NZFC - Round 6,
December 14, 2008
Luis Corrales 89
Stu Kelly 52
Halftime: Referee: Crowd:
by Gordon Irving at Newtown Park
Otago United headed back to Dunedin this evening in a state of disbelief after taking a point in a one all draw with Team Wellington in the New Zealand Football Championship.
They had just dominated a game they should have won, but almost lost and in the end drew in the most bizarre fashion deep into injury time.
Things started normally enough and after a brisk start from Wellington, Otago settled into their work and controlled much of the first half.
In Tom Jackson Otago have a player with an arsenal of attacking weapons. Not only can he cause problems in opposing defences when he has the ball at his feet but he possesses a throw in that gives goalkeepers and defenders palpitations they are so long and deep into the oppositions penalty area. On two or three occasions in the first half Phil Imray and the Team Wellington defenders were scrambling to clear their lines as Jackson dropped some scuds in their midst.
And Otago should have gone in front midway through the opening spell as the ball fell to Stu Kelly in plenty of space in the Wellington penalty area. It was really just a case of picking his spot but instead he lifted high over Imray’s bar.
That should have been warning enough for Wellington but Otago kept control of the game and took the lead early in the second spell.
Imray tried to kick clear but an injury to his side meant his kick dropped to Kelly some 35 metres from goal. With little hesitation Kelly tried his luck and with Imray struggling with his injury unable to get back across his goal, Kelly’s shot nestled in the corner of the net to give Otago a deserved lead.
It was like that for the rest of the match with Otago dominating and looking the more likely to increase their lead rather than Wellington equalise.
But what a great game football is and with a minute remaining on the clock everything changed and what was a stroll in the sun for Otago almost became a horror show.
Brian Little, who had made few inroads throughout the game lobbed a ball forward and it fell into that dangerous area halfway between striker and goalkeeper. Wellington striker Luis Corrales beat Otago keeper Liam Little to the bouncing ball and his touch round the keeper allowed him the simplest of tap ins for the equaliser.
That was hardly deserved but deep into injury time Wellington should have won it.
Little went on a brilliant solo run into the heart of the Otago area and got to the bye line before dragging the ball back to Peter Halstead in front of an open net and just a metre or two out. But instead of tucking it away, taking the three points and discussing afterwards how lucky they were to win, Halstead conspired to drag the shot centimetres wide of the upright. Honestly it was harder to miss than to score.
So 1-1 it finished and stand in Wellington coach Charlie Howe was honest in his summing up.
“It would have been cruel to win the game as Otago didn’t deserve that.”
“They played really well but we didn’t play any football at all. We handed the goal to them but to be fair they deserved the lead. We didn’t turn up today and it’s been like that all season really as we seem to need something drastic to happen before we get going,” said Howe.
“We could easily have lost today and had no complaints as too many key players went missing.”
In the opposing dressing room Otago’s Terry Phelan was confused as to his emotions.
“We had 70 % of possession today and we deserved to win but in the end we could have lost it and we probably should be happy to have come away from Wellington with a draw.”
“But if we’re going to give silly goals away through basic errors we will get punished, it’s been happening to us all season.”
“We deserved the three points today but we’ve got to stop making excuses for not winning games,” said Phelan.
Photos by Marty Melville
1. Phil Imray (GK)
1. Liam Little
3. Steve Gulley
3. Tristan Prattley
8. Peter Howe
4. Barry Gardiner
9. Ross McKenzie
5. Colin Falvey
10. Luis Corrales
6. Mike Smith
11. Bryan Little
9. Tom Jackson
13. Karl Whalen
10. David Dugdale
14. Sam Jenkins
11. Andy Coburn
16. Pedro Garcias
17. Tim Horner
18. Peter Halstead
20. John Chisholm
22. Adam Birch (Captain)
21. Stu Kelly
15. Allen Chote
12. Aaron Burgess
19. Craig Alderdice
13. Callum Flaws (RGK)
21. Tim Schaeffers
14. Tom Conner
25. Paul Whitmarsh
22. Morgan Day
24. James McPeake (RGK)
=2 yellow cards
= red card
Welcome to Newtown Park where Team Wellington take on Otago United. Wellington, under stand-in coach Charlie Howe, can go top of teh table if they get maximum return while Otago can move to within three of the leaders - and probably put some daylight between themselves and Canterbury if they can manufacture an upset. Former Canterbury midfielder Stu Kelly makes his Otago debut after splitting with the Dragons a few weeks back.
After numerous internet problems we are finally up and going. Plenty of activity in and around the Otago area but no shots of note as yet. It's one way traffic though.
Long range effort from TW's Peter Halstead but it's high and wide
The ball runs free to Otago's Stu Kelly on the TW penalty spot, he must score but he doesn't even hit the target as the shot flies over the bar. Wasteful
Otago have their own long throw specialist as Tom Jackson's mammoth throw lands in the middle of the TW area and is punched clear by Phil Imray. That's huge!
Another whopper from Jackson and this one reaches the back post but is headed clear by TW
Little quality in the game, just a lot of huff and puff but Otago are slowly getting back into it and a lovely ball down the insidfe right channel sends Barry Gardner away. His first attempt is an air kick and his second flies over the bar
This time Jackson uses his feet and not his hands and a cracking shot whistles just wide of Imray's post. It's all Otago
Jackson is all over this game, this time he's booked by referee Jamie Cross. The first booking of the game
Kelly has another attempt for Otago but his left foot effort is weak and easily picked up by Imray. TW not offering much after a bright start
Another mammoth throw from Jackson and the ball fals on the edge of the area for Barry Gardner whose snatch shot goes wide. Only one tewam looking likely and it's not TW
At last some life for TW as Little lets fly from distance and his shot is tipped away by Liam Little. From the corner Peter How heads over
The whistle goes for halftime at Newtown and there's no score
Back underway at Newtown
Free kick to Otago almost at the corner flag. Gardner takes it and lays it back to Kelly on the edge of the box and his shot is tipped onto the bar and away for a corner
GOAL! 1-0. Dreadful kick from Imray and Kelly hits it back from all of 35 metres and Imray can't get back across goal and Kelly's shot nestles in the corner. 1-0 Otago and it's deserved
Otago deserve the lead. TW have been very flat and appear lacking in ideas and any real creativity going forward. SUB for TW Garcias off and Chote on
Dangerous free kick for Otago just outside the TW area but the shot is very poor. Still nothing of note from TW
Another effort from Otago as Prattley hits a snap shot over and two TW players go dowen in a heap. I think they tackled each other. Not much point in that.
Halfway through the second half and it's looking unlikely that TW will get back into this. Otago are playing very well and deserve their lead
Little takes a TW free kick from the sideline and much like Wellington's all round performance it is poor and drifts harmlessly over the Otago bar. Poor stuff
What's this? An effort on goal from TW but McKenzie's effort shaves the bar. Second booking for Otago as Kelly goes in the book
Otago are doing it easily really. Continue like this for another 15 minutes and the points are going south tonight
Into the last ten minutes and Otago's in cruise control. Corner for Otago but easily cleared. SUB for TW with Whitmarsh on for Jenkins and a sub for Otago as well but number 18 isn't on the list. We think it's Tom Connor
sub for Otago Dugdale off for Aaron Burgess
GOAL! 1-1 Where did that come from? A hopeful ball forward falls into that dangerous area between keeper and striker and Luis Corrales gets a boot to it first and in the end has an easy tap in. Don't know if that's deserved.
WHAT A MISS! Little delivers the ball on a plate to Peter Halstead who only has to tap in. But he puts it past the post. That takes some skill to miss from there. How could he miss it. And that's the game. From the goalkick the whistle blows for fulltime and it's 1-1.