichnie
25. Jarrod Smith
19. Matt Boyd
2. Chris Davies (on 77)
5. Micahel Bothwell
9. Sam Messam (on 66)
7. Michael Fifii (on 61)
15. Stuart Hogg
21. Sam Jasper (on 80)
16. Jimmy Cudd
24. Danny Halligan
23. Scott Dunn (RGK)
=2 yellow cards
= red card
We apologise for the technical difficulties currently preventing live updates from Park Island. We are endeavouring to sort them out and resume normal coverage as soon as possible. Thanks, nzfc.co.nz
GOAL! 1-0 - We still have issues with our feed from Napier but Hawke's Bay have scored an early goal. Jarrod Smith latches on to a Sam Jenkins long ball, crosses for Graham Fyfe who gets the Bay off to a flyer.
GOAL! 1-1 Game on! Dave Walker puts Canterbry back on level terms after rounding the keeper one-on-one.
GOAL! 2-1 Bay back in front thanks to Stu Wilson. Fyfe provides the long ball to Smith this time, who tees up Wilson for the lead.
Blair Scoullar rounds the keeper and slots it home but turns to find the linesman has flagged him for offside and what would have been the equaliser is disallowed.
HALFTIME: The first half comes to a close with Hawke's Bay United ahead 2-1. Hawke's Bay would close the gap on Waitakere in third place if it stays like this but Canterbury aren't making it easy.
A quarter of an hour into the second spell and it's still 2-1. It's fairly scrappy with not even a card to spice it up.
Yellow Card - Cole Peverley is the first name in the referee's little book for a crucnching challenge on Dave Walker that leaves the Englishman needing attention.
SUB - Canterbury: Walker has been replaced by Michael Fifii for Canterbury.
SUB - Hawke's Bay: Sam Messam comes on for Jeremy Brockie.
SUB - Hawke's Bay: Chris Davies on for Stu Wilson.
Sam Messam has missed a great chance to bury the game. Is put through one-on-one with the keeper but botches it.
SUB - Canterbury: Sam Jasper is on for Glenn Squire
It's all over here at Bluewater Stadium at Napier's Park Island, with Hawke's Bay United finising 2-1 winners after a scoreless second stanza. Hawke's Bay are fourth on goal difference while Canterbury, still winless, are in seventh.
Match report and photos to follow.