Hawke's Bay United
NZFC - Round 18, Park Island, 15 March
Darren Cheriton 49
Halftime: 0-0 Referee: Neil Fox Crowd: 600
by Hamish Bidwell at Bluewater Stadium
First, a confession.
Your correspondent had a long and late evening and had to dash from Wellington to get here in time for kickoff.
And, come fulltime here today, it was hard not to wonder if you were still in some Blair Street bar.
Three-nil it finished in favour of Team Wellington over Hawke's Bay United, yet the result doesn't tally with what you thought was happening in front of you. For large parts of the match, particularly in the second half, Hawke's Bay were the better team.
They had the most possession, created the real goal-scoring opportunities and still copped a 3-0 hiding. Can that make sense, or was there something lurking in the bottom of the beer handed to me by the comely girl behind the bar?
Asked if the score tallied with the game, Hawke's Bay coach Jonathan Gould was strangley lost for words.
''I think second half, we probably had all of the game and they scored all the goals; it was as simple as that,'' Gould said, after a lengthy deliberation.
''We probably had five very, very good chances in the second half and didn't take them. That's the frustration for all of us and, if we are looking towards next season, we probably need a proven goal scorer because, everywhere else, we're probably good enough.
''They've had three shots and scored two goals and it was a perverse result really, but what can you do?''
Graham Little got enough contact to claim the first. Initial confusion as to whether his header put the ball over the line or whether the goal was actually scored by a Hawke's Bay defender was cleared up by match officials who confirmed that Darren Cheriton's shot has crossed the line before Little got there.
The ball hit the underside of the crossbar and as it turned out had gone in, although a subsequent header by a defender made sure of it.
Jonathan Taylor put the second into his own net, before Peter Halstead lashed home a volley in the third minute of added time.
While not jumping for joy at his team's performance, Wellington's Stu Jacobs had no problem with the result.
''You're never going to be entirely satisfied and if you came away and said 'that was a perfect performance from us' you'd be kidding yourself; no matter who we were playing,'' Jacobs said.
''They probably had a couple of good chances, just after we'd scored. Up until then, it was a bit of an arm wrestle, I thought.
''I just think we stepped up our intensity in the second half, although when they pushed Hoggy (Ian Hogg) forward, they caused us a few problems. They're fourth in the league and we're third, so it was always going to be close and we're pleased to have won.
''We had some changes today with no Sean Douglas, no Karl Whalen and no Raf de Gregorio and they're some pretty key players. We've cemented ourselves in the playoffs now and we've just got to make sure we're right for Auckland and Waitakere.''
Photo: John Cowpland www.alphapix.co.nz
Hawke's Bay United
1 Mitch O'Brien
24 Phil Imray
12 Dean Johnston
3 Steve Gulley (off 80)
19 Jonathan Taylor
4 Jamie Farrington
2 Chris Davies (24)
6 Adam Birch
6 Ian Hogg
9 Daniel Ellensohn (41) (off 54)
8 Chris McIvor
10 Luis Corrales
4 Greig Henslee (off 64)
14 Darren Cheriton
13 Leon Birnie
17 Wiremu Patrick (39)
11 Graham Fyfe
21 Cole Tinkler
17 David Gearey (off 56)
26 Alan Chote (off 64)
15 Stuart Hogg (off 64)
15 Graham Little (18)
5 Campbell Parkin
1 Sacha Nathu
7 Stu Wilson
7 Sam Blackburn (on 80)
9 Sam Messam (on 56)
22 Tim Schaeffers (on 64)
10 Jeremy Brockie (on 64)
18 Peter Halstead (on 54)
14 Chris Greatholder (on 64)
=2 yellow cards
= red card
Welcome to Bluewater Stadium. Hawke's Bay playing from the Napier end.
The Bay making all the early running. Phil Imray gets doen well at Stu Hogg's feet, after a neat Leon Birnie ball.
Graham Little plays Daniel Ellensohn through, whose shots skews off the outside of his left foot and wide. Best chance thus far.
David Gearey turns Jamie Farrington. Shot hits side-netting.
You sense a goal isn't far off. As does Chris Davies, who's urging his HB teammates to pull finger.
Neil Fox shows Little a yellow card, for the usual mouthy stuff.
Yellow card for Davies. Wellington freekick on right edge of the box. Comes to nought.
Gone to custard a bit, this game. Ellensohn clips one wide, after a clever pass from Luis Corrales.
Yellow card for Wiremu Patrick.
Patrick's yellow was for a harmless professional foul, now Ellensohn has seen yellow too. Ugly challenge and he's had his card coming to him for some time.
We seem to be lurching from one Wellington foul to the next. Adam Birch the guilty party this time.
Nil-all. Hopefully a game of football will break out at some stage. There was some useful stuff played early, but the last few minutes have been a kickathon, with Wellington doing most of the kicking.
GOAL! Hard to see if it was Little or an own-goal. Cross, Mitch O'Brien claimed a ''hand of God'' from Little. Ball may or may not have crossed the line, but then definitely went in off a defender. Fox appeared to award it after the contact from Little.
HB respond immediately, with Chris McIvor mising a virtually open goal.
Home team having, by far, their best period. Shame they needed to concede to do it.
Peter Halstead on for Ellensohn.
GOAL! Definite og this time, with Jonathan Taylor turning the ball into his own net. Big Sam Messam on for Gearey, a sub they had been trying to make for minutes and, one that was signalled by the assistant referee, just prior to Wellington getting number two.
Ian Hogg alone at back post and scuffs shot wide. Looked a certain goal.
Free header for the excellent Davies, from a corner. Had to hit the target. Jeremy Brockie comes in for Greig Henslee and Chris Greatholder for Stu Hogg. Wellington counter with Tim Schaeffers replacing Alan Chote.
Second yellow for Davies an he's off. Things turning to mud for HB.
Hand on heart, HB have had the best chances and now they could get flogged.
O'Brien called upon to make his first save, from Corrales shot.
Sam Blackburn on for Steve Gulley.
We're having three added minutes. Messam volleys at Imray. Not Hb's day, this one.
Fyfe has shot blocked.
90 plus 2
GOAL! Halstead snap volley to make it 3-0 and cap a miserable day for the home folk.
Hard to see how it happened really. Stu Jacobs will be a disappointed with his outfit and yet they've won 3-0. Funny old game, football.