NZFC - Round 9
17 January 2009
Matt Friel 10
Halftime: 1-0 Referee:Mike Hester Crowd: 543
by Bob Pearce at Kiwitea St
Auckland City returned to the top of the table with a 3-0 win over Waikato that was not as convincing as the score-line would indicate.
Auckland went ahead 1-0 after 10 minutes when Matt Friel poked home a corner that the defence had failed to clear.
But for 74 minutes there was little in it and, particularly in the second half, Waikato looked likely to grab a point.
Then that old goal-poacher Keryn Jordan took a hand. He had missed a couple of reasonable chances earlier but when the ball came free from a frustrated Waikato attack, he made use of the extra space and buried a powerful drive from just outside the penalty area.
By then Waikato were well out of their 4-5-1 formation and Auckland pressure saw Craig Wylie slice an attempted clearance into his own net.
There were signs throughout the game that coach Paul Posa has his team on the road back to the standards they reached in their championship-winning days. They built well in midfield and when Spaniard Xavi Roca pushes forward he has an experienced eye for the telling pass.
But goals are still not coming as readily as they would like. Grant (note: Neil is still in good form in his 60s)Young has retired and Auckland will be hoping Liverpudlian Adam Dickinson can live up to his reputation when he becomes eligible. Waikato started with a hiss and a roar but then fell off the pace before responding well to a stir-up at halftime from coach Dave Edmondson.
Goalkeeper Greg Walters produced a couple of stunning saves to keep them in the game when they had drifted out.
Posa was happy with the result and the two late goals were something of a bonus and a reward for persistence.
“We’ve been trying to convert more chances and it was good that it finally happened. It’s given us something to build on,” he said.
“Waikato defended well. They had a game plan and they played to it. It was hard to break them down.”
Coach Edmondson was unhappy that Waikato failed to maintain the strong start that was essential.
“We talked about getting the pressure on early. It’s easy to talk but ultimately you’ve got to do it on the field,” he said.
“We’ve got to start from the very first whistle. You’ve got to start on the front foot and stay on the front foot.
“That said we were in the game until the second goal. That just killed it for us.”
Edmondson had a special word for Shaun van Rooyen, who worked tirelessly to try to create something for the visitors.
Auckland’s stay at the top of the table is likely to be brief with Waitakere United due to play Hawke's Bay on Sunday. Next Saturday the likely top two will clash at Douglas Field in Henderson.
Photos: Shane Wenzlick www.phototek.co.nz
12 Jacob Spoonley (GK)
19 Greg Walters (GK)
3 Matt Friel
2 Joel Mathews (Mayne 84)
5 Matt Williams
3 Ben Hunt (Robson 66)
6 Ki-Hyung Lee(McGeorge 78)
4 Graham Pearce
8 Chad Coombes (Kumar 85)
7 Joe Simpkins
9 Paul Urlovic (Nicolic 64)
10 Stu Hogg
14 Keryn Jordan
9 Marco Rojas
15 Ivan Vicelich
14 Craig Wylie
21 Riki Van Steeden
13 Shaun van Rooyen
22 Xavi Roca
12 Mike Walters (Holloway 54)
23 Liam Mulrooney
25 Nathan Strom
1 Ross Nicholson (RGK)
1 Jason Mann (RGK)
4 Sam Campbell
11 Steven Holloway
19 Salesh Kumar
24 Michael Mayne
24 Milos Nikolic
18 Nik Robson
25 Adam McGeorge
21 Jon Stables
=2 yellow cards
= red card
Very hot and sticky with slight breeze
Freekick to Auckland after foul by Walters, corner headed just wide by Vicelich, second corner cleared
Yellow card Van Steeden for foul on Wylie.
Stu Hogg shot touched round post by Spoonley
Jordan clear but shot saved by goalie
GOAL! Right wing corner not cleared Matt Friel stabs ball home.
Yellow card Hogg for foul on goalie
Mulrooney run from midfield, shoots just wide
Yellow card Strom for push
Panic in Auckland defence but Rojas shoots wide
Bicycle kick shot by Jordan just wide
Freekick by Lee, head by Van Steeden but Urlovic can't finish
Run by Roca, Coombes shoots on the run, brilliant save by Greg Walters at full stretch.
No changes at halftime
Corner by Auckland, shambles in defence, Jordan heads for goal and Mathews heads off line.
Yellow card Friel
Yellow card Van Rooyen, substitute Holloway for Walters.
Auckland sub Nikolic for Urlovic
Waikato sub Hunt off, Robson on.
Yellow card Lee for two-footed tackle
Substitution McGeorge for Lee
Double-hit by Nicolic and then Roca foiled by defence.
Mathews replaced by Mayne
GOAL! Jordan fastens on to freekick outside box and buries a fierce shot.
Kumar on for Coombes.
90 plus one
GOAL! Wylie puts ball in own net trying to clear.