NZFC - Week 2, Carisbrook,
Sunday 1 November, 2009
Halftime: 0 - 0 Referee: Jamie Cross Crowd: 300
by Rab Smith at Carisbrook
A not so thin blue line defied Auckland City at Carisbrook when Otago United posted warning that it will not be easy pickings this season as new coach Malcolm Fleming engineered a non-scoring draw with the NZFC champion.
Auckland played smooth stylish football, showing ball technique that impressed purists, but Otago reminded spectators that hard work and tough tackling are worth a point or two.
The major sticking place for Auckland was an inspired performance by the central Otago trio of centrebacks Tim Horner and Chris Jenkinson, plus a dynamic display by keeper James Waggett.
Captain Horner set standards with a near error free match, outheading taller attackers and almost telepathically motoring around to stifle passing movements.
Englishman Jenkinson, who had a fine season with Caversham in the winter league, was equally clinical in the air, and talked his flank defenders into effective cover.
There were sparkling runs by Auckland’s Jason Hayne that had spectators sit upright, but too often he headed down unproductive corridors. Predictably Auckland earned the majority of possession, and some great switches of play by Ki-Hyung Lee threatened to unhinge Otago but the scampering blue line held.
Lee’s superb technique almost did a ‘Beckham’ at one stage as he superbly laced a 60 metre shot goalwards, but keeper Wagget managed to scramble back and field the ball.
In the few chinks of daylight that Otago’s defence allowed, it was keeper Wagget who earned his match bonus with a couple of sharp reflex saves as the ball squirted through a crowded penalty area.
Although Chad Coombes almost embarrassed the big keeper when he surged forward and almost dispossessed the Englishman with an empty goal beckoning.
Auckland’s experience should have paid off in the parade of free kicks and corners they won. Not that delivery was bad, but that resolute Otago defence challenged for everything and only a few lollypop header sailed over Otago’s crossbar.
"Pressure was our key word," said coach Fleming. "We wanted to pressurize the ball carrier as much as possible, and while it’s a big ask physically – the lads managed to keep it up for 90 minutes."
And as so often is the case, Otago might have staged a real upset, as on crumbs of possession, Stu Kelly showed class by threading passes around and even looped a couple of speculative shots over the crossbar.
Kelly and Robbie Deeley ground out the miles and rallied Otago’s young contingent into an effective team shape. Deeley too hit what could have been a match winning shot that Auckland keeper Jake Spoonley had to dive at.
But clearly Otago’s best chance was late in the match after a series of corners and freekicks, Aucklands failure to clear its lines created a ruck of All Black proportions, with half a dozen players hacking at the ball only a metre for Aucklands goal line.
Spoonley’s courage won the day however as the young keeper literally laid his body on the line.
Auckland coach Paul Posa was disappointed but recognized the Otago effort and discipline in denying his team a win.
"We did not make enough clear chances, and in the face of Otago’s determination, we were not good enough," he said.
1 James Waggitt (GK)
12 Jacob Spoonley (GK)
2 Rhys Henderson
3 Ian Hogg
3 Tristan Prattley
5 Matt Williams
5 Chris Jenkinson
6 Ki-Hyung Lee
7 Robbie Deeley
7 James Pritchett
8 Stu Kelly
8 Chad Coombes
9 Ryan Faichnie
11 Daniel Koprivcic
10 Dave Dugdale
13 Alex Feneridis
12 James Reichwein
15 Ivan Vicelich (C)
16 Morgan Day
16 Jason Hayne
17 Tim Horner (C)
20 Greg Uhlmann
4 Dave Shaw
4 Sam Campbell
6 Tom Sadd
14 Keryn Jordan
13 Brian Brown (R.GK)
17 Adam McGeorge
15 Tom Connor
1 Paul Gothard (R.GK)
20 Mike Still
=2 yellow cards
= red card
Few signs of rain as a light drizzle moved passed, great condition pitch as both teams examine it.
Weather has cleared up with a slight breeze and the sun shining
Players take the field, Otago win toss, Auckland to kick off
Auckland take an attacking approach, Otago counter, ref pulls up after hard tackle on Auckland defender
Waggett shields ball as it goes out over sideline
Auckland back on counter with a cross into the box by Williams, deflection from auckland striker puts it over the line
Ref pulled up foul outside Otago's box, Williams puts it far into the 6 yard only to have Uhlmann head over the crossbar
Loss ball in Otago 6 yard with Deeley falling on it to give Horner room to clear
Henderson takes free kick from a rough tackle and sticks it into Auckland's 18 yard, a bicycle kick from Otago striker goes wide of the left upright
Auckland win another free kick 15 yards outside Otago's 18, Ball hit into center of box with Vicelich heading it over
Great stop by Waggett keeps the ball out of the net, follow up run has Auckland head it over once more
Close call with Waggett and Coombes almost lets Auckland have an open goal, Waggett gets to the ball first and pushes it out to his left back
Auckland are making the most of the high balls making sure they are the first to get to them
Otago get some face footwork from Faichnie passing it center to Reichwein who sends it forward too far to put it out.
Corner to auckland cleared when it reaches the box by horner only to have Otago struggling to close down strikers when the ball comes back in
Game is moving one end to the other as each team puts pressure where it is needed
Otago get their first free kick in a good position, Kelly takes a low shot having it deflect off a striker and out for goal kick
Ref talks to Lee about tripping and otago get another chance on goal from outside the 18, again a low shot by Kelly, gets through and Spoonley goes down as he makes sure he has it in hand
Day clears a floating ball from Otago's 18 after Koprivcic puts in into the center of the box too short for any other strikers
Another head under pressure from Williams goes over the crossbar
Crack on goal by Auckland striker curves to the left of the left upright
Pressure by Faichnie on Spoonley causes Spoonley to knock the ball out the side to avoid any problems
slide from Henderson on Williams stops play as ref talks to him, Auckland take this chance to push forward and secure a corner.
Henderson takes a YELLOW for a harsh tackle on Auckland's defender
4th Offical singles 1 min extra in the half
45 + 1
Half time called, Otago doing well to hold Auckland at bay
No Changes made by ether teams at the half
Players take the field, Otago to kick
Kelly intercepts a pass between two Otago defenders and crosses it across the goal, ball runs behind the Auckland striker
Hayne puts his head to the ball sending it in a lob just going over the top of Otago's goal
Auckland are making the runs but Otago's packed defence are making the final touch hard for them
Faichnie caught offside
Auckland take a runner into goals with Spoonley making another great save to stop Auckland from putting it away and Otago's defenders help block the rebounds
Free kick by Auckland's defender rebounds of Otago's wall and out for corner
Pressure from Otago gives them a corner with the cross going far making Spoonley save, Otago Strikers get up to have another crack a few feel from the line, ball is blocked by defence
Deeley picks up ball just inside the 18 and shoots far post, Spoonley makes the save on the ground and holds
Ref has word with Uhlmann about language
YELLOW card to Kelly as pushing makes Auckland midfielder fall
Auckland are holding good back line as Otago are pulled for offside
Shield by Reichwein gives Otago on the ball close to the corner but no enough of an advantage to put it away
Game play has stayed around in Otago's half
High ball into goal, Waggett gets hands up and holds as he is knocked to the ground.
YELLOW to Chad Coombes
2 Mins Added time
90 + 1
Auckland putting another ball wide of goal
90 + 3
Otago Holding defence as full time is called