NZFC - Week 16
Memorial Park, Palmerston North
Sunday 28 February 2010
22' Campbell Banks
|38' Jason Hayne|
Halftime: 1-1 Referee: M Conger Crowd: 150
by Andrew Bailey at Memorial Park
Auckland City and YoungHeart Manawatu have shared the points after an entertaining one all draw in a sunny Palmerston North this afternoon.
Auckland began the day on top of the NZFC pile, but with Waitakere kicking off at the same time, City needed to be efficient and head home with the points.
Despite the visitors perhaps having more to play for, it was the home side that started the brighter.
Takayuki Omi has had an injury disrupted season but he caused the Auckland defence problems in the early stages, twice finding space to run at Spoonley’s goal, with Sam Campbell needing to make two important interventions.
Auckland’s fullbacks were turning up high up the pitch to give the YoungHeart defence some problems of their own.
Pritchett and Hayne combined well down the right regularly, but despite some dangerous deliveries, City couldn’t find a finish.
Omi continued to find joy in the space vacated by the Auckland fullbacks, and in the 21st minute he got in behind one too many times.
He burst into the box on the end of a long ball over the top and this time Sam Campbell could only bundle him over inside the area.
Matt Conger pointed to the spot and booked Campbell; Manawatu thought the card could well have been another colour.
Campbell Banks stepped up to the spot, calmly sent Spoonley the wrong way, and the Manawatu crowd had a rare lead to celebrate.
Auckland responded well, without having it all their own way.
Omi and Banks combined to cause anxious moments once or twice, but City continued their raids down the flanks.
In the 38th minute another good ball from Pritchett finally told.
YoungHeart lost the ball in the middle of the park and it popped out to Pritchett, who whipped in a ball just asking to be put away.
Jason Hayne timed his run to perfection and emphatically lifted the ball into the roof of the net. One each.
There was time left in the half for Auckland to press for another, but YoungHeart hung on and it finished all square at the break.
City started the second period strongly but were unable to manufacture themselves a clear cut chance despite dominating the possession stakes.
Manawatu looked limited to counter attacking raids that, by and large, the visitors were able to deal with.
You sensed that, despite their possession, Auckland were growing frustrated.
They got their chance in the 77th. Coombes got the ball at the top of the box and turned YoungHeart right back Marco Parachinni with concerning ease.
Coombes’ pull back from the byline was met by a charging Alex Feneridis who only had to put it in from just over six yards.
Nicholson threw himself to his left and somehow kept it out to the City bench’s disbelief.
It so nearly proved costly. Des Fa'aiuaso had replaced Banks for Manawatu and the Samoan striker found space between Spoonley and his back four.
He raced onto a delightfully floated ball, chested it past the City keeper and then put it inches wide with the angle closing, while Spoonley and his defence stood helpless on the edge of the box.
It was the turn of the Manawatu bench to despair.
The final five minutes finished with a flurry of half chances and desperate challenges, but it finished all square and both coaches were left to replay the chances that could have snatched their side the three points.
Auckland boss Paul Posa believed it was a game his side could have won, but admitted Manawatu might well feel the same way.
“We’re disappointed about the result here today, of course we want to win every game.
But Manawatu played well. They’ll feel disappointed as well, especially with their chance near the end, it was a good chance.”
Des Fa'aiuaso’s 84th minute chance was fresh in YoungHeart coach Bob Sova’s mind as well.
“He did the right thing, it was a good run and a good control with his chest to make the chance but he was forced wide [of the goal] and he just got his radar wrong.
“We’re disappointed because we had chances and it was a sloppy goal we conceded. It was a good cross and a good finish but we gave the ball away and gave them the chance.”
Auckland may now be looking over their shoulders with a little more concern after Waitakere made short work of Hawkes Bay and closed to within a point.
City still hold two games in hand over their neighbours and closest challengers, though, and Auckland boss is confident in his side’s ability to close the season out.
“It was a tough game today but we’ll keep moving forward and if we win two of the next three we can make sure of the league.”
1. Ross Nicholson (GK)
1. Jacob Spoonley (GK)
2. Nobuyoshi Ishi
3. Ian Hogg
4. Colin Falvey
4. Sam Campbell
5. Josh Chettleburgh
7. James Pritchett
13. Nathan Cooksley
8. Chad Coombes
10. Adam Cowan (c)
10. Grant Young (60')
11. Scott Robson
13. Alex Feneridis (78')
14. Marco Paracchini
15. Ivan Vicelich (c)
16. Raff de Gregorio
16. Jason Hayne
18. Takayuki Omi
17. Adam McGeorge (88')
23. Campbell Banks (64')
20. Greg Uhlmann
6. Matt Kennedy
9. Paul Urlovic (88')
12. Michael Crisford
11. Daniel Koprivic (60')
17. Des Fa'aiuaso (64')
18. Paul Gothard (RGK)
19. Matt Borren (RGK)
22. Adam Dickinson (78')
15. Caleb Duncan
2. Chris Carpenter
=2 yellow cards
= red card
-15' Warm day here in Palmerston North, but a bit of cloud cover as the two sides conclude their respective warm-ups with a bit of finishing. YoungHeart need nothing less than three points to give them even a sniff of play-offs football, while Auckland City have a chance to take another step towards the regular season premiership.
-5' Cowan and Vicelich lead their sides out in the sunshine. Really disappointing crowd here at Memorial today but there are still a few trickling in to catch what will hopefully be an entertaining game.
And we're off! YoungHeart lose the ball with a loose pass immediately but they've got it back now. Nicholson sounds up for it; he'll be keen for a big game against his old club.
3' Pritchett gets down the right well but Cowan is there to clear it. Auckland then get a free kick which is punched clear by Nicholson.
5' Superb passing move through the midfield by YoungHeart and Banks gets played into the box but he scuffs his shot and Spoonley gathers comfortably.
6' Penalty shout there for YoungHeart, Takayuki Omi got into the box and might have been bundled over but it was probably more of a coming together over a bouncing ball, and Conger calls play on.
7' Manawatu look up for this, at least early on. Banks with a lovely backheel in the midfield to Ishi, who plays Omi in behind, but Sam Campbell shows good strength and pace to deal with it.
8' Then Takayuki Omi fires over. He caught it on the half volley but not as well as he would have liked and Spoonley never had to worry about it.
9' Hayne bursts down the right hand side and fires in a dangerous looking cross which is bundled away. Adam Cowan does well to get up and challenge Sam Campbell from the resulting corner and he heads well over.
10' Auckland applying a bit of pressure now and getting some good balls into the box. Hayne, Pritchett and Coombes have all found space down the right for dangerous deliveries.
14' Feneridis takes free kick and whips in a low ball from the right which bounces around a few bodies before Banks gets rid of it. Auckland might fancy their chances from a set piece.
16' Grant Young runs at the Manawatu back four before Feneridis pulls a shot from 25 yards wide.
17' Open game with plenty of half looks for both sides. Takayuki gets in behind with a low cross and then pops up in the box 30 seconds later after Spoonley hesitated on coming for a long ball. Sam Campbell makes a desperation tackle to prevent Omi hitting it home. Great defensive recovery.
21' Penalty YoungHeart! Takayuki Omi got on the end of another long ball and Campbell brought him down. Difficult to see how he's still on the pitch...Omi was through one on one in the middle of the box and Campbell bundled him over.
22' Banks finishes calmly down the middle!
22' Sam Campbell booked by Conger for the challenge on Omi.
25' Free kick by Feneridis from 25 out clipped the YoungHeart and almost looped over Nicholson, but he pushes it wide after a nervous moment.
27' Parachinni dispossessed in a dangerous area but Cowan is able to clear Coombes' cross.
29' Banks and Omi combine again and Omi is a split second from making it two, but Vicelich recovers well to concede a corner.
32' The game's settled down slightly now and YoungHeart enjoy a decent spell of keeping the ball before Auckland do the same. Both sides are happy to drop deep when the other team have it.
35' City not enjoying their usual fluency here perhaps, but you feel they still have a chance from the crosses they're still managing to get into the YoungHeart box.
38' Goal! Jason Hayne bangs it in from a couple of yards out. Pritchett got in a good cross with plenty of pace on it but Nicholson might wonder if he could have got to it.
YoungHeart will be frustrated at conceding so late and in the manner they did. It was a good ball but it was all too easy for Hayne to make a run from midfield and lift it emphatically into the roof of the net.
43' Free kick in a dangerous position for Auckland City. 25 out and right in front but Feneridis elects to float it into the direction of Vicelich and co. at the far post. Manawatu survive after repelling the intial free kick and then crosses from both sides.
45' We'll have just a minute added here. Auckland almost finish in style as Pritchett whips in another superb ball but Falvey is able to nod clear from the middle of the six yard box under no real pressure. Pritchett more than a little frustrated no one got even close to getting on the end of it.
Half time at Memorial. The crowd enjoying an end to end game here with plenty of goal mouth excitement. The clouds have cleared and the players will play the second half in full sunshine.
Officials and referees back out on the pitch and Auckland will get us underway in the second half.
46' Omi wriggles free immediately and then Josh Chettleburgh is brought down to give YoungHeart a free kick in a dangerous position but Auckland deal with it.
48' Auckland enjoying the bulk of the possession so far but they've been unable to produce a final ball to match it. YoungHeart struggling to hold onto the ball early on.
50' That's more like it from Auckland. Another whipped ball from Pritchett is on just flicked away by Parachinni with Coombes waiting free at the far post.
52' Big tackles by Colin Falvey and Adam Cowan leave Auckland unhappy. Conger eventually gives the free kick to Manawatu after Omi is held back, which doesn't improve the City players' mood.
54' What looked to be a good challenge on Hogg by Parachinni goes against the Manawatu player and Auckland nearly scramble it in from the resulting free kick but YoungHeart survive.
56' More nervous moments for the green side as Nicholson clatters Robson and the ball bounces free, but it doesn't quite fall for a blue shirt and Josh Chettleburgh clears it. Frustration for both sides out there. YoungHeart struggling to hold the ball at the moment as Auckland enjoy some sustained pressure.
60' Auckland City will make a change here on the hour mark as Grant Young drags a shot from 20 yards wide. It will be his last contribution as 11. Daniel Koprivic replaces him.
63' YoungHeart finally get some ball in a dangerous area as Banks plays in Omi after holding the ball up well. Omi is eventually bundled off the ball by Campbell and the chance soon fizzles out.
63' Good strike by Coombes well saved by Nicholson. Auckland race down the other end and Coombes finds himself a yard of space on his left for the half volley. Nicholson does well to hold the strike down low to his left.
64' 17. Des Fa'auiaso on for 23. Campbell Banks as Sova tries to change things.
67' Takayuki Omi nearly gets on the end of another straight long ball as it bounces between Spoonley and his centre-halves. Spoonley can't collect cleanly and it's hoofed clear by a blue shirt.
69' Feneridis floats in a free kick from wide left, Nicholson comes charging through a crowd of players but doesn't get anything on it. Auckland still looking testing on set pieces.
72' This time it's the Auckland keeper sweating. The ball bounces around the six yard box and a lunging Takayuki Omi could easily have got a toe on it. Auckland bundle it clear. You still feel we could see a goal at either end here.
75' Pritchett bursts into the box but Falvey beats him to it. Big appeals for handball from the resulting long through but Conger isn't interested.
77' Wonder save from Nicholson! Parachinni is far too easily turned by Coombes who pulls it back for a tap in for Feneridis a few yards out but Nicholson somehow reacts to beat it clear.
78' 13. Feneridis is withdrawn for 22. Adam Dickinson as Auckland go in search of a winner.
80' YoungHeart counter and Auckland are caught up field with six blue shirts in the YoungHeart box as Cowan bursts to halfway, but his ball to Ishi is just too heavy and Campbell cleans up for Auckland.
82' Josh Chettleburgh does well in the right corner to beat Hogg and whip in a good looking cross but Vicelich heads it clear. Manawatu have fashioned themselves some chances in the last few minutes.
84' Manawatu inches from scoring! Great ball from Ishi to Des Fa'aiauaso who gets in between Spoonley and his back four, chests it down and then puts it wide with Spoonley stranded on the edge of the box. Sova and the YoungHeart box are in agony as his finish drifts inches wide.
88' This could still go either way...chances at both ends and plenty of tension.
88' 17. McGeorge is off for 9. Paul Urlovic.
90' Just two minutes extra.
It's all over! A draw doesn't help either team but on the balance of chances it's probably not terribly unfair. Auckland might feel they controlled more of the second half but either side could have stolen in at the end. Plenty of goal mouth scrambles and shooting chances to satisfy the crowd who will go away entertained, if not having seen their side get the three points they needed.