NZFC - Week 2, Fred Taylor Park,
Sunday 1 November, 2009
Scorer B Fisher 31
Halftime: 1-0 Referee: Matt Conger Crowd: 398
by Bob Pearce at Fred Taylor Park
Waitakere United beat Canterbury United 1-0 but it was hard to pick which coach was more satisfied.
Neil Emblen was happy that the West Aucklanders took three points in their New Zealand Football Championship opener but disappointed in the way they played. Keith Braithwaite was encouraged that his new team competed so well after only three or four weeks together.
The game-decider came in the 31st minute when Neil Sykes delivered a beautifully flighted left-foot freekick which Brent Fisher headed home through a crowded defence.
Both teams had other half-chances but to be honest the players failed to make good use of the immaculate surface at Fred Taylor Park. Maybe they were undone by the freezing southerly wind but too often the final pass went astray.
Canterbury clearly were wary of the speed of Benjamin Totori up front and they managed to slow down the game and frustrate Waitakere's buildup. Dan Terris and Nick Wortleboer were particularly effective.
Against this red and black wall Fisher battled aggressively and Allan Pearce and Totori proved elusive on the flanks but usually found one tackler too many when they closed on goal.
After some early aggression Canterbury tended to pull players back and leave Aaron Clapham and Russell Kamo to try to strike on the counter-attack. Clapham was particularly effective without really stretching a defence well marshalled by Aaron Scott and Tim Myers.
Danny Robinson was hardly tested in the Waitakere goal while Tom Batty at the other end showed a fine pair of hands as he plucked balls off the heads of the home attack. No surprise that he is an accomplished cricketer.
Emblen, who spent most of the game on the subs bench --- both he and Roy Krishna are suspended for Waitakere's O-League game next Saturday --- was philosophical after the game.
"It wasn't pretty but it's three points," he said. "Last week we played well in Noumea and drew. This time we didn't play well and we won.
"To be honest we were a bit lacklustre today. Canterbury showed they are going to be a tough team to beat. They frustrated us and slowed the game down.
"We seemed to have three departments, back, midfield and front and each segment was too far away from each other."
Braithwaite was disappointed by defeat but encouraged by the way his team played in their first real game together.
"I thought we competed and we had a couple of chances which if we'd put them away would have altered the complexion of the game," he said. "This has given us something to work on because Waitakere are the benchmark of the game.
"We struggled for fitness towards the end but, after all, we've only been together for a month and had a couple of friendlies."
It is an encouraging sign for a competitive NZFC this year that the bottom team for the past couple of seasons can come to Auckland and compete with the team that dominated the league last season only to falter in the grand final.
1 Danny Robinson (GK)
18 Tom Batty (GK)
2 Jason Rowley
2 Dan Terris
3 Aaron Scott
4 Gareth Rowe
4 Tim Myers
5 Matt Boyd
7 Martin Bullock
6 Andy Pitman
8 Brent Fisher
7 Aaron Clapham
9 Benjamin Totori
9 Russell Kamo
10 Allan Pearce
11 Tom Lancaster
11 Neil Sykes
12 Nick Wortelboer
14 Jeremy Christie
15 Paul Dirou
17 Jake Butler
17 Glen Collins
12 Roy Krishna (Totori 70)
13 Hue Frame (79 Kamo)
13 Dimas Da Silva (Bullock 46)
16 Daniel Burns (Dirou70)
16 Neil Emblen (Myers 82)
20 Dominic McGarr
20 Ryan De Vries
23 Jordan Swaney (Lancaster 82)
22 Liam Little (RGK)
1 Chris Sinclair
=2 yellow cards
= red card
Sunny but cold wind across the Fred. Player coach Emblen opts to start from the bench
Early exchanges even but Canterbury look likely
Totori breaks on right and Pearce lays on tantalising cross caught by goalie
Clapham crosses from right but Kamo fails to collect
First corner on left for Canterbury, inswinger headed but foul on goalie.
Canterbury pushing forward but last pass going astray.
Sykes takes first Waitakere corner on right cleared
Casual defending by Waitakere lets in Tom Lancaster who shoots wide.
Yellow card Fisher for dissent
Pearce breaks on right and his shot is turned round post for a corner which goalie intercepts
GOAL! Freekick by Sykes headed home by Fisher.
Fisher almost makes it 2-0 but he's foiled by goalie
Clapham shot well saved by Robinson.
Kamo fouled on edge of area. Freekick straight into the wall
45 plus one
Halftime whistle. Play has swung back and forth but Waitakere made the most of the best chance.
Waitakere bring on Da Silva to replace Bullock
Canterbury rain crosses across Waitakere penalty area but Collins fails to connect with best chance
Freekick by Lancaster cleared out of danger area. Totori slips through on counter but support too late.
Promising attack by visitrors on left but Robinson smothers final pass
Butler freekick flies just over bar
Fisher shoots wide as Waitakere pressure builds
Yellow card Pitman for rash challenge
Totori weaves through but pass finds Pearce offside with only goalie to beat
Left wing corner to Waitakere headed clear by Rowe
Sykes breaks on left but Batty plucks his cross ahead of the attack
Daniel Burns on for Paul Dirou, Roy Krishna on for Benji Totori
Ping pong across the goalmouth sees Fisher clear but he shoots straight at goalie.
Kamo replaced by Frame
Lancaster replaced by Swaney, Myers replaced by Emblen
Yellow card for Boyd for felling Krishna
Great cross by Krishna just over Pearce's head
Nearly three minutes of time added played but nothing to show for it but a wide shot by Fisher
90 plus four fulltime whistle.