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Hawkes Bay United

YoungHeart Manawatu


NZFC - Week 15
Park Island
Sunday 21 February 2010


Birnie (21')
Hastings (49')

Soromon (43')
Banks (72')


Halftime:    1-1                      Referee: Chris Kerr                      Crowd:      250


Tempestuous draw harms play-off hopes

by Ryan Peter Majstrovic at Park Island

A match labelled as a ‘six-pointer’ ultimately only produced one point a peice – a result neither Hawke's Bay nor Manawatu will be happy with heading into the final matches of the NZFC season.

A 1-1 draw between Canterbury and Auckland City has kept Hawkes Bay United only 3 points adrift of the crucial 4th play-off spot, with YoungHeart Manawatu a solitary point further back.

In a match where a positive result for either side would have doomed the other to a bottom-half finish, the home side started fast and looked to be in the box seat when Leon Birnie bundled home in the 21st minute.

To their credit, YoungHeart Manawatu continued to persevere and managed to pressure Hawkes Bay on numerous occasions – requiring some proactive goalkeeping from Richard Gillespie to claim or clear with certain regularity.

Towards the end of the second half, a lapse in concentration from the Hawke's Bay defence allowed the electric Seule Soromon space on the edge of the area – and he duly rifled a strike across Gillespie and into the corner of the net, leaving the inspirational ‘keeper with no chance.

At the other end evergreen former All White Ross Nicholson was putting on a clinic of his own, denying Birnie from firstly extending their lead mid-way through the first half, and then from gaining it back after the break.

Hawke's Bay looked to have gained the impetus when a superb Matt Hastings free kick left the explosive Nicholson stranded and only able to watch the ball curl into his top-left corner.

Matters soured further for the visitors when Soromon was given his marching orders after an altercation firstly with Phil Clarke, then towering centre-back Stu Ferguson.
From this point, Hawke's Bay didn’t capitalise on their numerical advantage – and Manawatu again stepped up with an admirable sense of defiance in the face of adversity.

A somewhat curious substitution of Marco Paracchini for young centre-back Caleb Duncan took place mid-way through the second spell, when Samoan international Desmond Fa’aiuaso – a potent attacking weapon remained seated on the bench and at coach Bob Sova’s disposal. 

What eventuated was NZFC centurion Adam Cowan pushing forward to an advanced role, and his composure splitting the Hawke's Bay midfield to carry the ball and switch defense to attack with impressive regularity.
In the 72nd minute, one of these forays saw another former All White – Campbell Banks – with a sight on goal from 15 yards out.

Banks’ strike looked destined for either Gillespie’s outstretched palms or well wide of his post, until a retreating Hawkes Bay defender collided with the ball, and despite an impressive adjustment from Gillespie, granted YoungHeart parity on the score-sheet.

Fittingly, on two separate occasions where the locals looked odds-on to regain the lead, it was Duncan who came to YoungHeart’s rescue with two last-ditch headed clearances from inside his own 6-yard box.

Post-match, Hawke's Bay coach Matt  Chandler was quick to offer the praise and attention befitting Nicholson describing the mirroring efforts either side of half-time as “two of the best saves I’ve seen in a long time, at any level”.

The entertainment value of the fixture was highlighted by both coaches, Chandler’s YoungHeart Manawatu counterpart stating the fixture was “definitely worth the gate, and ultimately a draw was a fair result”.

Sova was definitely taking heart from the point, suggesting a “moral victory” after a string of tough results for the Palmerston North-based side.

“It obviously wasn’t the result we wanted, but we’ll take some heart from it and are pleased to have at least put an end to the losing run” Sova said.

“We’ll take a moral victory from today, but have a big challenge ahead in Auckland City next week.”

Hawke's Bay can also look ahead to a tough fixture against lofty opposition, travelling north to face Waitakere United.

“We’re looking forward to next week. Obviously today we were aiming for three points that we haven’t got – but the game was there for the taking” Chandler said.

With positions 4 to 7 in the NZFC table separated by no more than 4 points, today’s spate of draws has left both Hawke's Bay United and YoungHeart Manawatu still firmly in the running for post-season competition.

A rejuvenated Waikato FC side inspired by Jeff Campbell will be hanging onto their own mathematical hopes and could do both central North Island sides a huge favour by getting a result when hosting Team Wellington, while the South Island derby could see Otago all but secure their play-off spot – or likewise find themselves with a battle of their own at hand.


Team Sheet

Hawkes Bay United


YoungHeart Manawatu

23. Richard GILLESPIE [gk]

1. Ross NICHOLSON [gk]


2. Nobuyoshi ISHI

3. Phil CLARKE  (off 80')

4. Colin FALVEY

6. Jonathan TAYLOR (c)



9. Seule SOROMON  

8. Leon BIRNIE  (off 59')

10. Adam COWAN (c)

10. Joachim RANDE (off 69')

13. Nathan COOKSLEY

11. Andrew ABBA

14. Marco PARACCHINI (off 71')

12. Sam JACOB

16. Raffaele DE GREGORIO

16. Marama THOMPSON

18. Takayushi OMI

21. Stuart FERGUSON

23. Campbell BANKS



1. Shaun PETA [rgk]

19. Matt BORREN [rgk]

4. Chris GREATHOLDER (on 80')

3. Matt SMITH

13. Magnus HANSSON (on 59')

15. Caleb DUNCAN (on 71')

18. Andrew BEVIN (no 69')

17. Desmond FA'AIUSASO

23. Fergus NEIL


=yellow card

=2 yellow cards

= red card


Play by Play


Welcome to the Island today, where locals can proudly announce 'normal service resumed' - not a cloud in the sky and a gentle summer's breeze shifting from left to right across the screen...


Hawkes Bay with the kick-off, straight for a goal-kick

Matt HASTINGS stands over a free-kick, faced with the shortest wall in New Zealand Football history - Ross NICHOLSON producing an acrobatic save to his right

NICHOLSON punches Phil CLARKE's corner clear, and eventually YoungHeart have a goal kick


Leon BIRNIE has a shot on goal from 20 yards, not troubling Nicholson

Stu FERGUSON is high on the pitch from a free-kick, shoots on the turn, but NICHOLSON gathers easily

YoungHeart enjoy a brief foray into the home team's half by way of a free-kick, but Sam JACOB rises well to head clear

Nobuyoshi ISHI puts Campbell BANKS into space, who finds Takayushi OMI and YoungHeart have a corner (which comes to nothing)


play is running free to both ends of the pitch, Hawkes Bay this time with another corner

JACOB has a sight on goal from 15 yards on the angle, but shoots wide


Jonathan TAYLOR puts in a massive tackle on Seule SOROMON

BIRNIE gets a strong body-shot on de Gregorio, for ABBA to carry possession and find Sam HALLIGAN on the left...and Hawkes Bay have another corner

Colin FALVEY is shining in defence for Manawatu, producing a herioc block and powerful header in quick succession



#8. Leon BIRNIE battles well to literally run the ball into the net, despite attention from three YoungHeart defenders


#3. Phil CLARKE receives a yellow card for a mistimed challenge on Nathan Cooksley


nervous moments in the Manawatu area as the ball is not cleared from an ABBA cross, though order is soon restored thanks to some tireless work from ISHI

UMI wins a corner with some trickery up against Marama THOMPSON

Richard GILLESPIE punches well from the corner, and is well-positioned to save and hold from Josh CHETTLEBURGH

NICHOLSON double-handles, but has time to secure - then more than redeems himself by holding a cross high to his right, then saving well at the feet of an oncoming ABBA


ABBA hits an pinpoint CLARKE pass first-time, but lacks power

BIRNIE this time hits an ABBA cross on the volley, but NICHOLSON produces a top-drawer save to roll back the years...

TAYLOR rises well to head a corner, but misses the target

YoungHeart have a corner courtesy of some quick work on the turn by BANKS

GILLESPIE again punches well from the corner

SOROMON has space on the right, bears down on goal, but GILLESPIE holds his feet and saves standing

from another corner, GILLESPIE makes his way through traffic and to the penalty spot to punch well clear

ABBA is released down the right, crosses high to the far post, and NICHOLSON this time scuttles across to palm the ball clear of danger


the tempo of the match has settled now, into the half, with more possession across midfield

DE GREGORIO hits a high free kick to the far post, which GILLESPIE rises well to catch



#9. Seule SOROMON has space to turn on the edge of the area, and rifles his finish to the bottom-left corner of the net



#6. Jonathan TAYLOR receives a yellow card for obstructing SOROMON

SOROMON steps up to take the penalty, but misses the target left to the home crowd and bench's delight



we're underway again, no changes to either side

a BIRNIE header is goal-bound, looping over NICHOLSON, but the experienced keeper claws it out from yards behind him



#7. Matt HASTINGS bends a long-range free kick into a stranded Nicholson's top left corner


#2. Sam HALLIGAN receives a yellow card for an aggressive challenge on ISHI



#9. Seule SOROMON is sent off for raising an arm to Ferguson, after an altercation between Clarke and the Manawatu goalscorer

#21. Stuart FERGUSON is cautioned for his part in the incident


Adam COWAN carries the ball through midfield, but is slowed by HALLIGAN


#8. Leon BIRNIE succumbs to a slight niggle and is replaced by #13. Magnus HANSSON


ABBA hits a rising drive from 25 yards, but NICHOLSON stoops well to his left to save and hold

NICHOLSON scuffs a left-footed clearance to RANDE for ABBA, whose slide-rule pass finds a well-timed run from JACOB, but the YoungHeart custodian redeems himself with a full-stretch save at feet


GILLESPIE reacts quickly to pick up a loose ball with YoungHeart attackers bearing down at close-range


#10. Joachim RANDE makes way for #18. Andrew BEVIN


#4. Colin FALVEY is booked for raising a boot to Bevin

CLARKE grazes the bar from the well-positioned free-kick


#15. Caleb DUNCAN enters the match, replacing #14. Maco PARACCHINI



#23. Campbell BANKS fires across goal, for a retreating Clarke to inadvertently deflect the ball past a sprawling Gillespie's left


BANKS is through on goal again, this time GILLESPIE narrowing the angle well and his bouncing finish to strike the upright


ABBA has another crack at goal from 20 yards on the angle, but an unsighted NICHOLSON saves well

Hawkes Bay have the ball in the net, but multiple attackers are clearly offside


#3. Phil CLARKE makes way for #4. Chris GREATHOLDER


#4. Chris GREATHOLDER enters the book after a stoush with de Gregorio


some enterprising play from Hawkes Bay United is denied reward by a last-ditch clearing header from the substitute DUNCAN, when Halligan was unmarked and in space at the far post

GILLESPIE is off his line quick to deny BANKS at feet when YoungHeart outnumbered Hawkes Bay's defence


COWAN is around Hastings and squares across the face of goal, but a sliding TAYLOR clears to safety

Manawatu, if anything, seem to have the extra player - looking dangerous time and time again on the counter-attack

OMI goes in hard on TAYLOR, who reciprocates for calm to ensue after the storm

HASTINGS whips a dangerous ball across Nicholson's 6-yard line, but no Hawkes Bay attacker manages to connect

-- 4 minutes added time --


a dangerous THOMPSON cross is cleared by, again, Caleb DUNCAN in the air

Hawkes Bay have a free-kick from wide on the right, in what must be their last chance

NICHOLSON blocks the un-cleared cross, but no Hawkes Bay player can pick up on the loose ball