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Sun 16 Mar, 2.35pm, 2014
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Waikato FC

Canterbury United

3


NZFC - Round 10, Centennial Park,  24 Jan

1

Nik Keown-Robson 6
Alex Barlow 46
Graham Pearce 70

Bill Robertson 32

 

             

Halftime:      1-1                 Referee:  Matt Conger                               Crowd: 220

 

Waikato win to maintain playoff push

by Ian Anderson at Centennial Park
nzfc.co.nz

Waikato players celebrate as they put the game beyond Canterbury. Photo by Geoff DickinsonWing wizards Alex Barlow and Marco Rojas helped inspire Waikato FC to a 3-1 home win over Canterbury United today to maintain their push for a playoff spot.

The two Ngaruawahia United fan favourites excited the home crowd at Centennial Park and teased the visitors as Waikato scored early in each half.

Nik Keown-Robson put them ahead after just six minutes but Bill Robertson nodded the visitors level after 32 minutes.

Barlow restored Waikato's lead immediately after the restart and captain Graham Pearce gave them a two goal cushion with 20 minutes left to play.

The victory followed consecutive defeats by Hawke's Bay United and Auckland City and coach Dave Edmondson admitted the early goals in each half made a difference.

"We got ahead early and that's what we planned," said Edmondson, who was concerned with sluggish starts in their previous two defeats that feature early strikes from Waikato's opponents.

Canterbury defenders can do nothing as the ball hits the back of the net. Photo by Geoff Dickinson"Especially the goal at the start of the second half, that made it a bit more comfortable."

Barlow had a quiet first half in his first start for the club after transferring back from Hawke's Bay United.

But he set the game alight after just 35 seconds of the second spell when he dinked a shot from the edge of the box over Canterbury keeper Michael O'Keefe that hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced down and out and was correctly adjudged by the linesman to have crossed the line.

Bolstered by the goal, the teen teased Canterbury on the left flank but damaged a knee and had to be stretchered off and was replaced by Rojas.

He took little time to fill the void, running at the tiring Canterbury defence in the sapping conditions on a sweltering sunny day.

From his 70th minute near-post corner, Pearce flicked in a header and Waikato could have had more by the end as Rojas continued to get to the byline.

The visitors never stopped trying and only a fine flying save by Greg Walters in the final minute of normal time stopped them from reducing the deficit.

"We look to use what width we have and exploited that, although they stopped us doing that early on," Edmondson said.

Waikato now head to meet title favourites Waitakere United out west on Monday with renewed confidence.  

 

Team Sheet

Waikato FC


V

Canterbury United


19 - Greg Walters

1 - Michael O'Keefe

2 - Joel Matthews 

3 - Matt Boyd

25 - Nathan Strom

4 - Bill Robertson

4 - Graham Pearce

5 - Andy Pitman

20 - Alex Barlow

2- Dan Terris

13- Shaun van Rooyen

7 - Ryan Faichnie

16 - Sam Margetts

8 - Garry McDermott

14 - Craig Wylie

9 - Tom Lancaster

18 - Nik Keown-Robson

10 - Jamie Smith

11- Steven Holloway

15 - James Reichwein

24 - Michael Mayne

21 - Ben Harris

Substitutes

Substitutes

1- Jason Mann

13 - Adam Cowan

7 - Joey Simpkins

20 - Hamish Chang

8 - Paul Stewart

22 - Chris Sinclair

9 - Marco Rojas

23 - Sam Miles

23 - Stu Watene

=goal

=yellow card

=2 yellow cards

= red card

 

Play by Play

Welcome to a sizzling Centennial Park, where the chance of the game being abandoned due to a frozen pitch is the same as it is of Arsenal signing a player.  

A quiet first five minutes. Alex Barlow returns to his home ground for his Waikato FC debut after transferring from Hawke's Bay United and starts in left midfield, with Craig Wylie at left back. 

6min

 GOAL! Waikato take the lead. A cross into the box is knocked down, along with Canterbury keeper O'Keefe, and the ball is swept home by Nik Keown-Robson with his left foot from 10 metres. 

15min

Michael Mayne's well-struck low left foot drive is saved by O'Keefe to his left.

18min

Canterbury's first attack ends with Dan Terris' cross from the right held comfortably at his near post by Walters.

19min

Alex Barlow's header is caught by O'Keefe. Barlow and Keown-Robson are swapping flanks constantly.  

22min

Canterbury give the ball away from O'Keefe's weak clearance and he has to recover to tip over van Rooyen's smart snap-shot from 20m.

24min

Jamie Smith does well to make room for himself but mishits his left foot shot horribly after a neat interchange with James Reichwein. 

29min

A strong run from Sam Margetts down the left sees the ball pulled back and Steven Holloway's side-foot effort is narrowly wide of the near post. 

32min

 GOAL! Bill Robertson equalises against the run of play when he nods home Dan Terris' flick-on of a near-post corner from two metres. 

35min

Glancing header from the edge of the box from Michael Mayne floats wide as Waikato try to strike back.

37min

Canterbury looking more comfortable on the ball. In the sweltering conditions, both teams want to be controlling possession and not chasing.

43min

Greg Walters comes out well to take a short cross and collides with Robertson, but the pair are unharmed.

44min

Nathan Strom's Rory Delap impressions are again causing problems with the long throw.

44min

Jamie Smith lobs over Walters but also over the bar.

45min

Barlow's free-kick is headed clear and that's halftime.

46min

 GOAL! Alex Barlow dinks it over O'Keefe with the outside of his left foot from the edge of the box. It hits the underside of the bar, bounces down and out but the linesman correctly rules it had crossed the line.

50min

Waikato break quickly down the left and Barlow's deft cross is well dealt with by Matt Boyd. 

54min

Barlow again to the fore as he grows in confidence. Finds Holloway but the striker had strayed offside. 

55min

Tom Lancaster wriggles into space and fires just over the bar.

57min

Barlow down in a heap injured now, doesn't look great. Stretcher coming on.

58min

Sad ending for Barlow as he was starring in the second half. Another hugely promising youngster and local hero, Marco Rojas takes his place, much to the joy of your regular contributor Matt Richens, currently in Taupo at the A1GP.

The good news for Waikato fans is that Barlow is up and walking, albeit limping, after being stretchered off with an injury to his left knee.

65min

Waiakto may be torn between closing the game down to secure a valuable three points at home or seeking a third to make it safe.

66min

Scary moment as Greg Walters' clearance goes straight to Ryan Faichnie and he finds Lancaster, but his shot is poorly directed with an embarassed Walters scrambling back.

67min

James Reichwein goes off and Hamish Chang comes on for Canterbury as they seek an equaliser.

68min

Free-kick in a useful position on the edge of the box but Wylie can't get it to dip and curl on target.

69min

O'Keefe again miskicks a clearance under pressure and Sam Margetts' shot is deflected just wide for a corner. 

70min

  GOAL! From the resulting corner, Marco Rojas swings it in and captain Graham Pearce flicks it on at the near post and into the far corner.

71min

All Waikato now; Holloway's header just over the bar.

75min

Canterbury make their second sub; Cowan on for Pitman.

77min

Excellent run at pace down the left by Rojas, would have been appreciated by The Big Unit Rojas Fan Club.

80min

Waikato make their second substitution, Joey Simpkins on for Michael Mayne in the centre of the park.

82min

From Strom's long throw, Holloway flicks on and Simpkins toes it over the bar from close range.

85min

 First booking of the game, as Terris chops down Rojas.

87min

Final sub for the home side, Stu Watene on for Margetts.

89min

Keown-Robson sidefoots a cross back across goal and it just eludes the incoming strikers and the far post. 

90min

Three minutes of added time, and Walters makes an excellent diving save with a strong left hand from McDermott's fierce drive.

91min

Canterbury force three consecutive corners Joel Matthes clears a header off the line. 

92min

Rojas skins a defender down the right and squares it for van Rooyen, only to be denied from four metres by an excellent block from Terris. 

93min

FULL TIME - and Waikato FC rediscover their winning form and keep their playoff hopes alive.