NZFC - Week 12,
Fred Taylor Park, Whenuapai
Saturday 30 January, 2010
Tim Myers 70
Chad Coombes 53
Halftime:0-0 Referee:Kevin Stoltenkamp Crowd:2238
by Bob Pearce at Fred Taylor Park
Auckland City and Waitakere United battled out a 1-1 draw at Fred Taylor Park that left Auckland still top of the league on goal difference but with two games in hand over their cross-town rivals.
Both sides could take some comfort from the result: Waitakere couldn't afford to lose. Auckland were happy to retain their unbeaten record with only four goals conceded.
Both teams are likely to qualify for the playoffs. But Auckland are in the box seat to top the league and earn an automatic spot in next season's O-League.
The crowd of 2238 fans on a scorching hot day were treated to some quality football on a ground that was in immaculate order.
But nobody could have been happy about the quality of the finishing by either side.
The first half was scoreless despite several decent chances.
Auckland midfielder Adam McGeorge managed to bounce a long-range shot off the crossbar after 10 minutes and Brent Fisher laid on a perfect pass for Allan Pearce seven minutes later but the unmarked Waitakere striker headed wide.
Chad Coombes had a good chance to put the visitors ahead when Grant Young headed the ball into his path with the goal at his mercy but his shot hit the upright and stayed out.
The deadlock was broken in the 53rd minute. Ian Hogg made good ground out wide and Coombes headed home - his first goal in the NZFC this season.
Waitakere's equaliser came in the 70th minute after a period of intense pressure. Auckland failed to clear a left-wing corner and after several players had flailed at the loose ball, Tim Myers got the decisive touch.
Waitakere ramped up the pressure and they were on top over the closing stages but despite plenty of magic from Benjamin Totori, who left a string of defenders in his wake, the finish wasn't there.
Perhaps the best chance came in the 82nd minute when Totori crossed from the left but substitute Ryan de Vries couldn't finish the job from 3 metres out.
"It was a really good tight game," said Auckland coach Paul Posa.
"They're a very good team and they raised their game from last week."
"Both teams played well and had periods of dominance but neither could afford to lose and I think that was reflected in the way they played.
I think we can still play better but I can have no complaints about the result."
Waitakere player-coach Neil Emblen, without the injured All White Aaron Scott in his defence, was a tower of strength flanked by youngsters Myers and Jack Pelter.
He felt his team were unlucky not to snatch the points.
"I thought we were really unlucky at the end," he said. "In the last 20 minutes we had four clear chances to win the game.
"For 20 minutes when Auckland scored they were superb, but I thought we dominated after we equalised."
Next weekend Waitakere are at home to Otago, while Auckland travel to Ngaruawahia to play Waikato.
1 Danny Robinson (GK)
1 Jacob Spoonley (GK)
4 Tim Myers
3 Ian Hogg
7 Martin Bullock
5 Matt Williams
8 Brent Fisher
6 Ki-Hyung Lee
9 Benjamin Totori
7 James Pritchett
10 Allan Pearce
8 Chad Coombes
11 Neil Sykes
10 Grant Young (64 Dickinson)
12 Roy Krishna
15 Ivan Vicelich
16 Neil Emblen
16 Jason Hayne
17 Jake Butler
17 Adam McGeorge
21 Jack Pelter
20 Greg Uhlmann
2 Jason Rowley
4 Sam Campbell
18 Zane Sole
9 Paul Urlovic
19 Dakota Lucas
18 Paul Gothard
20 Ryan de Vries
23 Adam Dickinson
22 Liam Little (RGK)
28 Daniel Morgan
=2 yellow cards
= red card
Beautiful sunny day, hot with a light southerly. Fred Taylor Park in great order with a good sole of grass despite the dry weather
Auckland start Grant Young in place of Koprivcic who's injured. Waitakere have Pelter in place of injured Aaron Scott. Myers moves to fullback
Auckland kick off into slight southerly
Long ball finds Hogg on left but defused by Robinson
Uhlmann weak header puts Spoonley under pressure and he makes good save as Totori nips in
First Waitakere cornerwasted
Totori penalty shout waved away.
Weak Krishna shot from long range. Waitakere making all the running while Auckland look nervous
Freekick to Aucckland 30 metres out.Easily cleared.
McGeorge shoots from 30 metres bounces off crossbar.
Hayne breaks free but outnumbers and chance fizzles
Young makes space but flubs shot. pelter showing strength to harry veteran
Left wing corner for Waitakere sails across goal with nobody home
Good work by Fisher lays on header for Pearce. Straight into keeper's arms
Auckland struggling to string pases together as Waitakere tackle back and counter quickly
Water break for teams. Red wine for the reporter well earned!
Pelter down with injured shoulder, restored
McGeorge again from long range but well off target
league commissioner Glyn Taylor keeping eye on play, growling like a tiger
Poor corner from Auckland, no snap to their attack
Combes shoots on angle and Robinson stretched to save.
Left wing corner scrambled clear by Waitakere
Good run by Totori, shot by Pearce deflected wide
Corner cleared behind again. Second corner snatched by Spoonley
Foul by Uhlmann on Totori on edge of area. Freekick by Pearce straight at goalie
Right wing corner for Auckland. Vicelich penalised for push
Young header finds Combes whose shot beats goalie but rebounds clear off upright.
Miscued cross by hayne handled by Fisher freekick by Lee well saved by Robinson
Young breaks but crosses poorly
Three minutes added on
Krishna runs on goal brought down by Uhlmann who gets yellow card.
45 plus three
Sykes freekick blocked by wall halftime 0-0. Waitakere have had more chances but Combes shot off post nearest to score.
It's getting very hot and mistakes are going to be made. With Totori and Krishna darting around it will be interesting to see whether Auckland keep Uhlmann on with one yellow and the threat of another.
Uhlmann still on. No changes either side.
Krishna wins corner. Pearce swings it over bar
Young breaks but Emblen wins battle of the older men.
Cross by Pritchett, diving header by Williams no problem to goalie
GOAL! Cross from left by Hogg, headed in by Coombes
Yellow card Pearce for illegal tackle
Hayne through but robbed by Sykes.
Krishna finds Butler but shot just wide
Krishna jiggles ball off defence but shoots wide
Sub Dickinson on for Young
Vicelich yellow for foul on Krishna
Emblen drifts forward, shot touched over bar
GOAL! Corner skirmish Tim Myers gets final touch after several miskicks
Hayne to Coombes, well saved by Robinson
De Vries on for Krishna, Morgan on for Coombes
Freekick by Pearce header over top by Pelter
Totori bedazzles defence, crosses perfectly and de Vries misses from three metres
Hopeful Haynes shot sails over bar
Totori dazzles defence but shoots limply wide.
Chance for Fisher but ball rolls tantalisingly wide
Sykes cross Myers lunges but just fails to connect
Lucas on for Totori
Three minutes time added
Fulltime: 1-1. Auckland stay top on goal difference.