NZFC - Round 15,
Sunday 21st Feb, 1pm
Ben Light 5
Michael Gwyther 31, 38
Halftime: 2 - 2 Referee: Dave Langley Crowd: 180
by Rab Smith at Carisbrook
It took a superb penalty save by keeper James Waggett to preserve a 2-2 result with Waikato in the New Zealand Football Championship match at Carisbrook today in Dunedin
Keeper Waggett won the eye-to-eye battle with former Otago player Joe Simpkins whose penalty was well struck, but keenly anticipated by the Otago keeper.
At that stage, the match was teetering on a knife edge after Otago’s early two nil lead had been clawed back by Waikato to produce a 2-2 scoreline at the break.
Otago coach Malcolm Fleming will no doubt have some sleepless nights over his sides flip flop form that dominated in the early stages at Carsibrook, then went flat.
A bath for Waikato intially looked likely as the home side slid passes around, ran well off the ball, and created a swag of goalscoring chances.
Ben Light drew first blood after just seven minutes when a multi passing movement initiated by Ryan Faichnie froze the Waikato defence and Light picked his spot just inside the right upright to rifle in Otago’s first goal.
Then it was the rangy runner Nathan Knox, full of energy, twisting and turning who finished off a good move in the 17th minute and Otago was two goals up, with supporters baying for more…
But Waikato veteran Che Bunce, playing in the unaccustomed role of striker urged his side back into the game, and from good service by Shaun van Rooyen and Simpkins, gaps started to appear in the home defence.
Full of energy, Mike Gwyther showed for passes and playing off Bunce it was no surprise when he exploded with two goals in seven minutes to make a quivering 2-2 halftime scoreline.
Waikato continued its thrusting form after the break, and from a sustained spell of pressure that featured free kicks and corners, the buckling Otago defence conceded a penalty.
Later Bunce explained his role up front was to run good angles and set up play. His script was perfect as the big former defender enticed a rash tackle from Otago’s Mike Abbott – in a position of no danger – but referee Dave Langley still pointed to the penalty spot.
Waggett’s save was a class act. No shrinking violet Joey Simpkins ignored the Englishman’s eye contact, and struck a firm shot, but the big keeper had done this before and anticipated well as he launched a stretching dive and flapped the ball to safety.
Otago produced an adrenalin fired finish, with new legs from the bench, Robbie Deeley, Tom Connor and defender Mike Smith, but while it was exciting, there was more passion than playmaking.
Considering the penalty award, it was probably Waikato that would feel most disappointed on the long journey home.
Bunce said,’ We really needed all three points…
Fleming said,’ We were lucky…’
1 James Waggett (GK)
1 Alex Carr (GK)
2 Mike Abbott
2 Che Bunce
3 Tristan Prattley
3 Richard Beard
8 Stu Kelly
5 Joey Simpkins
9 Ryan Faichnie
6 Jason Chewins
10 Dave Dugdale
8 David Samson
11 Andy Coburn
10 Michael Gwyther
17 Tim Horner (C)
13 Shaun V Rooyen (C)
18 Nathan Knox
17 Mark Jones
19 Ben Light
19 Jeff Campell
20 Rhys Henderson
23 Alex Barlow
4 Dave Shaw
4 Charlie Hoyle
5 Mike Smith
7 Tewi TePou
6 Tom Sadd
7 Robbie Deeley
24 Maurie Wasi
15 Tom Connor
13 Cam Burns (RGK)
21 Harley Rodeka
=2 yellow cards
= red card
Welcome to Round 15 of the NZFC here in Dunedin at Carisbrook, the sun is high in the sky and both teams have made their way onto the pitch for a warm up. A great game this morning with Otago Utd Youths beating out YH Manawatu 3 - 1, with a good amount of noise coming from the stands supporting our up and coming players
Waikato to kick off
Both teams are into quick play as the game opens, Otago is helped down the field by a couple of calls from the ref
Ref has a word to Rooyen as Abbott is pulled down
Chances are missed by Waikato as crosses across Otago's goal are not met by anyone
Ben light put the ball in the back of the net making the shot look easy as it goes far post past Carr, GOAL!!!
Otago are making good use of the ball, moving it around, involving Waggett as part of play
Four on Bunce as a kick to the back of Abbott's foot gives Otago a ball on half way
Long range shot by Bunce gives Waggett no trouble as doesn't get close to goal
Run by Waikato forces Henderson to play it out for the corner
Knox picks up ball from Coburn and turns and crosses it to far post, Otago striker gets a head to it but not enough power behind it to do damage
Otago making their way down the line again with more help from the ref
Coburn takes a good hard strike from outside 18, Chewins hangs around in its path to rebound it out
Another great cross through Waikato's 18 picked up by Knox and put away. GOAL!
Carr looks troubled in box as jumps to stop header
Yellow Card to Dugdale, for reckless tackle
Slide tackle by Waikato midfielder clips lower arm on ball, Otago protest but play on is given forcing Otago to tackle and clear the run away player
Waggett moves off his line to catch a high cross
Faichnie is checked my medical after being closed down by two Waikato players
Faichnie returns to the field
Dugdale is brought down with a knock to the head, Free kick taken by Abbott enters the right spot but flies too high
Waikato gets to respond by putting the ball into the net of Otago's goal, Gwyther, GOAL!!!
The ref warns Abbott of drifting before taking throwins
Rooyen is taken down hard by Abbott
Strike by Knox gets Carr low to hold the ball, but not enough to cause trouble, its clear Otago are working hard to put a few more away
Waikato miss out again as Gwyther gets the ball in Otago's box while facing the wrong way.
GOAL!!!, Gwyther puts the ball away from a tight cross after the corner
Ref plays his warning after Waikato player drifts, ball is changed hand to Otago
Great tackle from Henderson removes and holds the ball from Gwyther feet
Unexpected turn by Bunce trips Horner and Abbott up on the line, Henderson steps up and makes the tackle and clear
Otago fall right back for the corner
4th Official shows 1 min extra to be added
Full time called, Half-time score Otago Utd 2 - 2 Waikato
No Changes by ether team
Otago move up for an early corner, everyone is to close to goal to get the far ball
Another chance by Waikato to score with a strech along the ground Waggett palms it off to the side
Otago's defence continue holding a four man line and clearing any ball that heads their way
Knock into Waikato's box by Coburn goes too far and to keepers hands
Mistakes by Waikato's defence leaves Carr confused about him or his defence clearing the ball
Jones sits down and medical moves to check him out, Players use the time to replace fluids lost in the heat
Jones is moved off the pitch so play can continue
A great strike by Coburn heads right at goal, keeper holds ball, Jones returns to the pitch
Carr is forced off his line to save a ball from the charging Coburn
The long arm of Carr palms the ground rolling ball away from the goal
Waikato can't find someone at the end of their long crosses over Otago's 18y box
Kelly is only just caught offside as he picks up a missed timed pass
Good effort from Dugdale puts the ball a little too high of the goal
Shot from out wide by Light troubles the keeper to jump to palm away, lines man flag is up and Waikato takes the offside kick
Otago are working over time in Waikato's box, with 3 sets of new legs making every effort to get around the defence and shoot but it doesn't seam to be working
Waikato are making the most of having Otago under pressure
Otago get caught offside again while trying to push too far forward
Waggett Shows how high he can jump while grabbing a high cross that got too close
Loose ball picked p right in front of goal knocked over the crossbar by Knox, Dugdale appears to be limping around the pitch
Trip on Connor by TePou gives Otago a good shooting chance, but unable to get a good head or foot to the ball
4th Official shows 1min to be added
Game play is side to side and time counts down