NZFC - Grand Final
Sunday 29 March, 2009
Allan Pearce 15
Keryn Jordan 78
Halftime: 1-0 Referee: Mike Hester Crowd: 2500
by nzfc.co.nz at Douglas Field
Auckland City picked the perfect time to break their Waitakere United hoodoo beating the defending champions 2-1 at Douglas Field to win the 2008-09 New Zealand Football Championship grand final on Sunday.
Auckland hadn’t beaten Waitakere in their previous eight meetings in the NZFC or OFC Champions League, a two-year stretch dating back to the 2006-07 grand final, when Auckland claimed their third title.
Waitakere United – who hadn’t lost at home for almost two full seasons – looked on course for a repeat title when Allan Pearce benefited from Roy Krishna’s good work to tap in a 15th minute opener, but a piece of Keryn Jordan magic and a late goalkeeping howler from Waitakere’s Richard Gillespie saw the trophy head back to Kiwitea Street.
With Auckland building pressure in the second half but not quite creating any clear-cut chances, Keryn Jordan slipped his marker and rose high to meet Grant Young's pinpoint cross, glancing his header into the top corner from the penalty spot.
With the game heading towards extra time, Urlovic took advantage of some indecision amidst claims for handball by Jake Butler, snapping a speculative shot from the edge of the area straight at Gillespie who let it slip through his grasp for an 89th minute winner.
Despite being a goal down to a previously untouchable minor premiership winning Waitakere side, Auckland coach Paul Posa thought his side had momentum at halftime.
“The way we finished the first half, I thought there would be a period we would get on top and Waitakere would be hanging in, but it took a quality finish from Keryn [Jordan] and he just has that little bit of quality you need,” Posa said.
“Urlovic struck his well and the keeper’s made an error but that’s football.”
Waitakere coach Chris Milicich was not about to vilify his keeper, preferring instead to focus on missed opportunities in front of Auckland’s goal.
“You miss three one-on-ones and you don’t win the game, end of story,” Milicich said.
“[It could’ve been] 2-0 or 3-0 but we didn’t finish them off.
“We’ve let a sloppy second goal in that we never should’ve let in and not defended the first well, but credit to them they’ve stuck in there. They’ve been a poor side most of the year, a mid table side but they’ve come through and hats off to them.”
On another day, Waitakere striker Roy Krishna – a strong candidate for player of the season – would have had a match-winning hat-trick but the diminutive Fijian crashed a fifth minute header onto the bar, blazed a couple of second half chances over the woodwork, and was closed down after rounding the keeper only moments before Jordan’s equaliser.
Posa paid tribute to his squad that had finished second in the league – eight points behind Waitakere – and said the victory proved they were still a very capable team.
“They [the supporters] feel the vibe of the game and as the game was turning our way they were getting louder and louder.”
“We were quite concerned that we weren’t going to score and were just about to make a change just the goal came, but they can sense how the team is playing.”
The two teams do it all over again next week with a place in the O-League final up for grabs. Auckland can afford to draw the match and progress to the two legged final against Koloale FC from the Solomon Islands, whereas Waitakere must reverse today’s defeat to reach their third straight continental final.
1. Richard Gillespie (GK)
12. Jacob Spoonley (GK)
4. Time Myers (out 69)
3. Matt Friel
5. Danny Hay (Captain)
5. Matt Williams (out 54)
8. Paul Seaman
6. Ki-Hyung Lee
9. Benjamin Totori (out 63)
7. James Pritchett
10. Allan Pearce
8. Chad Coombes
11. Neil Sykes
9. Paul Urlovic
12. Roy Krishna
10. Grant Young (out 89)
15. Chris Bale
13. Alex Feneridis (out 74)
16. Neil Emblen
15. Ivan Vicelich (Captain)
17. Jake Butler
20. Greg Uhlmann
22. Danny Robinson (RGK)
1. John Fletcher (RGK)
13. Daniel Koprivcic (in 63)
4. Sam Campbell (in 89)
14. Jeff Campbell
14. Keryn Jordan (in 54)
21. Kayne Vincent
24. Milos Nikolic
29. John Chisholm (in 69)
25. Adam McGeorge (in 74)
=2 yellow cards
= red card
Welcome to Douglas Field for the Grand Final of the 2008-09 NZFC where old foes Waitakere and Auckland meet once again.
The sun is shining and there's a large crowd buiding. There's still a queue outside the gates but those who arrived early - and there were plenty - were treated to a 6-4 extra time goal fest in the final of the National Youth League, won in teh end by Auckland City, who raced to 3-0 at halftime, were pegged back to 3-3 then to 4-4 before grabbing two in extra time to regain the title.
Referee Mike Hester gets us underway.
Totori gets slammed in a hard, but, fair challenge by Vicelich and goes down for treatement.
ooh! A Waitakere heder crashes onto the bar and remarkably it's from the diminuative Roy Krishna.
Roy Krishna gets scythed down outside the area by Greg Uhlmann, who gets the game first yellow card. He'l need to tread carefully now.
Chris Bale lines up from 35 yards and unleshed a tracer bullet, but straight at Spoonley.
Auckland take a corner short to Lee and he almost wriggles free inside teh area.
Lee on a run gets in the area and should've pulled the trigger. Instead it breaks own.
Tackles begiining to fly from both sides. Young gets cuaght one in midfield but his pleas go unheard.
GOAL! 1-0 Krishna skins Matt Friel down Waitakere's right hand side and his cross is eventually finished by Allan Pearce.
Totori and Krishna combine on the left flank but Totori's low cross is poked clear by Lee.
Great tackle by Emblen on Young as Urlovic and Young break 2 on 1.
Totori is booked for a foul on Coombes and Lee lines up the free kick from wide on the right.
A Lee inswinger evades the boot of Young and then Emblen gets afoot to the ball at the back post with Williams launching himself head first at the ball. Williams stays down after his head met the leather of Emblen's boot.
Coombes beats Gillespie to a bouncing ball - just - and the balls squirts away from goal. Commbes takes a second to locate it, and Gillespie saves his follow-up shot from the by-line.
Pearce cuts in from the right, on his left foot and Spoonley needs to be at his best to tip it over for a corner.
A dangerous Waitakere corner is cleared.
Matt Friel goes very close from an Auckland keeper. A back post header is flicked goalward at the other post by Friel but Gillespie is equal to it.
Spoonley comes for a Waitakere corner but can't get it cleanly and Lee clears the danger with a bicycle kick.
Halftime in the final with Waitakere leading 1-0. Auckland not out of it by any stretch of the imagination but will need to conjure something special to break down the White wall.
Back underway with no changes made to eitehr side. Keryn Jordan, the league's all-time leading scorer is still on the bench.
Neil Emblen connects with a back-post header but Spoonley had made himself big and blocks the header.
Krishna goes on a run through the middle but is swamped by defenders. Krishna is playing centrally with Pearce and Totori on teh flanks up front.
Gillespie puts Tim Myers under pressure by rolling the ball to him with Fenerdis breathing down his neck. Feneridis wins it and crosses but Urlovic just can't connect with it.
SUB Auckland - Keryn Jordan comes into the game for Matt Williams to the delight of Auckland section of the crowd.
Totori tropubls Friel inside the box but his pass goes right accross the face of goal.
The blue section of the 2500-strong crowd are alternating their chants between "There's only one Keryn Jordan," "Come on you blues" and various other stock chants. No reply from the white section of teh crowd as yet.
A pair of bad misses. Matt Friel misses a tackle which allows Allan Pearce to lay the ball into Roy Krishna's path who skies his shot over from 6 yards.
Keryn Jordan tries an atheltic bicycle shot-cum-cross but only connects with Tim Myers' head.
Auckland break - it looks like 3 on 2 or even 3 on 1. Coombes spots Gillespie off his line and tries to dink it top corner. Clever idea, almost came off, but maybe the man inside him was the smarter option.
SUB Waitakere - Koprivcic on for Totori
Urlovic manages to free himself on the right flank but again AUckland just can't connect to the cross in the box.
Jordan fires a header just wide from the ensuing corner.
Auckland building pressure here but Waitakere won't buckle. A succesion of Auckland corners is broken by Coombes trying to latch on to a pass over the Waitak defence but being beaten to it by Gillepsie.
SUB - Waitakere: John Chisholm for Tim Myers
Friel gets a yellow card for a check on Pearce. Bit harsh but Pearce sucked him into it.
Good wrk from Allan Pearce to free himself and his cross test Spoonley, who his bundled over the byline by Seaman and Bale as they challenge for the ball.
SUB Auckland - Mcgeorge for Feneridis
Spoonley punches clear a corner, and Roy Krishna fires a low bending shot just wide.
Krishna springs the off side trap, rounds Spoonley but is thwarted by the cover tackle of Ivan Vicelich.
GOAL! 1-1 Keryn Jordan rises to meet Grant Young's pinpoint crosss with a pin-point header to fire Auckland level. Will Waitakere end up rueing that missed chance at the other end?
Young beats Hay in the box but as he goes to shoot, Enmblen slides in to close him down. The corner is met by Viceleich at the back post and another another Auckland header is cleared. Auckland dominating atthe moment.
Chris Bale shows great control to bring down the clearance. It's a foot race between Bale and Coombes but Coombes tugs the shirt to stop Bale, and earn himself a yellow card.
Krishna has another half chance but aain he puts it high.
GOAL! 1-2 Handball claims as the ball bounces up to Butler's hand. Everybody stops, but Hester says play on. The ball falls to Urlovic whose speculative shot goes slips through Gillespies hands. That could be the final.
Auckland just playing time now. Gillespie's howler looks like it has cost Waitakere from defending their title.
FULLTIME: Auckland win 2-1 at Douglas Field to reclaim the NZFC trophy. Jordan and Urlovic were the goal scoring heroes but a goal keeping error from Gillespie was ultimately the difference.
The two sides meet here again next week to decide who mkaes the final of the O-League against Koloale FC.