NZFC - Round 7,
Ngaurawahia, Dec 21 2008
Shaun van Rooyen 44
Halftime: 1-0 Referee: Mike Hester Crowd: 453
by Matt Richens at Ngarauwahia
With their fourth win in a row, Waikato moved to the top of the New Zealand Football Championship.
It might only be for a matter of hours with the Auckland City Canterbury result still in doubt, but thanks to a slick 2-0 win over Team Wellington at Ngaruawahia's Centennial Park, Waikato are enjoying the giddy heights of the top of the table.
There might only be two hours before Auckland City, should they win, go ahead, but a number of Waikato fans were trying to sink as much of the good stuff as possible before then.
One reliable Waikato source suggests the last time a Waikato team topped a national league after more than three rounds was in 1992 - before one of their stars today, Marco Rojas, was even born.
Waikato FC coach Dave Edmondson gave the sensible answers after the game.
"The jobs not half done yet," he said
"It's great to be on top for now, but we have had a good run of home games.
"Don't get me wrong, this is where we want to be, and I wouldn't swap it."
His counterpart, Charlie Howe was gracious in defeat.
"We're pretty disappointed. The lads were pretty flat today. We created more chances than we have in the last couple of games, but nothing fell for us and we couldn't finish.
I thought Waikato were very good today. They had a couple of guys that were impressive, especially the young guy wide right, he was tremendous."
Howe was talking about 17-year-old Marco Rojas who, in his first ever start, was simply brilliant.
A strong run down the flank which stopped as he was trapped by two players then started again as he beat both, then beat a Wellington fullback to come into the box and shoot, eventually set up the first goal which Shaun van Rooyen happily headed home just before halftime.
The ball eventually found Stu Hogg whose chipped cross beat everyone for van Rooyen to head home.
Rojas scored Waikato's second in the 66th minute. With the recovering Steven Holloway came on in the second spell, Rojas had dropped back and found himself unmarked, with the ball 25 yards out.
Waikato had the better of the match through their midfield. Joey Simpkins, Michael Mayne and van Rooyen were strong in the centre of the park and allowed the wider men to run off them and create chances.
When they went to the longer ball style as Wellington got stronger in the middle, they lost their flow.
Wellington, missing seven players either away with the under-20s or injured only dominated in two short spells; the middle of the first half and the last 10 minutes as they put as many as four players up front.
Bryan Little and Luis Corrales played too wide and the Waikato back four had a brilliant game.
After a quick look up, he knocked the bouncing ball into James McPeake's goal with a firm, but well controlled strike.
They, and new keeper Greg Walters have now gone 261 minutes without conceding a goal, something Edmondson was far cheerier about.
"That's something we've worked hard on, if you keep a clean sheet you are always in with a good chance."
Graham Pearce was again strong, but so was Ben Hunt and Joel Matthews.
"Then you've got Strommy (Nathan Strom) and with the others having a good game, and knowing exactly what you are going to get from Nathan, a strong, attacking the ball defender, it's a good set up," Edmondson said.
Howe wouldn't blame the seven absences for the loss, but said there would need to be some serious questions asked when the team gets home.
"It's going to be an uphill battle from here isn't it?"
But if Wellington, who have the quality strike power, can pick up wins against the two Auckland sides where others are likely not too, they will still be a force at the end of the season.
Photos by Grant Stantiall
19. Greg Walters
1. James McPeake
2. Joel Matthews
8. Peter Howe
3. Ben Hunt
9. Ross McKenzie (off 81)
4. Graham Pearce (c)
10. Luis Corrales
7. Joey Simpkins (off 55)
14. Sam Jenkins
9. Marco Rojas (off 90)
15. Allan Chote
10. Stu Hogg (off 74)
18. Peter Halstead (off 66)
13. Shaun van Rooyen
19. Craig Alderdice
14. Craig Wylie
22. Adam Birch (c)
24. Michael Mayne
23. Tim Shaeffers
25. Nathan Strom
21. Bryan Little
1. Jason Mann (gk)
24. James Bannatyne
8. Paul Stewart
25. Paul Whitmarsh (on 81)
23. Stu Watene (on 74)
16. Pedro Garcias (on 66)
15. Rhys Ruka (on 90)
11. Steven Holloway (on 55)
=2 yellow cards
= red card
Welcome to the interweb version of Waikato FC v Team Wellington in the NZFC round 7 clash at Ngaruawahia's Centennial Park. I'm typing quietly because we are currently in the middle of a moment's silence for the passing of Wellington and New Zealand football legend Dave Farrington. One of the good guys. Our thoughts and support go out to Dave's family. And now for some football. Waikato playing south, cool, overcast day. Not that you can see it, but Waikato in black, Wellington in white.
cross form young Marco Rojas into the middle, defelcted and just cleared by Wellington. BTW, (by the way) I'm Matt Richens and if you have any queries about the game, feel free to send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get to it when I can. Mind you i'm trying to watch the game and keep up with a few cricket scores too so it might be slow. Injury break for TW's Craig Alderise who looks to be in trouble and is off for now as play resumes
corner and big Craig Wylie gets up but heads wide for Waikato, they shouldn't let a wee fella like tjhat get a free head.
Waikato dominating early exchanges, Hunt puts in a 30 yarder that looked good hit, deflected by Hogg.
Nathan Strom has his first chance to get his big weapon out, his long throw I mean, put out for a corner, but the corner is easily dealth with by TW
Wellington starting to put some passes together, but hardly saw the ball in the first 15
YELLOW CARD. Wellington's Ross McKenzie shown yellow for harsh sliding tackle, had to be yellow.
Wellingtonhave their best chance, long cross comes in, flicked on by Corrales and McKenzie volleys from 15 out, by high, wide and not so handsome
Rojas given the ball on the edge of the box for Waikato, beats two and in traffic finds space for a shot but blast his left footer over the top, and is livid with himself. They need to get him more involved, this kid is all class.
Corrales knocks a volley at the corner, but Greg Walters has it covered, may have just been missing
Waikato's Nathan Stom gets a talking to miles off the ball by the referee. He has his head down and is apologising, so looks like he may have said a bit too much, no cards. time another long thrown, eventually cleared by Welly
Van Rooyen beats a couple after nice interplay by WFC and crosses over keeper's head for Rojas to smash it from an accute angle, another flick back in may have been the betetr option. Waikato dominating again, possibly played a bit too much long ball for the last 10 minutes, look very good on the ball
dubious tackle by Schaeffers on ROjas who had beaten him, no card and no advantage. Wellington would have to pleased with 0-0 at the break on theis performance.
Best chance of the game, Wellington's Alderise left the ball for his young keeper McPeake and tried to shield Hogg from it. He failed. Hogg nipped round him, got a touch, but a clever McPeake took the ball with a well timed dive on the edge of the box.
GOAL!!!! Shaun van Rooyen scores the easiet goal of his life on the back of a brilliant passage by the home side. Michale Mayne's long shot had deflected to Hogg who took it out wide and McPeake who had gone the wrong way from the Mayne shot was still getting up as the cross went over the top for van Rooyen to nod home from inches away, unmarked.
That goal was jusitce for Waiakto, not only had they played better, but deserved a handball penalty a minute earlier after Rojas, again, had beaten three and weaved into the box
Wellington have a corner on the whistle, but it's punched/headed clear. Half time
Waikato deserve their lead, they've played the better football and have dominated the midfield. Wellington haven't doen enough and have hardly created anything. They looked best when Waikato spent 10 minutes knocking in long balls, but when that stopped, Waikato dominated again.
Still Half Time
Special mention to two super keen Wellington fans who have travelled up today. Margaret and Des Blair have come all the weay up on their Ruby Wedding Anniversary (40th) That's great ticker from Des and Marg. Ngaruawahia welcome you both.
We're away and Wellington immediately required to clear a goal line scramble
Corrales gets put away with a nice ball but Pearce keeps him wide enough that his shot isn't too threatning, but they still get a corner, which is clearedd easily.
Wellington far more impressive this spell and are creating chances, another corner for them, well punched clear by Walters.
SUB Waikato looking for a second with Steven Holloway coming on for Joey Simpkins
Walters makes a birlliant save from a close range Bryan Little shot. Wellington on top. Corner cleared.
Rojas to Mayne, Mayne tries to go under McPeake who is up to it and keeps it out. At the other end, Walters has left his goal to take Corrales on near the corner flag, eventuially cleared
SUB Garcius on for Halstead
GOAL!!!!! Waikato 2-0 up, young Marco Rojas scored from 25. Told you he was good.
Both Hogg and Rojas injured, Hogg eventually replaced by Stu Watene who must be good because he is a big Liverpool fan while Rojas limps back on. SUB Hogg for Watene
Wellington pushing everyone forward and created three good chances in succession, the last cleared off the line by van Rooyen who has been impressive in a hard working midfield
Wellington push forward again through Corrales, who crosses into space and it is cleared, He has been Wellington's best today despite Pearce being all over him. Probably needed to spend more time in tight than wide
SUB Wellington's Ross McKenzie makes way for Paul Whitmarsh
Wellington running out of juice. They needed to spend more time on the ball than they have. that said, they create another chance, but Whitmarsh blasts it over. Should have done better. BTW, this guy is a giant, looks like that monster about to fight Holyfield. If he scores I want, no, expect a Crouch robot
Anothwer strong Wellington attack but Chote is offside
Waikato corner, Holloway heads over
SUB Marco ROjas receives a warm ovation as he is replaced by Wanderers teammate Rhys Ruka. Three minutes of added time
FULL TIME. Waikato have won four on the trot for the first time ever and, for two hours at least, enjoy the giddy heights of the top of the table. To Chris Ryan and Guy Smith, thank you I appreciate your comments.
Waikato were the better side, 2-0 was fair, but Wellington could have grabbed at least one in the last 15 minutes when they finally started playing. Photos, quotes, more of my thoughts and some from Dave Edmondson, Charlie Howe and maybe a couple of players if they will talk to me to come.