NZFC - Week 15
Sunday 21 February, 2010
Ki-Hyung Lee 74
Aaron Clapham 45
Halftime:0-1 Referee: Wayne Scott Crowd:622
by Bob Pearce at Kiwitea Street
Auckland City moved a point clear at the top of the New Zealand Football Championship after a 1-1 draw with Canterbury at Kiwitea Street.
The hard-earned away point moves Canterbury into the top four with games in hand over their nearest rivals.
Nobody at Kiwitea St would have disputed them a playoff place. They came north with their confidence boosted by a couple of crushing home victories and from the start they took it to the champions.
And on the stroke of halftime they took the lead when Russell Kamo ran down a long ball from Nick Wortelboer and Aaron Clapham buried his cross.
It wasn't until the 74th minute that Auckland got on terms. Substitute Adam Dickinson crossed into a crowded penalty area and when the ball bounced loose Ki-Hyung Lee rifled a shot past Tom Batty.
With three minutes of regular time to go Auckland came close to snatching victory. For once the Canterbury defence was outmanoeuvred and Jason Hayne lobbed the ball toward an empty net with goalkeeper Batty out of position. A desperate lunge on the line by Wortelboer saved the point.
Maybe it wasn't a premium performance by the champions but they showed resilience to fight back and at the finish they were the ones pressing for the win.
Player of the day clearly was Canterbury's Aaron Clapham. The red-headed 23-year-old was strong on the ball, torturing the Auckland defence and setting up chances as well as scoring a goal.
He has been a strong force in the revival of Canterbury football this season and it is sad that he could be headed back to the Victorian State League in the next couple of weeks. It would be nice to think the Phoenix could find a place for him in the near future.
A familiar face in the Canterbury lineup was defender Gareth Rowe, who once played for the Central United Club under the coaching of Paul Posa and Ricki Herbert. He showed that he retains the qualities that made him a staunch defender.
Auckland City were without the suspended Chad Coombes. Grant Young started and should have opened the scoring in the 24th minute when he dwelt a little too long on a perfectly delivered cross from James Pritchett.
"It was a good tough game," said Auckland coach Paul Posa. "Canterbury battled well and you can only play as well as your opponents let you."
Canterbury coach Keith Braithwaite was pleased with the efforts of his side to match the champions.
"They're a very good side and I was pleased that we matched them. We've been practising two and three touch football and keeping possession and it paid off," Braithwaite said.
Auckland now have four games away from home before meeting Waitakere on March 27 in what is likely to be the deciding O-League clash.
1 Jacob Spoonley (GK)
18 Tom Batty (GK)
3 Ian Hogg
2 Dan Terris
5 Matt Williams (Feneridis 63)
4 Gareth Rowe
6 Ki-Hyung Lee
5 Matt Boyd
7 James Pritchett
6 Andy Pitman
10 Grant Young(Dickinson 59)
7 Aaron Clapham
11 Daniel Koprivcic (Urlovic 79)
9 Russell Kamo (Frame 70
15 Ivan Vicelich
11 Tom Lancaster(Wild 76)
16 Jason Hayne
12 Nick Wortelboer
17 Adam McGeorge
15 Paul Dirou
20 Greg Uhlmann
19 Darren Overton
4 Sam Campbell
1 Jordan Buchanan (RGK)
9 Paul Urlovic
3 Jeremy Wild
13 Alex Feneridis
13 Hue Frame
18 Paul Gothard (RGK)
17 Glen Collins
22 Adam Dickinson
=2 yellow cards
= red card
Fine and sunny and very hot. Hope the visitors have come prepared for the heat.
Grant Young starting, Chad Coombes suspended for Auckland
Canterbury playing with the gentle breeze
Hogg cross from left lays on chance for Koprivcic, whose shot goes straight to keeper
First corner to Canterbury, fielded by goalie
Lancaster concedes freekick and gets lecture from ref.
Uhlmann yellow for foul on Clapham, freekick sails over bar
All Canterbury at the moment but a lot of willing tackling
Lee freekick lasers over bar
Batty saves at Young's feet.
Linesman misses obvious offside but fortunately ball is cleared
Yellow card for Lancaster for second foul tackle
Cross from Clapham, header by kamo saved by Spoonley. Visitors looking very dangerous.
Young misses sitter after Pritchett cross sails to far post
kamo tries long shot but sails wide.
Freekick to Canterbury on edge of area, Clapham fires wide
Overton piledriver from long range tipped over bar by Spoonley
Dirou heads over bar from corner.
canterbury surge forward but last pass goes astray.
Young gets yellow for tackle, dubious to say the least.
GOAL! Kamo runs down long ball from Wortelboer and sets up Clapham who makes no mistake
45 plus one
Halftime 1-0 Canterbury well deserved
Away again. No changes at the break
Koprivcic has chance but good tackle foils him.
Left wing corner to Auckland cleared with difficulty
Press box joke. I'm on this new diet. Prunes and viagra. Don't know whether I'm coming or going!
Lancaster shot well saved by Spoonley
Sub for Auckland Dickinson for Young
Williams off, Feneridis on
Canterbury in control, Auckland unable to put two passes together
Sub, Frame for kamo
McGeorge shoots with no power
GOAL! Dickinson crosses and ball falls to Lee who rockets the ball home.
Sub Lancaster off Wild on.
Sub: Urlovic for Koprivcic
Sub:Collins for Pitman. Lee stretchered off after clash in Auckland penalty area. no more subs for Auckland now down to 10
Lee back on again seems OK
Hayne lobs goalie but Wortelboer clears
Three minutes added on.
Freekick on edge of area for Canterbury. headed over the top.
90 plus four
Final whistle 1-1 probably about right.