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Waikato FC

Otago United


NZFC - Week 7
Centennial Park, Ngaruawahia
Sunday 13 December, 2009



              Stu Kelly 89


Halftime:        0-0               Referee:        Chris Kerr                        Crowd: 391

Otago climb to fourth

by Matt Richens at Centennial Park

Otago goal scorer Stu Kelly holds off Joey Simpkins. PhotosportOtago United coach Malcolm Fleming was embarrassed after his side's 1-0 win over Waikato FC in Ngaruawahia on Sunday.

Embarrassed because neither side played great football and a draw would have probably been a fair result, but also embarrassed for the fans.

``It wouldn't have been a great game to watch,'' he said.

Fleming's side took the three points, and fourth place in the NZFC table, thanks to an 89th minute strike by Stu Kelly who's deft touch rounded Waikato keeper Sean Dowling and stole the spoils from what had been an even game.

Both teams created a number of chances, but the finishing, apart from Kelly's winner, was mediocre.

The ball ping-ponged up and down the pitch and neither midfield could assert any dominance.

But there were plenty of chances, they just weren't taken well enough.

``It could have been a 5-5,'' Fleming said.

Fleming joked about just how rare it is for an Otago side to be as high as fourth on the NZFC table.

``We've got guys getting nosebleeds that have been in the side for a while, they've never been this high up the ladder,'' he said.

But Fleming also felt sorry for Waikato, knowing all to well what it's like to battle away and come away with nothing, afterall, it had almost become a habit for Otago.

``I've been in the same position they're in and when you're at the bottom you don't have much luck. For 85 minutes they were in it then we scored.

``They're not playing any worse than us and they're sitting bottom and we're now fourth.''

The difference is teams who can grab a point, or three, when they're not at their best are generally the teams who join the two Auckland sides in the playoffs.

If it wasn't for bad luck, Che Bunce's side wouldn't have any luck at all.

They have just three points from five games now, have been beaten in the last 10 minutes twice and deserved at least a point, if not the three, against Canterbury and Manawatu.

But deserving points doesn't mean anything.

You have to score goals and Waikato just aren't doing it.

They created a number of chances against Otago, but either poor touches, poor options or gritty defence stopped them doing anything meaningful with the ball.

But as Fleming said, Sunday's game could have been a whole other story.

``I felt ashamed, we're happy with the three points, but they should have got a point from that game.''

The problem with Otago now is they've lost all surprise value. Teams would not be wise to treat them lightly now.

Stu Kelly was the only player on the park to assert some dominance in the middle of the park.

Nathan Knox was good too for the Southerners and keeper James Waggit did all that was asked of him and pulled off a couple of neat saves.

Otago host Canterbury in the South Island derby next week with the chance of consolidating a top four spot as their Christmas present while Waikato will be welcoming the suspended Bunce back with open arms.

With his goal scoring ability in the Northern League  Bunce was second in the Golden Boot race and played the winter season as a striker  there is more and more talk of the former All White playing up front.

And as Waikato have scored just five goals in five games, a change is definitely on the cards before they travel to a battling


Team Sheet

Waikato FC


Otago United

1 Sean Dowling

1 James Waggett

3 Richard Beard

2 Michael Abbott sub 62'

4 Charlie Hoyle

3 Tristan Prattley

5 Joey Simpkins

5 Chris Jenkinson

6 Jason Chewins

8 Stu Kelly

8 David Samson

9 Ryan Faichnie

10 Michael Gwyther

11 Andy Coburn

12 Sam Wilkinson sub 62'

12 James Reichwein

13 Shaun van Rooyen (c)

14 Dan Ede sub 62'

14 Dan Peat

17 Tom Horner

24 Maurie Wasi

18 Nathan Knox



26- Alex Carr (GK)

13- Brian Brown (GK)

7 Tewi Te Pou

7 Robbie Deeley sub 62'

16 Paul Stewart

15 Tom Connor sub 62'

18 Corey Hitchens sub 62'

16 Morgan Day

23 Alex Barlow


=yellow card

=2 yellow cards

= red card


Play by Play


Great day at Ngaruawahia's Centennial Park, pitch looks a picture, warm, few clouds, should be a good game with plenty to play for. Crowd dribbling in. I'm Matt Richens, if you have any questions or queries you can get me on and I'll try to get to them at halftime


Stu Kelly has the first chance of the match for Otago United, free kick from close range, beats the wall with a dipping shot but straight at Sean Dowling, Easy save


Otago United the better start, couple of half chances, but not a lot to tell you about. Waikato already look like they're missing player coach Che Bunce at the back - he's suspended - and the rejigged back four have been opened up too easuily so far, Waikato look to be playing high up the pitch too... maybe need to ease into the game and not push forward so much.


That said, Mauri Wasi breaks through and shoots, but over Otago keeper James Waggett and his goal


Dan Ede's flicked on header from an Otago corner beats everyone as it goes across goal,. but misses far post too.


This is a very open game, not a lot of defence, well not a lot of good defence anyway... I want to say there WILL be goals here, but then we all know what will happen


Waggett forced into a tough save from a long range volley from Dan Peat, good hiot by the Waikato striker, but a diving Waggitt does well, despite missing it completely with his hands and using hios sprawled out body, actually he didn't do that well really, but he did save it


Referee Chris Kerr clearly has a new whistle and is enjoying taking it for a test-drive, calling a lot of nothing fouls


Che Bunce is being naughty, I think he just told a player what to do, he'snot allowed inside the technical area and you just know it's killing him not to be involved. Still, them's the breaks when you get suspended.


Joey Simpkins leaps ontpo a loose ball and volleys on the run for Waikato, hits very hard, but straight at Waggett


Thanks for your email Gavin Wheeler, Knoxy is playing wide left, looks like a 4-4-2 with Ede and Reichwein up front, as you predicted. Actually, Ede may be playing just in front


Stu Kelly's shot inside tyhe area is blocked and Otago have multiple half chances as the ball bobs around the Waikato box, but eventually cleared by David Samson.both teams quite expansiveso far.


Mark Currie makes a good point Otago's top scorer David Dugdale was included in the preview, but not playing or on ther bench fro the southerners. To be honest, I have no idea why... Will try and find out at halftime, oh the things I do for you. Still 0-0... meandering along a bit, getting a little feisty.


  YELLOW CARD - Jason Chewins, tackle a bit late, good fall from Otago player, was clipped, but amde the most of it, clever, because they now have handy freekick. But variation taken and hit low straight at Dowling, easy long-barrier save


Otago down to 10 for a bit, someone's injured, my eyes are a little hungover to see that far and see who it is sorry., back up, but jogging gingerly... it was Tristan Prattley and now he's back on


best chance of thwe game, Ede (otago) beat his man ran into the box and flicked to Knox who's shot was parried into the bar by Dowling, and Otago have a chance from the resulting corner, but gone wide, another corner...


didn't do a lot with that one...chances at either end, but Otago probably had the best of them


Peat pulls the trigger from a long way out, out left, Waggett gets a poo bounce which takes off, but manages to keep it out, just..!


Wilkinson has two shots for Waikato, bioth difficult, but from the resulting pinball thingee Gwyther's half bicycle (unicycle?) is well saved by Waggett


Otago's Nathan Knox - A fellow Shirley Boys' High School '98 Alum -  hits a good shot which just curls wide from 25m in front, beat everyone though


A reliable source informs me David Dugdale pulled up late in training this week and didn't travel. Lucky for Waikato, they're struggling to keep the strikers Otago has here quiet. Very back and forth game and I get the feeling, for whatever that's worth, that whoever starts dominating the midfield will dominate the game


hmmm, could go either way... Both teams have defended okay at best and given away quite a few chances, but neither have done enough with the ball to score. Good to watch though.


Waikato FC 0, Otago United 0 - entertaining match so far, plenty to look forward too in the second half..!


We're away, Waikato playing toward their favourite pavillion end... It's not quite the Kop, but still... still just dinking around, not a lot of build up by either side


yawn, I say yawn because you can't see me yawning, nothing is happening.


Knox shoots from 20 metres again, but goes wide... He, and maybe Dan Peat look like the players who could open this game up


Gwyther send in a probing ball and it falls for Simpkins who's on the far corner of the 6 yard box and he yorks himself and his "shot" goes nowhere... he's fuming with himself, rightly so


Waikato spending more time onte ball and gertting a little mroe creative, not a great sign for Otago, still, neither side has taken their chances


SUBSTITUTION 7. Robbie Deeley in, 2. Michael Abbott out and 14. Dan Ede off for 15. Tom Connor for  Otago and 12. Sam Wilkinson for 18. Corey Hitchens for Waikato


Hoyle clears off the Waikato line and from the corner, Otago go just wide, game back in the balance


  YELLOW CARD STUPID, Prattley took exception to a wee bump from Gwyther when shielding ther ball back to Waggett so ran after him and tripped Gwyther, right under referre's Kerr's eyes, good work Kerr for seeing that, the ball was long gone, but he had a feeling it was going to happen, Waikato's freekick cleared, Prattley may not have been allowed south of the Waitaki River again had Waikato scored there, dumb, dumb, dumb


Waikato corner, good variation of a short corner and Gwyther beats two, but his shot is turned round the near post eventually by a defender and Waikato's Mauri Wasi, should have been another corner, but Kerr calls freekick, tough to see from his position there


A prolonged attack bvy Otago comes to nothing, only a defelcted weak shot from Stu Kelly, but on the counter Michael Gwyther gets clear, but shoots wide, couldhave come a lot closer to the goal before pulling the trigger therem, not really good enough


This match just needs someone to grab this game by the scruff of the neck, Waikato have dominated games against Canterbury and Manawatu and come away with nothing, this would go a long way to making up for it if they could snatch one here... a draw is probably fair, but there have been so many chances, someone MUST score


Maybe not, Otago just miss an open goal, they've got a corner, but a sliding James Reichwein had an open goal, but dribbled it goalward so Dowling had enough time to get there


ANother shot goes wide, this time, by Otago's Stu Kelly again...


SUBSTITUTION - Tewi Te Pou 7, on for 14 Dan Peat for Waikato


  GOAL! Finally, Stu Kelly puts Otago 1-0 up... heartbreak fro Waikato, again... Kelly pushed it past Dowling into the corner of his goal after yet another nothing build-up, but got free and likely snatched the points.


Gwyther has a chance to draw level for Waikato from a loopy cross but as he takes a touch, he's swamped, he was on the corner of the six yard box and should have hit it first time, he's been one of Waikato's best, but poor decision there

90' + 2

 Waikato blow another chance, Te Puo puts in a brilliant low cross and three Waikato players either leave or run past it. ABout two to go here

90' + 3

Apparently not, that's full time... 1-0 to Otago... Pretty even game, but it only takles one shot and Otago's Stu Kelly delivered that shot, he was the best player on the park and did create the most.Waikato stuck dead last on the bottom of the table, Otago move to the lofty heights of fourth


That's me people, I'll be back soon with a wee story for you to read about the game, a few of the coaches' thoughts and a few more of mine. Cheers for tuning in. I've been and will continue to be Matt Richens...  Smiley Face