NZFC - Semifinal, First Leg
Saturday 14 March, 2009
Roy Krishna 69
Halftime: 0-0 Referee: Peter O'Leary Crowd: 1163
by Gordon Irving at Newtown Park
There’s still plenty to play for after the opening leg of the NZFC semi final between Team Wellington and Waitakere at Newtown Park this afternoon but the Aucklanders have the upper hand after a 1-0 victory in the capital.
That precious away goal could prove decisive after a humdinger of a semi final that saw Waitakere come out of the blocks strongly before Wellington started to get on top and then lose the initiative when Roy Krishna netted the only goal with twenty minutes to go on the clock.
Opposing coaches had a different slant on the match at the end. Waitakere’s Chris Milicich seeing it as a job well done, while Wellington’s Stu Jacobs was bemoaning a “lucky win” for the Auckland side.
Both keepers played a big part in the low scoring semi final with Wellington’s James Bannatyne pulling off three smart saves while Richard Gillespie had to be alert after Wellington midfielder Andy Barron produced an exquisite piece of skill early in the second half to create some space in the penalty area only to see Gillespie turn his effort past a post.
Barron was the player that caused Milicich the most headaches as two of his free kicks very nearly got Wellington on the board.
The first in the first half cannoned back off the crossbar with Gillespie beaten and the second dipped sharply in front of the Waitakere keeper. Somehow Gillespie got an elbow to it to deflect over the bar.
The tackling was fierce from both sides and referee Peter O’Leary did well to keep his cards in his pocket. It was not until time was running out that Wellington captain Adam Birch and Waitakere midfielder Paul Seaman saw yellow cards. Seaman is maybe lucky to still be in contention for the return leg as his tackle from behind was one of the nastier parts of the game.
As mentioned the two coaches felt very differently about the game with Wellington’s Stu Jacobs scathing of the result.
“If that’s the best they can throw at us with the budget they’ve got…….”as Jacobs trailed off leaving the rest unsaid.
“Our game plan was to go long early on and keep them out of the danger areas and I was happy with the first half. Towards the end of the first half we got it down and played and really they shouldn’t have won that game today.”
Jacobs was honest in what was needed to make the final.
“We’ve got to beat them but we can go into the second leg with a lot of confidence.”
Milicich was all smiles at the end.
“It was a job well done.”
“We played well today and I felt comfortable throughout.”
“The set pieces gave me some worries and we rode our luck there but Jimmy Bannatyne has made some last ditch saves that’s kept them in it.”
“It was a good competent day at the office,” said Milicich.
Photos: Marty Melvile
24. James Bannatyne (GK)
1. Richard Gillespie (GK)
3. Steve Gulley
3. Aaron Scott
5. Michael Eagar (out 78)
5. Danny Hay (Captain)
6. Michael Pickering
8. Paul Seaman
8. Peter Howe
9. Benjamin Totori (out 73)
10. Luis Corrales
10. Allan Pearce
11. Bryan Little
11. Neil Sykes
12. Andy Barron
12. Roy Krishna
13. Karl Whalen
15. Chris Bale
14. Sam Jenkins (out 57)
16. Neil Emblen
22. Adam Birch (Captain)
17. Jake Butler
1. Phil Imray (RGK)
4. Tim Myers
7. Sam Blackburn (in 57)
13. Daniel Koprivcic
16. Pedro Garcias
14. Jeff Campbell
18. Peter Halstead (in 78)
21. Kayne Vincent (in 73)
21. Tim Schaeffers
22. Danny Robinson (RGK)
=2 yellow cards
= red card
Welcome to the Newtown Park for the first match of the NZFC playoffs and, whatever happens, Team Wellington's last home game of the season. Can Wellington continue the four match winning streak that lifted them to the semi-finals or will the Waitakere prove too strong. Interestingly, Waitakere have left Koprivcic on the bench and gone for the three speedsters up top Pearce, Krishna and Totori.
The sun has come out in Wellington and while it's cool, it's not bad weather for playing football.
Good to see NZ's top referee Peter O'Leary involved, and he blows his whistle to get things underway
It's all on at Newtown as the challenges fly in right in front of the Wellington dugout and referee O'Leary has to step in and restore order. He has a quiet word with Bale and Pearce from Waitakere
It's a full bloodied semi final but Wellington are struggling to get a foothold. Not like the round robin encounter between the two when Wellington were 2 up by this stage.
TW captain Adam Birc h is limping after a crunching tackle from Krishna - no holding back here
The Wellington public has come out in support of this match, there's a big crowd at Newtown
It's long ball stuff from Wellington. Waitakere are controlling matters and playing the nicer football while Wellington are relying on the big hoof from keeper Bannatyne who is trying to send the speedster Corrales away.
Point blank save from Bannatyne, he wouldn't have known much about Krishna's shot
The game's lost a bit of its spark and it may be a low scoring affair. There's a few nerves out there still
TW coming back into it. On a couple of occasions Corrales has almost got free - if he does it could be the opener as he has pace to burn again Emblem and Hay.
Goal disallowed. TW get it in the back of the net but the flag's up for offside
Great opportunity as Gulley gets free down the left flank but his cross is behind
Great chance for Waitakere as Pearce gets free on the edge of the box but drags his shot past the post
Nothing between the teams with few clear cut chances, looks like a stalemate at halftime
Free kick for TW on the edge of the box as Corrales is clattered.....
Barron takes and it's a ripper, with Gillespie beaten but it comes back off the bar....great effort from Andy Barron
Wellington turning the screw as Corrales comes screaming into the area and his first time effort is wide
free kick for Waitakere on the edge of the area with Sykes to take and his effort is headed over by Michael Pickering for a corner
Easily cleared by TW
HALFTIME and it's nil all at Newtown in a very even tussle
It started all Waitakere and finished with Wellington coming into it more and more. The second half should be a cracker but there's been few shots on goal.
The second half is underway at Newtown with Wellington lookingn to take a lead to Auckland for the second leg and Waitakere looking to get that ever important away goal.
corner to TW and it's a good one from Little that has Gillespie stretching to punch away
Free kick to TW 30 metres from goal and Barron looks favourite to take again....
and it's another cracker. Gillespie knew nothing about that one. It deceives Gillespie and somehow he gets an arm to it and it goes over the bar
free kick for Waitakere that Pearce takes and he drives it just wide.
Krishna fires one across the face of the gosl but no one in a white shirt to turn it home
first sub for TW as Jenkins is replaced by Sam Blackburn
sublime skill from Andy Barron who brings the ball down sweetly and turns his defender to get free in the area but his shot is turned away by Gillespie. Great skill
another free kick for Waitak on the edge of the area and again it's Pearce........
what a great Wellington wall, there's no way through as Pearce's free kick cannons into it and away
screamer from Blackburn that goes past the post and the follow up corner is glanced wide by Peter Howe.
GOAL! Mix up at the back and Krishna is in and blasts past Bannatyne. 1-0 Waitakere and they've been under the cosh a bit
TW will be kicking themselves as they had missed some good chances and looked to be getting on top and that's a sickener
another horrible mix up at the back for Wellington and first Bannatyne saves point blank from Pearce and then Pearce's follow up is stopped on the line by Howe before sub Kayne Vincent drags his shot wide. Vincent is on for Totori
Golden boot Luis Corrales has never scored against Waitakere but the home side needs him to break that duck tonight as Halstead replaces Eager for TW
Time running out for the home side as Waitakere look to close up shop with job done
First yellow card of the game goes to TW's Adam Birch
Waitakere have done superbly. They started well and then soaked up the Wellington pressure when it looked like they may buckle and then got the all important away goal. It'll be hard for TW in Auckland in the second leg
good effort from Chris Bale goes just over. It'll need to be the late late show for Wellington
it's a bit ragged now as TW go looking for the equaliser and they leave themselves vulnerable on the break and Waitakere are a side that'll exploit that
FULLTIME and Waitakere will take a 1-0 lead into the second leg in Auckland and it was a well desreved win but it'll be all on in the second leg and TW aren't out of it yet