Hawke's Bay United
NZFC - Round 5, Kiwitea Street,
Sunday December 7, 2008
Chad Coombes 50
Leon Birnie 15
Halftime: 0-1 Referee: Matthew Conger Crowd: 330
by Bob Pearce at Kiwitea Street
Auckland City gave their departing coach Colin Tuaa a winning send-off when they beat Hawke’s Bay United 3-1 at Kiwitea St.
Before kick-off Tuaa tendered his resignation midway through his second year as coach and on the back of two losses in a row.
He had criticised the lack of urgency in his team earlier in the week but they stormed on to the attack from the start and only a stunning double save by goalkeeper Mitch O'Brien denied Paul Urlovic a goal in the first couple of minutes.
But, as has happened so often this season, the momentum stalled and hesitancy between goalie Ross Nicholson and defender Ivan Vicelich allowed Leon Birnie a chance in the 15th minute and he capitalised with a deft chip over Nicholson.
It wasn't until the 50th minute that Auckland were back on terms. A goalmouth scramble saw Grant Young slip the ball to Chad Coombes as he fell and Coombes scored from close range.
Five minutes later Auckland were ahead in controversial circumstances. Young was judged to have been fouled by Graham Fyfe and Urlovic converted the penalty. Fyfe received a yellow card and Bay coach Jonathan Gould was banished for his protests.
In the 80th minute Urlovic sealed the deal for Auckland with some nifty footwork to slip home a cross from Matt Williams.
The win moves Auckland City to the top of the table on goal difference from Waikato and Manawatu and avoided an unprecedented three losses on the trot. Their next commitment is an O-League fixture against Port Vila in Vanuatu next weekend.
Auckland chairman Ivan Vuksich said Tuaa had personal reasons for his resignation but he was also under pressure. The club had not been impressed that Ivan Vicelich had played 90 minutes for the Oceania All Stars on Saturday when the understanding was that he would play only 45.
Tuaa said he had resigned with mixed emotions and he was not prepared to use some of the personal challenges he has as an excuse.
"I think we were looking at different things," he said, "and maybe it was best for both sides."
He acknowledged that his team had shown more urgency but had also missed two early chances from five yards.
"I thought they showed a lot of spirit and I thought Jonathon Raj on his debut showed he is a player of the future."
Coach Gould was measured in his response to what he believed was a poor refereeing display, but said he didn't want to take anything away from the game.
"We rode our luck early on and got a great breakaway goal. We lost our shape for a while but we came back strongly in the last 15 minutes.
"I was upset that Andrew Abba got booked for diving because that says he's a cheat and he's not."
Photos Shane Wenzlick www.phototek.co.nz
Hawke's Bay United
1 Ross Nicholson (GK)
1 Mitch O'Brien (GK)
3 Matt Friel
2 Chris Davies (Geary 89)
5 Matt Williams
4 Greig Henslee (Kim 63)
6 Ki-Hyung Lee
5 Campbell Parkin
8 Chad Coombes (Kumar 56)
6 Che Bunce
9 Paul Urlovic
8 Chris McIvor
10 Grant Young (Nikolic 71)
9 Daniel Kirkup
15 Ivan Vicelich (Suri 85)
11 Graham Fyfe
20 Greg Uhlmann
12 James Oxtoby
23 Liam Mulrooney
13 Leon Birnie (Soromon 71)
26 Jonathon Raj
19 Andrew Abba
4 Sam Campbell
3 Alex Barlow
12 Jacob Spoonley (RGK)
10 Seule Soromon
16 George Suri
17 David Geary
19 Salesh Kumar
21 Woo Jae Kim
24 Milos Nikolic
23 Shaun Peta (RGK)
=2 yellow cards
= red card
Sensation before kickoff. Auckland coach Colin Tuaa has tendered his resignation.
Brilliant sunshine. Auckland playing with the breeze
Brilliant save by O'Brien as Urlovic fsatens on to cross.
One-two between Lee and Young foiled by goalie
Yellow card Wiliams for rash tackle
Strong run by Chris Davies but shot weak
GOAL! Leon Birnie capitalises on hesitancy between Nicholson and Vicelich and lobs into net over goalie.
Cross by Mulrooney centimetres off Urlovic's boot.
Yellow card Coombes for kicking ball away.
Lee freekick hits upright
Birnie corner finds Fyfe but drifts wide
Hawkes Bay a goal ahead at the break
Young floored in penalty area but Mulrooney blasts over top with goal at his mercy
GOAL! Coombes finishes goalmouth scramble after Young supplies telling pass.
Young fouled by Fyfe. Penalty. Yellow card Fyfe. GOAL! Urlovic converts penalty
Substitution Kumar for Coombes
Hawkes Bay coach red carded for protests.
Young just wide
Yellow card Parkin. Substitution Nikolic on for Young, Soromon on for Birnie
Yellow for Kumar.
GOAL! Urlovic backheels cross from Williams. 3-1
Sub Suri on for Vicelich
90 mins plus
Hawkes Bay force two corners but no reward. Final whistle 3-1.