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Waikato FC

Waitakere United


NZFC - Round 13
Centennial Park, Ngaruawahia
Sunday 8 February, 2009


Graham Pearce 76
Stu Watene 88

Benjamin Totori 61



Halftime:   0-0                    Referee:   Peter O'Leary                             Crowd: 641


Waikato end Waitakere's unbeaten streak

by Matt Richens at Centennial Park /

Waikato work hard to keep Waitakere at bay. Photo by Geoff DickensonWaikato FC threw a real cat among the pigeons with a 2-1 boil over against league leaders and defending champions, Waitakere United.

Waikato coach Dave Edmondson has all season said his team had the ability to beat anyone, today they proved it by doing something no other New Zealand Football Championship team has been able to do, beat Waitakere.

Waikato held the champs to 0-0 at the break, but when Benjamin Totori waltzed through the midfield and defence, rounded keeper Greg Walters and slotted home a tidy left foot finish, it was always going to be a huge task to score one, let alone two.

In 900 minutes of football all season, Waitakere had only conceded six times. Waikato scored two in the last 14 minutes.

One to brilliant captain Graham Pearce who poked in a six-yard shot past Richard Gillespie after Craig Wylie headed a Michael Mayne freekick into the danger zone.

Not content with a point, Edmondson swapped a striker fro another. Stu Watene replaced the Stu of the Hogg variety, and became instant hero at his home club.

The Ngaruawahia United left footer gave the home side the lead in the dying minutes and helped Waikato become the first NZFC team to beat Waitakere in more than a year.

Waikato made all the play in the last quarter and Watene buried a close range ball for the lead with just two minutes to go.

"To be honest, until their goal, everything was going to plan," Edmondson said.

Totori's goal wasn't enough to stop Waitakere losing their first game of the season. Photo by Geoff Dickenson"We wanted to close them down and frustrate them, not let their guys at the back have time to set up an attack."

Waitakere gaffer Chris Milicich though, was disappointed his side couldn't put away their first half chances.

"We should have closed the game down in the first half and led 3-0 at the break," he said.

"But that's what you get when you have a desperate opposition. All season we've been able to put teams away and today we couldn't.

"They scored two, we could only get one."
Milicich said while the loss was disappointing, it could have come at a much worse time.

"At least it's not in the playoffs."

All smiles for Waikato as they thrust themselves back into playoff contention. Photo by Geoff DickensonHe wasn't worried about his side losing their air of invincibility, and said there was a reason his side had gone more than a year without a local loss.

Waitakere created most of the chances in the first spell, but couldn't put those chances away. They looked better on the ball, compared to a Waikato side who lacked control.

But as the game wore on, Waitakere became more frustrated at not being able to put the game away and they were the ones who became sloppy.

Milicich wouldnít admit to any Waikato players playing well, saying he tends to ignore the opposition, but Graham Pearce could not be ignored.

He was brilliant in defence for the hosts, scored the leveler and was constantly in the right place. Paul Stewart was another to impress after coming into the starting line-up as a replacement the last couple of weeks.

Totori was his usual self, sublime one minute, mud the next and Allan Pearce got through a power of work for Waitakere.

Edmondson said his side believed they could beat anyone and that had played a major role in the win.

They still have two tough away games, against YoungHeart Manawatu and Team Wellington before the playoffs, but he thought having momentum on their side would be a boost, as would the three points other teams thought they had no chance of picking up.

"I think it could affect the other sides, when they were working out the playoff possibilities, they didn't think we would pick up points from this game so that could affect them a bit."

Photos by Grant Stantiall and Geoff Dickenson


Team Sheet

Waikato FC


Waitakere United

19. Greg Walters

1. Richard Gillespie

2. Joel Mathews

3. Aaron Scott  (off 90)

3. Ben Hunt

4. Tim Myers

4. Graham Pearce (c)

8. Paul Seaman (off 74)

8. Paul Stewart

9. Benjamin Totori

14. Craig Wylie

10. Allan Pearce

13. Shaun van Rooyen

11. Neil Sykes

18. Nik Keown-Robson

12. Roy Krishna

24. Michael Mayne

15. Chris Bale

16. Sam Margetts (off 61)

17. Jake Butler

10. Stu Hogg  (off 83)

16. Neil Emblem (c)



1. Jason Mann

22. Danny Robinson

6. Alex Barlow

14. Jeff Campbell (on 90)

9. Marco Rojas (on 61)

24. Ash Solly

23. Stu Watene (on 83)

27. Jacob Mathews

12. Michael Walters

21. Kayne Vincent (on 74)


=yellow card

=2 yellow cards

= red card


Play by Play


Scorcher here at Centennial Park, Ngaruawahia. The mercury is allegedly pushing 36 which is stupid hot for football. Waikato are playing in, of all colours, black, Andy Bell's pitch looks brilliant as always, crowd building, and the country's top referee Peter O'Leary is about to get us underway.


I'm Matt Richens, if you are elsewhere in the world and watching this via a computer screen, I will do my best to describe the happs in front of me. Draw at the TAB paying 3.50 - that's where my money is, literally. The last $17 of a battling account on a draw. Forgive my cheering. We're underway 

1 min

Early free kick to Waitakere cleared eventually, not after Emblem politelly asked foe a handball, rightly so, he was just as politelly ignored

4 mins

Chris Bale has a 40 metre shot, straight at Walters in goal, dreaming. Waikato look a little rushed on the ball, Waitakere look relaxed as a batsman facing the Australian bowling line-up. Waikato need to make sure they're on form from the start, apparently this Waitakere mob can play a little bit.

7 mins

Waikato first corner of the game, poorly cleard by Waitakere defence... Wylie sends in short ball, but lost and cleared

9 mins

O'Leary stops play to call over Graham Pearce. He tells him Mr Hogg is taljking too much. Ill discipline would kill Waikato in this heat. Limp effort from Waikato on goal, Waitakere break, but cleared by Mathews

13 mins

Waikato give possession away middle of the park, Krishna breaks, but his shot/pass goes past the far post for a goal kick

15 mins

Butler shoots fro Waitakere, there were plenty of better options and his shot was weak and off target from 30m, no idea why they're shooting from that far with the ability they have.

17 mins

long range free kick to Waikato, toothless, but for some strange reason Gillespie punches out for a throw in instead of easily catching the ball. Must be feeling the pressure of Danny Robinson on the bench and Big Chris M playing the old switcheroo with them.

18 mins

Waikato's Ben Hunt has made a number of good tackles and will need to continue to do so without Nathan Strom on the paddock for the hosts

21 mins

Paul Stewart and Graham Pearce shut down Totori in the box, then Hogg has an OKAY strike, but wide. and now it's time for a drinks break. Don't mind if I do.

25 mins

 to Paul Seaman - took out a Waikato player in the air, sloppy, but probably yellow for danger value, maybe a tad harsh.

28 mins

 to Joel Mathews - free kick 25 out, good position. Emblem gets greedy and goes himself, cleared the wall and would have cleared a second goal, I think if I was 7 foot tall I might just rely on my head in that situation. Why did he even take it?

33 mins

Overhead shot from Seaman  from 30 yards, a little ambitious to say the least, but it was on target.

34 mins

Totori beats four, tracks the byline then passes a metre behind the quickly moving A Pearce. Wasted chance. G Pearce is very strong again.

35 mins

 to Jake Butler for a rough tackle on Nik Robson in the air.

37 mins

Totori breaks again, Pearce (G) stays witgh him, but Totori gets a powerful shot off which is brilliantly saved by Greg Walters in goal - his distributuon may be poor at best, but he's a great stopper.

38 mins

 yellows to Ben Hunt and Chris Bale. I haven't the foggiest what for. I'm going to speculate and say they tussled and said mean things to each other - will check at the break for you. Gee I'm good to you.

43 mins

Free kick to Waitakere wide down their right hand side. Big curler aimed at the tall timber, but Paul Stewart clears

half time

sorry, computer troubles, Totori had a very good shot saved by Walters, Emblem banged a header from a corner goalward, but Walters saved that too, no more cards. Waitakere are the better side, but we knew that already, Waikato are battling well to keep them out, but one gets the feeling, well, I get the feeling the visitors will score at some stage, so Waikato need to continue creating chances. They've had a handful, and after all, isn't more than a handful a waste?

still half time

confirmation on the double yellow. Mark Owens (fourth official) tells me Hunt was carded for a foul and Bale for retaliation. Owens couldn't confirm if they'd said mean things to eachother. It's is ridiculously hot here. Welcome to all Waitakere fans who are here. I'm sure you'll be enjoying Ngaruawahia more than the concrete jungle at Douglas, there is far more atmoshpere here than 10 days ago when the same teams met in Auckland and far more people. You may prefer stadia, I like grass and small stands and a bit of noise. But I would say that, the lovely people at Ngaruawahia have just given me an ice cold lemonade. Action about to start and I think there will be goals and Waitakere will be pushing forward harder.

49 mins

Waikato start the second spell better, but can't turn possession into shots

52 mins

All Waikato now. Hogg running good lines, getting behind defenders well, but then easily dispossessed by Emblem. It was like Peter Crouch marking Wayne Rooney.

53 mins

Spoke too soon  to Paul Stewart who brought down a Waitakere player on the side edge of the box. Free kick in a good area, but we'll have to wait as a Waikato player is down.

55 mins

Was Wylie who was down, two good shots both blocked by Waikato and resulting corner also cleared. Emblem dinks around with it and loses it cold. smooth

58 mins

chants of "go back to the A-League" ring out aimed at O'Leary who show's Stu Hogg a  for being punched by Gillespie. Handball was the call, but looked a fair challange. Keepers always get looked after, they've got gloves, what more do they want?

60 mins

chants now for Marco Rojas to come on, not led by me this time.

61 mins

 GOAL!!!! Totori scores fro Waitakere and it has to be said, that goal was kind of against the run of play. Totori beats most of the midfielder and ran at the keeper, rounded Walters and finished left footed.

61 mins

SUB - Rojas for Margetts

67 mins

Paul Stewart gets on the end of two corners in a rown, both headers deflected. Waikato need Hogg to get a bit greedy, and better on the ball, and make something happen. Drinks break

73 mins

Rojas makes Emblem look like a statue, Waikato having no trouble getting the ball into the box, just not shooting, lots of crosses and ruinning in, but no one is shooting. SHOOT! Rojas does, and narrowly misses across the face. Good lad.

76 mins

GOAL!!!! 1-1 Waikato have levelled, my draw looks good again, Graham Pearce latches on to a ball in the box after Michael Mayne had sent a free kick in, Wylie headed it back into the mixer and the skipper toe poked it in, Best signing in Waikato history, hands down.

79 mins

Waikato pushing forward in search of a winner, the audacity of it all

82 mins

 to former Waikato player Aaron Scott for taking out Michael Mayne, could have been red, according to the Waikato fans, Rojas takes the 24m freekick, out for a corner. It's cleared.

83 mins

SUB - Ngaruawahia's Stu Watene comes on for Hogg. good change.

86 mins

Waikato just bombed the best chance of the entire game. Gillespie messed up a punch, wylie crossed (should have shot) and Watene's close range shot was blocked.

87 mins

Paul Stewart heads goalward with no power, but Gillespie juggles on the line, looks good for Robinson next week.

88 mins

GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!! Watene makes it 2-1 to Waikato, you are joking me. Watene buries it.

90 mins

Waikato just had three great shots, Gillespie did brilliantly. SUB Scott for Campbell


Mayne brought down on the edge of the box, four to be added.


Rojas puts it wide, there may only be 600ish here, but it sounds like 1500, raucus. This will annoy Auckland City, Manawatu, Hawke's Bay United.  


FULL TIME, what a boil over, that is Waitakere's first loss in the NZFC in more than a year. And Waikato - who had stalled of late - are now right back in the playoff race. WOW. I'll be back soon with some comments, pics, and more of my thoughts. Ciao.