NZFC - Week 11,
Memorial Park, Palmerston North,
Sunday 31 January, 2010
17' Daniel Benson
45' Seule Soroman
49' 69' Jeff Campbell
70' Michael Gwyther
Halftime: 2-0 Referee: C Kerr Crowd: 200
by Andrew Bailey at Memorial Park
A Jeff Campbell double fired a resurgent second-half Waikato over YoungHeart Manawatu at a wet Memorial Park in Palmerston North today.
Manawatu knew before kickoff that nothing less than three points would do as they looked to revive their failing playoff hopes, and the opening quarter of an hour was promising for the home fans.
Daniel Benson, into the midfield for a missing Raff de Gregorio, played Seule Soromon in behind a high Waikato back four twice in the opening ten minutes, but Waikato keeper Carr was alive on both occasions to deny him.
A few minutes later a despairing Soromon was unable to get on the end on a teasing cross from Chettleburgh that drifted just yards wide of Carr’s far post.
YoungHeart were looking likely and the home fans were expecting a goal. A few minutes later they got one.
This time Manawatu broke down the left and Nathan Cooksley swung in a deep cross with his left foot.
Daniel Benson was alone behind the Waikato defence and timed his run perfectly to meet the ball with the inside of his foot first time and it crashed into the top corner. One up and YoungHeart were cruising.
They continued to have the better chances and on the stroke of half time they doubled their lead. Robson took a free kick from deep inside his half early and floated it towards Banks and Soromon.
It fell for Soromon who assessed the situation and chipped Carr brilliantly. Two nil and on the balance of play they deserved it.
The rain continued to fall on Memorial Park during the half time break but it failed to dampen the mood of the home fans, who finally had some goals to celebrate. Then again, they didn’t know what was about to happen.
Waikato started the second half with a roar, no doubt with the words of Che Bunce still ringing in their ears. Manawatu were unable to weather the storm.
Just four minutes after half time Jeff Campbell, who’d had a quiet first half, received the ball 25 yards out.
His strike was good enough but Nicholson looked to have it comfortably covered before it somehow squeezed through his arms and into the back of the net.
It was all the encouragement Waikato needed. The game found another gear and the tackles were flying in from both sides.
Waikato had regained their belief and you sensed the next goal would be crucial. It came from Jeff Campbell once again.
This time the former All White midfielder hit it with his right foot. There was a slight deflection as it went through a crowd of players but the Waikato bench didn’t care as it flew into the bottom corner.
They had barely finishing celebrating before they had another. Michael Gwyther sprinted onto a through ball, steadied himself and laced it into the roof of the net with his left foot.
It was a powerful finish and the three goal turnaround was complete for a Waikato side that had barely fired a shot in the first half.
YoungHeart were stunned and understandably so. They pushed hard but Waikato looked more resolute than they had the first half, while at the other end Che Bunce, pushed up front at half time, was causing problems in the air and at set pieces.
Alex Carr denied Banks and Chettleburgh, and then Soroman crashed a shot against the crossbar. The home fans might have been wondering if it was just Waikato’s day.
It proved to be. Referee Kerr blew for full time and Waikato had their second win in as many weeks. YoungHeart were devastated and the loss leaves them in real trouble.
Manawatu coach Bob Sova was blunt in his assessment:
“We threw it away. When you’re up you still have to do your job defensively. We were up last week and the same thing happened. Last week it was corners and set pieces, this week the goals came from the midfield but it’s defensive frailties again. We didn’t do our job defensively as a team.”
The playoff picture for both sides remains murky. Waikato are still second bottom and entertain the champions next week, but their two win streak means they now become another side the clubs above them will be looking over their shoulders at in an increasingly tight NZFC.
Manawatu will travel to Canterbury next week and they will know the games ahead are now looking more and more like must wins. The three points they let slip today could well come back to haunt them.
1. Ross Nicholson (GK)
1. Alex Carr (GK)
2. Nobuyoshi Ishi (83')
2. Che Bunce
4. Colin Falvey
3. Richard Beard
6. Matt Kennedy (79')
4. Charlie Hoyle
9. Seule Soroman
5. Joe Simpkins
10. Adam Cowan (c)
8. David Samson
11. Scott Robson
10. Michael Gwyther
13. Nathan Cooksley
17. Mark Jones (62')
21. Cory Chettleburgh
19. Jeff Campbell
22. Daniel Benson
23. Alex Barlow
23. Campbell Banks
24. Maurie Wasi (46')
7. Brook Tozer
6. Jason Chewins (46')
12. Michael Crisford (79')
14. Dan Peat (62')
15. Caleb Duncan (83')
16. Paul Stewart
14. Marco Paracchini
26. Scott Robinson (RGK)
19. Matt Borren (RGK)
=2 yellow cards
= red card
-15' Welcome to Memorial Park! No sunscreen required today, for the first time in a few YoungHeart home fixtures. It's been scorching all week here in Palmerston North but it's been raining on and off all morning and the players can expect that to continue, along with a bit of a breeze.
-5' Cowan and Bunce lead their teams out into the rain. Big game for YoungHeart's playoff hopes; nothing less than three points will be acceptable for them today.
And YoungHeart get us underway!
1' Ball's moving quickly on the wet surface here. Hopefully we'll see a good, fast game. YoungHeart are missing Raff de Gregorio today, and Daniel Benson has stepped into the midfield to fill the space.
3' Right on cue Benson plays Soroman into space down the right side, he cuts into the box with his first touch but it was just too heavy and young keeper Alex Carr got there first after a moment of hesitation.
5' Soroman and Benson combine again! Soroman gets away from Bunce but Bunce is able to push him wide enough and Carr makes a good save as Soroman tries to lift it over him. Good start by YoungHeart. Waikato's back four are sitting very high.
7' The pressure from Manawatu continues. This time Chettleburgh whips in a cross after Waikato successfully repel the first two balls into the box. Soroman's diving header at the far post must have been inches away from connecting.
10' Gwyther is played in at the other end as Waikato exert some pressure of their own. Robson turns well and beats Gwyther to the ball with a sliding tackle. Well timed.
12' Waikato launch a counter after it breaks down for YoungHeart in midfield. Maurie Wasi is through one-on-one before the offside flag saves Manawatu.
17' GOAL! It's a screamer from Daniel Benson! Nathan Cooksley bent in a cross from deep and Benson was there to meet it first time on the volley. Inside of the right foot and it raced into the top corner. Carr was beaten at the near post but it would be difficult to fault him, fantastic contact from Benson.
22' Goalkick by Nicholson bounces awkwardly, Charlie Hoye mistimes his header and only succeeds in flicking it on for Soroman who bursts into the box. Bunce reacts well, however, and Soroman's contact with the left foot strike is poor. Easy save for Carr.
26' Game's slowed down a little here, with a couple of injuries to the Waikato side.
27' Cory Chettleburgh gets a yellow card as referee Kerr tries to take a little control in the wet here.
28' And another for Nathan Cooksley.
30' Little spell of possession in the attacking third for Waikato, but Adam Cowan eventually hacks a clearance into the crowd and any danger is defused.
32' Nathan Cooksley gets the ball high again and floats in a cross with his right this time. Nobuyoshi gets the ball to Banks but his turn and shot is hurried and into the ground. Carr gathers gratefully into his chest.
37' Chettleburgh races into the box after Soroman stabs him through but the assistant referee's flag is up quickly. Alex Carr makes a great save anyway.
42' Fantastic ball by Kennedy releases Campbell Banks down the left hand side. Banks runs at Bunce and beats him well before a recovering Charlie Hoye drags him down by his arm just outside the box.
43' Chettleburgh whips in the free kick and all it needed was a touch but Waikato survive. Got a touch from a Waikato head but the corner comes to nothing.
45' GOAL! Great vision from Robson as YoungHeart win a free kick deep in their half. He hits Banks long who makes a run then leaves it for his strike partner. Soroman takes stock and then chips Carr brilliantly.
Halftime. Great time to score for YoungHeart and they'll head into the sheds knowing that they only need to continue to play the way they've been playing and the three points will be theirs. Frustration for Waikato to concede in the manner they did right at the end but they never really troubled Manawatu and Nicholson hasn't yet had to make a meaningful contribution.
46' Waikato kick off the second half and they've made a change too. 24. Maurie Wasi is withdrawn in favour of 6. Jason Chewins.
48' Waikato have pushed Che Bunce forwards and causes problems straight away as Waikato float a ball into the box. Ross Nicholson comes to punch but can't get a convincing fist on it. It bounces around the box before it is eventually cleared.
49' GOAL! Jeff Campbell gets Waikato back into it! He receives the ball 25 yards out from an innocuous looking square pass and hits it first time. Disaster for Ross Nicholson in the Manawatu goal as it goes straight through his arms after the strike didn't intially look like it would cause him problems.
55' The game's come to life here early in the second half, and so has the crowd. Manawatu nearly get one as a ball falls to Soroman in the box. He turns well but his curling right foot strike is headed clear by a Waikato head.
58' Almost disaster at the back for Manawatu as Colin Falvey slips in possession. Bunce toes it through and Waikato are away. Manawatu captain Adam Cowan shows great pace to make a fantastic sliding tackle. It bounces free though and Robson cleans up equally well. Great recovery by the two YoungHeart defenders but the initial slip won't do anything for Sova's blood pressure.
62' Waikato make another change. 14. Daniel Peat on for 17. Mark Jones. Waikato might fancy grabbing another here, they're beginning to play with real belief.
65' Plenty of spice in this one. The Waikato bench are furious at the referee yet again after a confrontation between Bunce and Robson and the fourth official has to step in to calm down the Waikato staff. Bunce is proving a real handful in the YoungHeart penalty area.
67' Robson lofts in a free kick from halfway. Alex Carr badly misjudges it and it nearly goes over his head before he just manages to tip it away. The breeze caused the young keeper a few nervous moments there and the crowd thought it was in.
69' GOAL! Jeff Campbell again! This time with his right foot. He hits it from the left side of the box and it flies into the bottom right corner, looked like it took a deflection.
70' GOAL! Waikato have completely turned this around as Michael Gwyther races onto a through ball and smashes it home with his left foot.
72' Incredible turn around here at Memorial and YoungHeart look shell shocked. Don't discount more goals from either side here, we're in for a firey last twenty minutes.
75' Great sliding tackle by Matt Kennedy prevents Bunce from getting in a cross. Waikato swing in a corner and Nicholson is under pressure again. He punches from a crowd of players almost straight into the air but manages to regather.
78' Banks bends a shot from a good 25 yards and Carr gets down well to palm it away and deals with a difficult bounce right in front on him on the wet surface.
79' Manawatu make a change and bring on 12. Michael Crisford for 6. Matt Kennedy.
81' The crowd in agony here as Soroman hits the bar!
83' Reshuffle for YoungHeart as 2. Nobuyoshi Ishi comes off and 15. Caleb Duncan comes in at the back. Adam Cowan is pushed up front from centre back.
87' No shortage of commitment here! Plenty of willing tackles as Manawatu push hard for an equaliser. Chettleburgh swings in a good cross but it's dealt with superbly by the Waikato centre halves.
89' Michael Gwyther draws a sharp save from Nicholson from a tight angle, then at the other end Cory Chettleburgh's strike is well held by Alex Carr.
90' We're going to see just two minutes extra time here.
It's all over! The Waikato side are elated and rightly so. YoungHeart look devastated and probably can't believe they let a two goal lead slip. Plenty of entertainment for the fans that braved the weather with five goals flying in and plenty of commitment shown all over the park but ultimately they'll go home disappointed that their side couldn't get the three points they desperately needed.