NZFC - Round 21, Kiwitea Street, Sunday 6 April, 2008
Sam Campbell 17
Darren Cheriton 20
Halftime: 2-1 Referee: Mike Hester Crowd: 998
by Bob Pearce at Kiwitea Street
Keryn Jordan was the centrefold picture in the programme for the Auckland City clash with Wellington at Kiwitea St on Sunday and he was the poster boy when the home team won 3-2 to snatch second place in the New Zealand Football Championship.
The photograph clearly shows the scars from the cancer operation the South African-born striker endured over Christmas and it is a tribute to his skill and determination that in the 94th minute of the game he fastened on to a pass by fellow South African Grant Young and scored the winning goal.
At that stage Auckland were down to 10 men after Chad Coombes had been sent off for a second yellow card and the home supporters were almost resigned to seeing their team finish third and have to trek to Wellington for the preliminary final.
Jordan's magical goal - and it would be hard to find anyone who didn't celebrate for him - means Wellington have to come back to Kiwitea St next Saturday to battle for a place in the final against Waitakere United.
Auckland had opened the scoring in the 17th minute when young defender Sam Campbell stabbed home a loose ball after a poorly cleared corner. Wellington were level almost immediately as Darren Cheriton's left-foot shot from the edge of the penalty area eluded Tamati Williams' despairing dive.
But when Young in the 39th minute expertly converted a chance after the Wellington defence had been carved up by Bryan Little, Auckland seemed to be in control.
Wellington's equaliser was controversial. They were awarded a freekick 28 metres out on the left of the goal in the 68th minute. Auckland goalkeeper Tamati Williams was organising his wall when Raf De Gregorio curled a perfect shot into the net. Williams' protests that the whistle hadn't gone were dismissed and he received a yellow card for his trouble.
The visitors appeared to have the draw they needed under control over the closing stages and they appeared to reject chances to attack the goal.
Four minutes of time added on had almost expired when with 15 seconds to go Young and Jordan combined to conjure up a winner.
"I'm over the moon," said Auckland coach Colin Tuaa. "Who could ask more than a finish like that and that particular player to score the winner.
"I thought we were well in control until we conceded that second goal. But we showed a lot of steel to keep battling with 10 men. It is a perfect tonic for next week."
Wellington coach Stu Jacobs was very disappointed and he was adamant his team hadn't paid the price for being overly defensive when they equalised.
"I think we were a bit stretched and we compacted a bit," he said. "We got some fresh legs on and put them under pressure.
"We were well worth the point and I think they were very lucky to come out with three points. But we've got to learn to win when we're playing at Auckland. Now we've got to win next week and then take the grand final."
Photos: Shane Wenzlick www.phototek.co.nz
12 Tamati Williams (GK)
24 Phil Imray (GK)
2 Joel Mathews
6 Adam Birch (c)
6 Ki-Hyung Lee
19 Sean Douglas
8 Chad Coombes
21 Cole Tinkler
10 Grant Young (c)
5 Peter Howe
14 Keryn Jordan
14 Darren Cheriton
16 George Suri
16 Raf De Gregorio
22 Bryan Little
17 Wiremu Patrick
19 Salesh Kumar
10 Luis Corrales
24 Sam Campbell
9 Daniel Ellensohn
27 John Niyonsaba
15 Graham Little
1 Mark Fulcher (RGK)
1 Sasha Nathur (RGK)
9 Paul Urlovic
18 Peter Halstead
15 Jeff Campbell
13 Karl Whalen
23 Chan-Goo Yoon
3 Steve Gulley
25 Adam McGeorge
7 Sam Blackburn
=2 yellow cards
= red card
Warm and cloudy with hardly any breeze for this key encounter. The home supporters are a bit apprehensive.
We're off with Auckland playing towards the clubhouse
Freekick on edge of penalty area when Birch fouls Young. Headed clear
Young closes on goal but shoots weakly
Jordan tries to lob Imray, who saves well
GOAL! Sam Campbell scores from loose ball after left-wing corner
Freekick on edge of area. De Gregorio's curling shot brilliantly saved by Williams
GOAL! Wellington make quick reply as shot from edge of area by Cheriton finds corner of the goal.
Yellow card for Suri after late tackle.
GOAL! Young scores after Bryan Little carves through Wellington defence
Kumar shot brilliantly saved by Imray
No stoppages so we have halftime dead on 45 at 2-1 to Auckland
Substitution Wellington Karl Whalen on for Cole Tinkler
Yellow card Douglas for foul on Young. Freekick wide.
Yellow card Young
Substitution Suri off McGeorge on
Wellington substitution Halstead on for Ellensohn , Auckland sub Jeff Campbell on for Bryan Little
GOAL! De Gregorio fires directly from 38 m freekick as Williams worries about marking. Williams gets yellow for dissent
Auckland substitution: Urlovic on for Niyonsaba
Sub Wellington: Corrales off, Blackburn on.
Yellow card Coombes for rash tackle.
RED CARD! Coombes gets second yellow for another rash tackle. McGeorge gets yellow for dissent
Patrick shot well saved by Williams
Four minutes time added
90 plus 3
Patrick narrowly over top.
90 plus four
GOAL 15 seconds to go Jordan fastens on to cross by Young at left post and scores to put Auckland into second place, hosting a home final.