Waikato FC’s closest brush with trophy success came in 2004-05 season when the Declan Edge-coached outfit qualified for the ASB Premiership playoffs.
The Hamilton-based club were swept aside 4-1 by Waitakere United on that occasion but would expect fewer problems taking on a Manawatu side that has yet to win a game this season.
Waikato FC will be without skipper Adam Thomas and midfield maestro Jason Hicks, both players are on international duty with the New Zealand U-23 side at the OFC Olympic Football tournament qualifiers.
Waikato FC defeated Hawke’s Bay United 2-0 in its first match while the Bay eased by YoungHeart Manawatu 5-0. Hawke’s Bay’s finals hopes rely on a highly unlikely upset win for YoungHeart Manawatu, a scenario that would see the Bay sneak through to the final on goal difference with all three teams level on three points.
Intriguingly, YoungHeart Manawatu did manage a 2-2 draw with Waikato FC in the ASB Premiership so may view the showdown in Taupo as a rare opportunity to go one better. Another boost for Manawatu is the news that striker Suele Soromon –who was sent off in the ASB Premiership defeat to Team Wellington on Sunday – remains eligible for this match.
Introduced to give the six clubs not involved in the O-League competitive football where gaps previously existed in the season, the White Ribbon Cup has already discovered its first finalist after Team Wellington won the Southern Conference pool.
The Matt Calcott-coached side thrashed Otago United 6-1 and Canterbury United 3-0 to take top spot and face the Southern Conference winner in the White Ribbon Cup final on April 1, 2012.
The competition supports White Ribbon, a campaign to raise awareness of men’s violence against women - which in New Zealand is generally directed at wives, girlfriends and other intimate partners.
Waikato FC and YoungHeart Manawatu play at Owen Delaney Park in Taupo with the action getting underway at 2pm on Saturday.
Visit www.asbpremiership.co.nz for full previews, reviews and live in-game updates from all ASB Premiership matches.
Saturday 17 March, 2012
White Ribbon Cup
YoungHeart Manawatu v Waikato FC
At Owen Delaney Park, Taupo
Referee: Nick WALDRON
Previous Result: Waikato FC 2, Hawke’s Bay United 0 – Round 1
Waikato FC Form: W
Players: Adam THOMAS and Jason HICKS are withdrawn for international duty with the New Zealand U-23 team ahead of the OFC Olympic Football tournament qualifiers in Taupo. Mohammed AIDED is drafted into the squad as cover. Coach Declan EDGE will omit one player ahead of Saturday’s crunch match.
Vital statistics: Waikato FC require at least a draw to qualify for the White Ribbon Cup final with Team Wellington on April 1. Their last encounter with YoungHeart Manawatu finished in a 2-2 draw. That was in the ASB Premiership.
Squad: 1- Mark FULCHER (GK), 2- Tyler LISSETTE, 3-Jess SMITH, 4- Mohammed AWAD, 6- Mike KRAMER, 8- Matteo BALLAN, 9- Michael MAYNE, 12- Danyon DRAKE (GK), 14- Josh GREENE, 15- Jesse EDGE, 17- Dan LOOKER, 18- Mohammed AIDED, 19- Harry EDGE, 21- Tyler BOYD, 23- Jordan SHAW, 24- Ryan THOMAS – one to be omitted.
Coach: Declan EDGE.
YoungHeart Manawatu Form: L
Previous result: Hawke’s Bay United 5, YoungHeart Manawatu 0 – Round 1
Players: The injured Jamie O’CONNOR is suspended after his red card in the defeat to Hawke’s Bay United. Seule SORMON is eligible despite his red card in the ASB Premiership defeat to Team Wellington on Sunday. Several players are under an injury cloud and coach Stu JACOBS may be forced into wholesale change ahead of the match. Jordan MARTENS is injured.
Vital statistics: YoungHeart Manawatu remains winless in a barren season so far. However, a low scoring upset victory for Manawatu would see all three teams in the Northern Conference finish level on three points and open the door to the final for Hawke’s Bay United.
Squad: 1- Ben WILKES (GK), 2- Hamish McKAY, 3- Josh CHETTLEBURGH, 6- Matt KENNEDY, 8- Nathan COOKSLEY, 9- Seule SOROMON, 12- Michael SHERIDAN, 14- Pablo MOYA, 15- Stuart LAWRIE, 16- Michael FRASER, 18- Barry LEWIS, 19- Andrew DRAKE (GK), 21- Tom MOSQUERA, 24- Michael McKNIGHT, 25- Izaia BURSTON.
Coach: Stu JACOBS.