NZFC - Week 9
Memorial Park, Palmerston North
Saturday 9 January, 2010
Nathan Knox 53, 69
Halftime: 0-0 Referee: M Bensichke Crowd: 300
by Andrew Bailey at Memorial Park
Otago have shocked YoungHeart Manawatu with three unanswered goals in Palmerston North today and leap-frogged ahead of them into third place.
It is Otago United's first ever NZFC win over YoungHeart Manawatu in Palmerston North.
YoungHeart kicked off with the promise of first place in front of them, and they started brightly. In the first ten minutes Banks, Ishi and Cowan all provided chances for golden boot leader Seule Soromon, but he strayed offside on the first two and then mishit his shot on the third chance.
Otago were looking nervy and were unable to keep the ball for long enough to relieve the pressure for any length of time. Soromon’s pace was causing difficulties for the Otago back four and in the 20th minute he found himself free in behind again, but couldn’t head over an advancing James Waggett. Just three minutes later Soromon had an even better chance, but hit a weak shot too close to the keeper when he probably should have scored.
The Otago stopper was easily the busier of the two keepers and he continued to be called into action, making a good save from Banks and then Soromon again before the half finished with a brief flurry of activity by the Otago attack. Their best chance fell to Tristan Prattley six or seven yards out but Nicholson did well to save with his legs and it somehow remained goalless at halftime.
The two teams trudged off after a half that gave no indication of what was about to happen. Just two minutes into the second half, Otago struck. Nathan Knox found Stu Kelly at the top of the 18 yard box and got it back just inside the box on his left foot. Knox steadied himself and placed the ball back across the diving Nicholson to silence the home fans.
The goal sparked YoungHeart into life and for a few minutes there were green shirts everywhere. Soromon nearly equalised almost immediately, and Nathan Cooksley was well denied by Waggett a few minutes later. Manawatu continued to work openings but couldn’t manufacture anything as clear cut as in the first half.
Then popped up Nathan Knox again. This time the range was slightly closer and he opened his body to find the other corner, leaving YoungHeart to wonder what had happened during the halftime break.
Otago’s third, just a few minutes later, was similar. Ryan Faichnie ran onto a good long ball into the corner and found support well. The YoungHeart defence were outnumbered and a couple of cool touches inside the box later Otago found Dan Ede with time and space. He used both to full advantage and finished inside the left hand upright to finish YoungHeart off emphatically.
Otago coach Malcolm Fleming was understandably elated with the second half turn around.
“Manawatu could have had four or five goals in the first half, but we could have had a couple, too. Yes, I changed a couple of things with personnel, but mostly we just played in the second half how we were supposed to in the first.”
Manawatu coach Bob Sova was left frustrated with his side’s profligacy in front of goal.
“We had 80% of the game, obviously in the first half, but even in the second half we’ve had most of the game. In the first half Soromon’s nearly scored a few times and if we’d scored first I think we would have gone on and we probably would have won 3-0.”
Otago won’t mind, though. The three points fires them into third place ahead of their Kiwitea Street clash with Auckland City next week. Fleming admitted it will be tough, but pointed out they are the only side to take points from the champions so far this year. Otago will head north with real belief.
Meanwhile, YoungHeart and Bob Sova are left with no easy answers apparent for a struggling Manawatu strike-force.
1. Ross Nicholson
1. James Wagget
2. Nobuyoshi Ishi
2. Michael Abbot (89')
9. Seule Soroman
3. Tristan Prattley
10. Adam Cowan (c)
6. Tom Sadd
11. Scott Robson
8. Stu Kelley
14. Marco Paracchini
9. Ryan Faichnie
16. Raff de Gregorio (80')
11. Andy Coburn
20. Jimmy Haidakis (70')
12. James Reichwein (53')
21. Cory Chettleburgh
14. Dan Ede
23. Campbell Banks
17. Tim Horner
13. Nathan Cooksley
18. Nathan Knox
15. Matt Smith
7. Robbie Deeley (53')
6. Matt Kennedy
13. Brian Brown
22. Daniel Benson (80')
15. Tom Connor
7. Brooke Tozer (70')
16. Morgan Day (89')
19. Matt Borren
=2 yellow cards
= red card
Welcome to Memorial Park for the first NZFC game of the 2010 season. Warm here with a slight breeze. Captains leading their teams out now.
1' YoungHeart will go top with a win here and they've started well, pressing Otago back early.
4' Good chance! Adam Cowan unleashes from just outside the box. It's blocked by an Otago defender and the rebound falls to Soroman, but he's flagged offside just as he blasts over.
7' Manawatu bench is incensed as Soroman looks to be dragged down by Tim Horner when he was through with just the keeper to beat but the referee tells Soroman to get up.
8' The crowd are warming up now. Fantastic chip through by Nobuyoshi Ishi for Soroman. The golden boot leader turns a defender brilliantly before hitting it over. Never really caught it cleanly.
9' Soroman flagged offside again as he goes through clean on goal after a nice touch by Banks. The pressure is almost continuous at the moment, Otago won't mind taking their time taking the free kick.
11' Dan Ede lets one rip from nearly 30 but it sails wide of Ross Nicholson's post
15' Things have settled down a little bit now as Otago earn a couple of free kicks as Scott Robson then Cory Chettleburgh get a little too eager to win the ball back
Decent crowd here are enjoying the action, with most of them forsaking Memorial Park's cover to soak up some sun. Otago have a bit more of the ball now, but are giving it away a little too cheaply for Malcom Fleming's liking.
20' Soroman gets in behind the Otago defence again and nearly heads over an advancing James Wagget but can't quite get enough on it. Wagget claims gratefully. Soroman is causing problems with his pace but can't quite find a finish at the moment.
23' Great long ball from Jimmy Haidakis. Caught it beautifully and Soroman was through one on one. With a defender on his hip he couldn't find the power or direction as he tried to tuck it inside the post and Wagget saves again. YoungHeart looking very likely here.
26' Crowd urges Raff to shoot as he finds space 25 yards out. He flicks it to Banks instead and his shot is blocked.
27' Chettleburgh floats in a corner far post and finds Cowan free. He tries to lace it as he's falling but doesn't quite catch it. The shot flies into the side netting and Wagget is left frustrated with the marking.
31' Otago defender smashes one over the stands and the ball boys are off. Good urgency.
35' Almost a mini break there for Otago as YoungHeart's midfield were caught upfield. Good chase from Cory Chettleburgh snuffs it out.
37' This time it's Chettleburgh going the opposite direction. Otago defenders backed off him until he struck a shot just over the bar. Good connection but always rising.
39' Wagget does well. Chettleburgh with a good ball in behind and Soroman is through for a second in the box but Otago keeper is out quickly to nick it off his laces.
40' Almost immediately followed by Chettleburgh finding Banks who tries one with his left foot from just inside the box. Wagget gets down well to his left this time.
41' Tristan Prattley whips in a fantastic ball with his left foot, right between the keeper and defenders. Otago can't quite get on the end of it.
42' Good save by Nicholson! This time the ball bounces around the box before falling to Prattley again only six or seven yards out. He doesn't quite catch it but Nicholson does very well to save with his legs. Must have seen it late. Otago with a flurry of activity to close the half after being second best for most of it.
44' Not the best foul by Marco Paracchini. Late and right in front of the ref, but he seems keen to keep his cards in his pocket.
45' And it's half time here at Memorial Park. Surely there's a goal in this game! Plenty of chances falling for Soroman and co., but don't discount Otago, they came back into it with a couple of chances at the end there.
Half-time face in the crowd: is that superstar Tim Richardson of New York's Fordham University and current Atlantic-10 Conference Midfielder of the Year?
We're back into it! Otago get us underway.
47' Goal! Otago take the lead! Not sure what Malcom Fleming had to say at half time but it's worked. Nathan Knox plays a good one two then puts it past a diving Ross Nicholson with his left foot.
50' Soroman nearly hits back for Manwatu! He beats Wagget to the ball in the box and toe pokes it under his body but doesn't quite get enough on it and Tom Sadd makes a great recovery to slide in and clear it off the line.
53' Substitution for Otago. 7. Robbie Deeley on and 12. James Reichwein off. Reichwein not at all happy about coming off.
53' Nathan Cooksley finds himself in the box and cuts inside to the his right foot. He tries to put it the left hand post but Wagget gets a hand to it. Not the strongest shot.
58' Corner for Manawatu. After a battle in the six yard box it falls to Cowan but he stabs over.
62' Manawatu looking frustrated. Can't seem to quite recapture their passing from the first half and some of the fans sideline are demanding fewer long balls. YoungHeart must be wondering how they've found themselves behind here but that's football.
65' Soroman works it onto his left foot well just outside the box but it's straight at Wagget.
67' Great run down the right hand side by Dan Ede. He's crowded out in the corner by Cooksley and Cowan but somehow wriggles free. His cut back into the box is cleared for a corner. Ede then comes from fields with blood.
69' Goal! It's Knox again! Good touch inside the box gets it onto his left foot again and he finds the back of the net easily from close range.
70' Substitution for YoungHeart. 20. Jimmy Haidakis is off and 7. Brook Tozer comes on.
76' Goal! Dan Ede this time. Ryan Faichnie chases down a long ball and finds support well. A couple of nice touches from Otago players inside the box and they find Dan Ede with time about 12 yards out. He duly slides it inside the left hand post and YoungHeart are shellshocked. Silence here at Memorial.
80' Substitution for YoungHeart. 22. Daniel Benson is on and 16. Raff de Gregorio off.
82' Livewire Ryan Faichnie chases another ball played into the corner and tees up Stu Kelly. Nicholson saves well.
83' Adam Cowan is up front now and he pressures the Otago defence into giving him the ball, works it onto his right foot well 20 yards out but can't keep his strike down.
85' Great work from Cowan inside the box, beats two defenders by the byline but his cut back is blocked. More frustration for Manawatu.
89' Substitution by Otago. 16. Morgan Day will get a couple of minutes while 2. Michael Abbot comes off.
90' We're going to have just two minutes of extra time here.
All over! Otago win in Palmerston North for the first time and emphatically so. They leapfrog Canterbury and Manawatu into third place and will head to Auckland with some real confidence for their game against the champions next week.