NZFC - Round 10, Centennial Park, 24 Jan
Nik Keown-Robson 6
Bill Robertson 32
Halftime: 1-1 Referee: Matt Conger Crowd: 220
by Ian Anderson at Centennial Park
Wing 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.
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
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
=2 yellow cards
= red card
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.
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.
Michael Mayne's well-struck low left foot drive is saved by O'Keefe to his left.
Canterbury's first attack ends with Dan Terris' cross from the right held comfortably at his near post by Walters.
Alex Barlow's header is caught by O'Keefe. Barlow and Keown-Robson are swapping flanks constantly.
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.
Jamie Smith does well to make room for himself but mishits his left foot shot horribly after a neat interchange with James Reichwein.
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.
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.
Glancing header from the edge of the box from Michael Mayne floats wide as Waikato try to strike back.
Canterbury looking more comfortable on the ball. In the sweltering conditions, both teams want to be controlling possession and not chasing.
Greg Walters comes out well to take a short cross and collides with Robertson, but the pair are unharmed.
Nathan Strom's Rory Delap impressions are again causing problems with the long throw.
Jamie Smith lobs over Walters but also over the bar.
Barlow's free-kick is headed clear and that's halftime.
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.
Waikato break quickly down the left and Barlow's deft cross is well dealt with by Matt Boyd.
Barlow again to the fore as he grows in confidence. Finds Holloway but the striker had strayed offside.
Tom Lancaster wriggles into space and fires just over the bar.
Barlow down in a heap injured now, doesn't look great. Stretcher coming on.
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.
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.
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.
James Reichwein goes off and Hamish Chang comes on for Canterbury as they seek an equaliser.
Free-kick in a useful position on the edge of the box but Wylie can't get it to dip and curl on target.
O'Keefe again miskicks a clearance under pressure and Sam Margetts' shot is deflected just wide for a corner.
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.
All Waikato now; Holloway's header just over the bar.
Canterbury make their second sub; Cowan on for Pitman.
Excellent run at pace down the left by Rojas, would have been appreciated by The Big Unit Rojas Fan Club.
Waikato make their second substitution, Joey Simpkins on for Michael Mayne in the centre of the park.
From Strom's long throw, Holloway flicks on and Simpkins toes it over the bar from close range.
First booking of the game, as Terris chops down Rojas.
Final sub for the home side, Stu Watene on for Margetts.
Keown-Robson sidefoots a cross back across goal and it just eludes the incoming strikers and the far post.
Three minutes of added time, and Walters makes an excellent diving save with a strong left hand from McDermott's fierce drive.
Canterbury force three consecutive corners Joel Matthes clears a header off the line.
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.
FULL TIME - and Waikato FC rediscover their winning form and keep their playoff hopes alive.