NZFC - Round 13,
Sunday 8 February, 2009
Milos Nikolic 56
Halftime: 0-0 Referee: Chris Kerr Crowd: 318
by Bob Pearce at Kiwitea Street
Auckland City well and truly buried the curse of Kiwitea with a 3-0 win over YoungHeart Manawatu that lifted them into second place on the table.
For half the game it was the same old story: Auckland created chances galore but their finish was missing and there was always a good chance that the visitors could strike back against the run of play.
After a scoreless first half Auckland striker Milos Nikolic had one of the misses of the season when James Pritchett delivered the ball on a plate and the youngster's tap-in hit a post and stayed out.
But he made amends in the 56th minute when he fastened on to a far more difficult bouncing cross and powered the ball past Chris Marsh.
Suddenly the floodgates were open. In the 60th minute Paul Urlovic butchered a chance but, given a second bite, expertly headed in a cross from Chad Coombes.
Five minutes later Matt Friel got his head to a corner from Ki-Hyung Lee and nobody's stopping that one.
The game was out of Manawatu's reach and on a stinking hot Auckland afternoon the players and spectators were glad when the final whistle went.
And it's worth mentioning that referee Chris Kerr had another very good game and he is clearly in tune with the players.
Auckland have picked up six points in three days, promoting some of their younger players and leaving the more experienced Xavi Roca and the injured Keryn Jordan on the sideline.
The team have responded with a couple of spirited displays with captain Ivan Vicelich showing his vast experience in the defence, Friel pushing forward to good effect and Chad Coombes providing the 90-minute effort that keeps the opposition guessing.
Manawatu were without goal scorer Jason Hayne, who has headed east to trial for a team from Brunei, and they lacked punch up front. Raphael de Gregorio was a hard worker and Scott Robson had his moments but they were clearly second best on the day.
Auckland coach Paul Posa was frustrated in the first half by the scoring opportunities that went begging.
"We didn't have enough width," he said. "The front three were playing too narrow. But I still thought the goals were going to come."
"I always thought we had the game if we could score the first goal."
"I don't think we played as well as we did against Hawkes Bay on Friday when we played really well."
Manawatu coach Bob Sova conceded that the better team won and he singled out goalkeeper Marsh as his player of the day.
"They really came at us in the first 10 minutes and we resisted that and then it was probably 50-50.
Just before halftime there was a yellow card when our player was held back. It could've been a red as last defender.
"That could have been a turning point, but in the end Auckland were the better team and the referee, I thought, had a good game."
Towards the end of the game 15-year-old Thomas Spragg took the field for Auckland City becoming the youngest player to play for the club in the NZFC.
Photos by Shane Wenzlick. www.phototek.co.nz
1 Ross Nicholson (GK)
1 Chris Marsh (GK)
3 Matt Friel (Campbell 83)
8 Nathan Cooksley
5 Matt Williams(Carella 62)
4 Jan Weissenfeldt
6 Ki-Hyung Lee
2 Nelson Sale
7 James Pritchett
11 Scott Robson
8 Chad Coombes
16 Raf de Gregorio
9 Paul Urlovic (Spragg 77)
22 Cory Chettleburgh
13 Alex Feneridis
21 Brooke Tozer (Kennedy 62)
15 Ivan Vicelich
20 Alick Maemae
20 Greg Uhlmann
10 Adam Cowan
24 Milos Nikolic
9 Gustavo Saralegui
4 Sam Campbell (in 83)
3 Pablo Yackson
12 John Fletcher (RGK)
6 Matt Kennedy (in 62)
17 Allan Carella (in 62)
18 Finlay Milne
23 Thomas Spragg (in 77)
17 Isaac Duker
26 Jonathan Raj
19 Matt Boren
=2 yellow cards
= red card
Blisteringly hot with a faint cross breeze
freekick to Manawatu on edge of area, well cleared.
Shot by Urlovic just wide.
Left wing corner for Auckland, cleared off line.
Feneridis clear in front of goal failed to control ball
Robson drives in low cross but the deflection goes unpunished
Wide ranging Auckland attack finally foiled by good grab by goalie Marsh
Auckland pepper Manawatu goal but ball won't go in.
Good run by Coombes but Nikolic shot slips wide
Maemae clear but weak shot goes wide
Urlovic hassles ball off Marsh but Nikolic fires loose ball wide.
Urlovic shoots wide from another good chance.
Marsh misses cross but Williams squanders yet another chance
Marsh blocks shot by Coombes
First corner for Manawatu Powerful header by Weissenfeldt flies over top.
yellow card Uhlmann for shirt pull.
Second corner for Manawatu. No profit.
Halftime 0-0. Too mnay missed chances from Auckland.
Cross from Pritchett finds Nikolic who hits upright when only 2 metres out Unbelievable miss.
Nikolic bicycle kick over bar.
GOAL! Nikolic finally buries bouncing cross to end Auckland's agony
GOAL! Urlovic misses once but given second chance heads home Coombes' cross for 2-0
GOAL! Friel heads home corner by Lee 3-0
Series of corners for Auckland but poor combination
Substitution Spragg on for Urlovic
Friel off injured Campbell on
90 plus one
Yellow card Chettleburgh
90 plus four
FINAL WHISTLE 3-0 and everybody needs a drink