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Team Wellington

Otago United


NZFC - Round 13, Newtown Park,  Sunday, February 10, 2008


Steve Gulley 73




Halftime: 0-0                      Referee:   Antony Reilly                            Crowd: 


Team Wellington get the points - in the end

by Gordon Irving at Newtown Park

Steve Gulley's goal proved teh difference bewteen the two sides at Newtown Park. Photo: Marty MelvileOtago United coach Terry Phelan left Newtown Park a frustrated man this afternoon. He had watched (injury forced him to the sideline after just 17 minutes) his side battle hard against a Wellington team lying third in the table, but in the end headed home with no points.

In a largely uninspiring game, Team Wellington had to rely on a second half winner from fullback Steve Gulley to keep them on the tail of Auckland and Waitakere.

Today’s match resembled the one between Wellington and another struggler, Canterbury, a week ago. A game with a lot of endeavour, but little quality football played and Phelan let it be known after the game that things are a bit of a struggle in the deep south.

“Before we start can I just day something. I’ve been in the game a long time and when people slaughter South Island teams and say all the best players are in the North Island and in particular Auckland, can I just say that we know that.”

Wellington's Adam Birch slides into Andy Coburn. Photo: Marty Melville“I have 14 players in there (the dressing room) who have worked their socks off against a team that’s third in the league. We defended well but we have to be better in front of goal.”

Temperatures were again warm in the capital for the three o’clock kick off but misty morning rain and drizzle throughout the game made the playing surface slippery, causing a number of players to lose their footing.

Wellington began the match with top scorer Graham Little on the bench due to illness and a knock picked up in the loss to Auckland on Waitangi Day. He left a big gap.

Wellington’s first half tactics appeared to be to get the ball up to lanky striker Peter Halstead but with little support for the big man, the game plan floundered.

Jacobs made the expected change at halftime by replacing Brazilian import Caue Benicio with Little and almost immediately it had an effect. Wellington were able to get wide and round the back of the fullbacks and Little helped create three opportunities in the opening moments of the second half.

Kevin Taylor oujmps Peter Halstead to win the batle of the tall timber. Photo: Marty MelvilleHowever Wellington’s failure to convert their chances left Otago with hope and for spell midway through the second half, the visitors looked like they could sneak a goal.

That was until Gulley scored the match winner in the 72nd minute. After good work from Little the ball was laid back to Gulley who cracked his effort high into the Otago net. It should have been 2-0 moments later as Corrales was set free down the right flank after nice play from de Gregorio. Corrales thundered into the box and lifted his effort over Liam Little in the Otago goal for what appeared to be 2-0 and game over. But Halstead touched the ball as it crossed the line and the assistant’s flag was instantly raised for offside.

Another effort from Little came crashing back off the bar but outside of that the game trailed off leaving Stu Jacobs a delighted coach.

“It’s a good win for two reason – number one it gives us a ten point buffer and number two there won’t be too many teams that will get points off Otago in the run in to the season.”

Team Wellington have the weekend off next week and don’t play at home again until March 8.

What the coaches said:

Team Wellington coach Stu Jacobs

“It’s a good win for two reason – number 1 it gives us a ten point buffer and number 2 there won’t be too many teams that will get points off Otago in the run in to the season.”

“You can allow yourself to get frustrated but at halftime the boys were confirdent and we talked to them about sticking to the game plan and it would come.”

“Graham Little was unwell yesterday and we changed the formation but we were unable to get people in behind and that was why I made the change. But I’m delighted with this result.

Otago coach Terry Phelan

“Before we start can I just day something. I’ve been in the game a long time and when people slaughter South Island teams and say all the best players are in the North Island and in particular Auckland, can I just say that we know that.”

“I have 14 players in there (the dressing room) who have worked their socks off against a team that’s third in the league.”

“When you come to a place like this, number 1 you have to be hard to break down and number 2 you must show composure on the ball. Those boys worked hard but we’ve got to do better individually and at the moment we’re getting the ball and just giving it away. We defended well but we have to be better in front of goal.”

Last week we should have beaten Waitakere, we should have beaten Hawkes Bay and today we could have got a draw. Yeah they had their chances but I bet Stu Jacobs would have been more worried than me.”

“But you can’t keep saying to the players hard luck, hard luck every week. At the end of the day they have to take responsibility.”

Photos: Marty Melville


Team Sheet

Team Wellington


Otago United

GK Phil Imray

GK Liam Little

2 Sam Peters

2 Nick Dale

3 Steve Gulley

3 Terry Phelan (out 17)

6 Adam Birch

5 Kevin Taylor

14 Darren Cheriton (out 64)

6 Terry Alvino

16 Raf de Gregorio

9 John Lang

17 Wiremu Patrick

11 Andy Coburn

18 Peter Halstead

12 Aaron Burgess (out 7)

19 Sean Douglas

15 John Chisholm

20 Caue Benicio (out 46)

16 Jesse Molloy

21 Cole Tinkler

17 Croydon Wheeler (out 49)



1 Simon Shone (RGK)

8 Mike Flaws (in 49)

10 Luis Corrales (in 64)

14 Chad Severs (in 70)

13 Karl Whalen

21 Ben Keat (in 17)

15 Graham Little (in 46)

22 Michael Eager


=yellow card

=2 yellow cards

= red card


Play by Play

It's an overcast day in Wellington for today's clash with Otago. There has been rain in the capital this morning but it's still very warm.

Wellington coach Stu Jacobs has left top scorer Graham Little on the bench for the match. Little picked up a knock in the 2-0 loss to Auckland on Wednesday.

We're underway at Newtown with TW playing from left to right

3' the two teams just sizing each other out in the early stages but TW have the first corner of the match and Adam Birch's header is deflected wide for another corner

4' corner is easily cleared by Otago

6' a chance for Otago as Aaron Burgess sees his header loop over Imray's bar

10' a lot of huff and puff in the middle of the park but little quality football as yet

12' first menacing shot of the afternoon comes in from Benicio. Just outside the box but his effort is narrowly wide. TW starting to build the pressure

15' TW camped just outside the Otago area but unable to create anything dangerous on goal

17' early substitution for Otago. Terry Phelan is off and replaced by Ben Keat

Phelan has had an ice pack applied to his calf

20' neither goalkeeper has been tested as yet and the game is going much as predicted by TW coach Stu Jacobs. His team has a lot of the ball and Otago are defending deep and well. TW have to be patient.

21' Liam Little is tested in the Otago goal from a good effort from Peter Halstead. Little can't hold it but no one following in for TW

24' almost the opener for TW. A free kick is drifted into the area and Douglas glances his header just wide

25' misty rain drifting across Newtown Park and that will be welcome from the players as the temperatures are warm in the capital

29' good skills from Halstead who is put in by de Gregorio down the inside right channel and his shot is deflected wide. Corner comes to nothing for TW

30' TW in control of the match but lacking the speed and guile of Little to get in behind Otago and cause too many problems. Prepare for a switch sooner rather than later from Stu Jacobs  

35' not much happening. Still lots of industry but it's not resulting in anything telling

38' don't know if you're interested in this or not but the drizzle has made the hard surface slick and there's a few players slipping and sliding in their mouldies

39' great chance for TW, Steve Gulley gets to the bye line on the left and his cross is met by Peter Halstead who sees it go narrowly over the bar

41' snap shot from Ben Keat is easily saved by Imray

halftime at Newtown and it's 0-0. Phelan will be happy that his side are still level but a few worries for Jacobs with his side failing to take advantage of the possession they've had.

Substitution for TW, Graham Little on for Benicio

46' the ineffective Benicio is off and as predicted Stu Jacobs has called on Little to add some fire to TW's attack. The game needs a goal it's been pretty laboured so far

49' sub for Otago Flaws on for Wheeler

50' Little is creating problems for Otago since coming on but TW still missing that special something up top

55' Little's shot takes a deflection and is turned around the post by Liam Little in the Otago goal.

57' it's not coming for TW, Steve Gulley is played into the area but he drags his shot wide

60' scrambling defence by TW as Otago mount a rare attack

63' free kick for Otago on the edge of the TW area but Alvino's attempt is straight into the wall

64' sub for Wellington and it's all out attack now with Corrales on for Cheriton

65' Otago are proving too have some attacking power. It may take a TW mistake but this game could be costly for the team in 3rd place. Adam Birch is the first booking of the day

70' this game looks more and more likely of being decided by the only goal (if we're lucky) but it may not be as clear cut for TW as it was in the first half. Otago are in this match

73' GOAL! Steve Gulley opens the scoring for TW as he finishes off a nice move involving Graham Little and hits his shot into the top right corner of the Otago goal. That may calm the nerves

78' unbelieveable decision by the officials. Corrales is put in down the right by de Gregorio and he finishes his run into the box by lifting the ball over Liam Little but the flag goes up as Halstead gets a touch on it on the goalline.

80' ten to go and Otago seem to have lost that fire since the goal. TW seeming more likely to score a second now than Otago to get an equaliser

82' Gulley almost gets a second. While Little, Corrales and de Gregorio argue over a pass that wasn't made, Gulley bursts into the box down the left but his shot is wide

85' nearly the equaliser as TW fail to deal with an Otago cross. Imray's punch is poor but eventually the ball blounces wide

89' Graham Little rattles the Otago bar and Halstead's rebound cannons for a corner

90' time up and a free kick for Otago. Can they scramble an equaliser?

91' no but it's a corner

and it's wasted, TW  get a free kick and will try and run the clock down

A bit of confusion by the players as the ref blows a short whistle but it is all over and TW have the three points they need but it was a lot of hard work. Very little good football and Otago can be proud of their battling efforts. Full time at Newtown Park and TW win 1-0