NZFC - Round 11
Sunday 1 February, 2009
Tom Jackson 11
Nik Robson 66
Halftime: 2-0 Referee: Darren Sundborn (Christchurch) Crowd:
A pulsating 3-3 draw at a windswept Sunnyvale on Sunday left Otago United and Waikato FC both pondering what might have been.
Otago have more reason to ask the tough questions of themselves after leading 2-0 inside the first 15 minutes through Tom Jackson and Aaron Burgess, and then edging out to 3-1 with 13 minutes remaining before Steven Holloway’s late double claimed a share of the points for the visitors.
“It’s definitely a case of three points that got away,” Otago assistant coach Malcolm Fleming said.
“When you’re 3-1 up with 15 minutes to play you should close the game out.
“I think that makes it seven out of the last nine games where we’ve been leading after 50 or 60 minutes so it’s just deja vu really
“It could’ve been 2-1 at half time when Stu Hogg hit the bar but when they did get a goal it was good to see that we struck back straight away.
“But we were panicking a bit and you can’t give half chances to a team that’s used to winning because they’ll punish you.”
Burgess had a hand in both early goals, getting round the back of Waikato’s defence before teeing up Jackson to open the scoring in the 11th minute and then bending a sublime free-kick round the Waikato wall two minutes later.
With coach Dave Edmondson’s halftime words still ringing in their ears, Waikato stepped up a gear in the second period, piling on the pressure until substitute Nik Robson netted from close range 20 minutes into the spell.
With 12 minutes remianing, Robbie Deeley cannoned Otago’s third goal off the Waikato goal’s back stanchion following a period of sustained pressure, but the two goal cushion was erased within eight minutes as Holloway first took advantage as Liam Little spilled a Nathan Strom long-throw in gale strength winds and then slotted an 85th minute equaliser to earn the visitor’s a point.
Both sides had injury time chances to win it, and like Fleming, Waikato’s Dave Edmondson was focussing on the points his side didn’t get rather than the one they did.
“It’s sense of disappointment really,” was Edmondson of the post-match mood in the away dressing room.
“It really does feel like two points lost.
“With the wind as strong as it was it was about who could adapt quicker, we spoke about it but made two or three mistakes that we haven’t made all season to let them get off to a flyer.
“I said just before our first goal that we’d either lose two nil or win 3-2 so to get a goal then concede a third was disappointing. But to fight back and get a point shows great commitment from the lads.
The point edges Dave Edmondson’s men ahead of Auckland and with Hawke’s Bay clashing with fellow playoff hopefuls Manawatu in a 3pm kick-off, Edmondson acknowledged that it could be crucial as the race heats up.
“Whilst we targeted three points here, the pressure that’s building among the teams trying to get into the playoffs means that I think we’ll see some unexpected results in the last few games.
“I think if you’d said two weeks ago that Wellington would beat Auckland 3-1 like they did yesterday, you’d be laughed out of the building.
“Waitakere look safe but there’s plenty of pressure on everyone else.
Meanwhile, Fleming called time on Otago’s already-slim playoff hopes and said the wooden spoon battle was now the focus as his side heads into a Waitangi weekend double header.
“It’s frustrating because if we’d won we’d still have an outside chance of sneaking into the top four but realistically now it’s about avoiding the wooden spoon.
We do well when we’ve got the ball, we can dominate teams and haven’t exactly been crushed by anyone but we just give possession away too easy.
“We’ve got Waitakere on Friday and that’ll be bloody tough then on Sunday we’ve got Wellington who sound like they’ve hit form again.
Waikato also face Waitakere next weekend, welcoming the champions to Centennial Park on Sunday.
Photos by Rob Jefferies, SM Photography
1. Liam Little (GK)
19. Greg Walters
2. Rhys Henderson
4. Graham Pearce
3. Tritsan Prattely
8. Paul Stewart
6. Mike Smith
9. Marco Rojas
7. Robbie Deeley (out 89)
10. Stu Hogg (out 73)
9. Tom Jackson
11. Steve Holloway
10. David Dugdale
12. Mike Walters (out 80)
11. Andy Coburn
13. Shaun van Rooyen
12. Aaron Burgess (out 89)
20. Alex Barlow (out 62)
17. Tim Horner
24. Michael Mayne
21. Stu Kelly
25. Nathan Strom
4. Barry Gardiner
1. Jason Mann (RGK)
8. Blair Scoullar (in 89)
3. Ben Hunt
13. Callum Flaws (RGK)
7. Joe Simpkins (in 80)
18. Tom Conner (in 89)
16. Sam Margetts (in 73)
15. Morgan Day
18. Nik Robson (in 62)
=2 yellow cards
= red card
Welcome to Sunnyvale which is living up to its name today for the visit of Waikato FC who can jump from fifth to second with a win over bottom placed Otago. There's a strong wind buffetting the ground, and Oatgo will be heading into it in teh first half.
The home side look like they mean business. An early chance to Mike Smith is headed over.
GOAL 1-0! Otago take the lead through Tom Jackson arrives at the far post to finish after a cross was flicked on from the near post.
Ooh. Handball from Waikato keeper Greg Walters. The tall American collects the ball on the edge of the area but the referee with the help of his assistant spotted Walters unitentionally carry the ball outside his area. Freekick to Otago in a dangerous position.
GOAL 2-0! Aaron Burgess doubles the advantage with a fierce free-kick driven into the bottom left hand corner
Jackson draws a player in midfield before sending the ball out wide to David Dugdale. He crosses but the wind catches it and the ball is headed to safety.
Otago's Robbie Deeley picks up the game's first caution for a rash tackle on Marco Rojas.
Waikato's best chance so far his cleared off teh line by Rhys Henderson. From a corner, Marco Rojas beats teh keeper but Henderson blocks the shot on the near post.
Halftime: Otago lead Waikato 2-0, which will please fans in Auckland, Wellington, Hawke's Bay and Manawatu given the tight playoff race, but definatetly not Waikato fans watching in Hamilton and Ngaruawahia nor those in Christchurch hoping Canterbury can stay off the foot of the table.
Otago definately started better than the visitors but Waikato have come back into it towards the end of the first half and are by no means out of it. Otago have had discipline problems all season and keeping 11 players on the pitch may be the key to holding on to an upset.
We're underway again.
A long throw from Nathan Strom sails into the Otago area and into the side netting. Wouldn't have counted if it went straight in but that still gave a few defenders a scare
Waikato looking more likely since the break. Must've been something good in those oranges.
Waikato's Mike Walters twists and turns well inside the Otago 18-yard area and gets off a shot takes a deflection off an Otago leg and goes out for a corner.
Otago win a corner after Tom Jackson makes the byline and sends over a dnagerous cross which Graham Pearce heads behind.
Robbie Deeley sets up Andy Coburn who takes a touch and then fires just wide
SUB Waikato: Nik Robson comes in for Alex Barlow
GOAL 1-2! Nik Robson pulls one back for Waikato with a close range volley. Game on!
Tom Jackson weaves past two defenders but blasts a shot over the bar.
SUB Waikato: Stu Hogg replaced by Sam Margetts
GOAL 3-1! Robbie Deeley sends a screamer into the bottom right hand corner to make it 3-1 to Otago.
GOAL 3-2! Waikato refuse to lie down though and pull a goal back though Steven Holloway, who volleys a loose ball past Little.
SUB: Waikato: Joe Simpkins on for Mike Walters.
Another Nathan Strom long throw prompts goalmouth pinball. Two Waikato heads and an Otago head eventuall see the ball cleared.
GOAL 3-3! Holloway has another to bring Waikato level! He meets a corner with a clean header to make it 3-3.
Double Sub: Otago bring on Blair Scoullar and Tom Connor for Deeley and Burgess.
We'll have four nervous minutes of injury time
A freekick to Waikato is swung in from the left but Sam Margetts just can't get high enough to get over the ball and direct it goalward.
Tristan Pratley sets Tom Jackson through who tries to flash the ball accross the face of goal but Greg Walters is quick to smother it.
Referee Sunborn blows for fulltime and Waikato will breath a sigh of relief that their playoff hopes did not take more of a hit. Otago will see this as one that got away. They draw level with Canterbury and overtale them on goals scored but that'll be scant consolation for letting three points slip through their fingers.