ASB Premiership - Round 1
Porritt Stadium, Hamilton
Sunday 23 October, 2011
Adam THOMAS-pen 38'
David MULLIGAN 23'
Halftime: 1-1 Referee: Crowd: 200
by Bruce Holloway at Porritt Stadium
Auckland City are where they will want to be for the remainder of the summer, sitting atop the ASB Premiership after an enterprising 5-1 away win over Waikato FC.
But even no-name Waikato may take consolation from a bright season opener at Porritt Stadium, despite what looks like an old-fashioned tanking on the scoresheet, because for long spells they showed enormous potential.
Indeed, after the final whistle, one weatherbeaten fan went up and patted beaten Waikato coach Declan Edge on the back and said: "Don’t worry, Declan, you’ll win more than you lose, this season."
While this David and Goliath match was still locked 1-1 at half time, Auckland completely killed the contest with three slick and quite similar goals in a 13-minute spell early in the second half.
Auckland also peppered the Waikato goal with shots in the first 15 minutes, with Manuel Exposito and Albert Riera creating, then squandering, good chances.
But it was midfielder David Mulligan who finally broke the deadlock with a low cannon-ball special from about 25m.
The goal at least brought the best out of Waikato, and they settled into a fast-moving, quick passing game which brought reward in the 38th minute.
Skipper Adam Thomas, running sideways, received a ball fractionally ahead of defender Sam Campbell at the top of the box. Campbell’s tackle felled Thomas and after initial hesitation referee Campbell-Kirk Waugh awarded a penalty.
Thomas effortlessly slotted the spot kick past Jacob Spoonley to give heart to a Waikato squad in which nine players (including all three subs) were making their ASB Premiership debuts.
But league aristocrats Auckland finally showed their pedigree with clinical finishing from Exposito (2) and Emilano Tade from the 50th to the 63rd minute.
On all occasions Waikato were caught out by quick counter-attacking balls played down the middle.
Exposito’s finely calibrated chip to make it 4-1 was particularly delightful, while Tade showed he is a player of rare class.
From Waikato’s perspective it was frustrating that Auckland’s third goal came at exactly the same time as both Thomas and striker Mike Thompson went down injured. Thomas left the pitch with a groin problem which could have him out for some time, while Thompson hobbled through to the finish with calf and knee problems.
By the time Exposito had made it 4-1 Auckland skipper James Pritchett could be heard exhorting his team mates with: "Let’s see how many we can get".
As it happened, they could only get one more, with Tade finishing from close range following a corner.
At the other end Waikato midfielder Jason Hicks drew a good save from Spoonley with a fierce shot from distance. Waikato gained more composure and held possession for extended periods though seldom engineered the openings for clear shots on target.
For Auckland, Mulligan was influential both in possession and in his work off the ball, Pritchett was energetic and Exposito and Tade showed enough to suggest thet should both be well into double figures on the goalscoring charts by the summer’s end.
Chad Coombes, playing further forward than his usual right back role for Auckland, also pointed to the key absence of injured trio Ivan Vicelich, Adam Dickinson and Angel Berlanga.
"This is quite a good result for us, knowing we can do it without those guys," he said.
For Waikato, teenage debutant Jesse Edge had a strong game at the back and then effectively pushed into midfield in the second half.
Fellow teen Tyler Boyd had some nice touches up front, and Hicks was effective in the heart of midfield.
Auckland director of football Aaron McFarland said it was satisfying to win comfortably after what had been a trip into the unknown.
"I was always confident we would win, but unsure of how exactly the game might unfold against such an unkown quantity," he said.
"We set like to set the standard for possession, but the opposition were rattling us and they actually did better than us in the first half."
He was highly complimentary of Waikato.
"I love watching the way they play and what Declan is trying to do.
"Perhaps they take too many risks for this level (ASB Premiership) but they seem determined to play to a style and have some great young players that make for a really entertaining package."
Waikato coach Declan Edge said he was "gutted’ by the final scoreline, but proud of the efforts of a largely inexperienced team.
"At half time we were right in it," he said. "But let’s not underestimate who we were up against.
"They (Auckland) are the kings of possession in New Zealand but today they couldn’t impose themselves. They concentrated on catching us on the break with their counter-attacks.
"That is a compliment to us. That is usually what poor teams need to do to win."
1. Neil MOUNCHER (gk)
1. Jacob SPOONLEY (gk)
2. Tyler LISSETTE
3. Ian HOGG (MILNE 67')
3. Jesse SMITH
4. Sam CAMPBELL
5. David SAMSON
6. Chad COOMBES (LAMBERT 75')
7. Jason HICKS
7. James PRITCHETT (c)
10. Adam THOMAS (c) (FRISCHKNECHT 67')
8. David MULLIGAN
15. Jesse EDGE
9. Manel EXPOSITO
16. Raymond HOW (BREEN 57')
11. Daniel KOPRIVCIC
17. Mike THOMPSON
13. Alex FENERIDIS
21. Tyler BOYD
16. Albert RIERA (CORRALES 50')
24. Ryan THOMAS (AWAD 57')
20. Emiliano TADE
4. Mohamed AWAD (on 57')
2. Reece LAMBERT (on 75')
9. Daniel FRISCHKNECHT (on 67')
10. Luis CORRALES (on 50')
12. Max TOMMY (rgk)
17. Adam McGEORGE
14 Josh BREEN (on 57')
22. Andrew MILNE (on 67')
19. Harry EDGE
12. Liam ANDERSON (rgk)
=2 yellow cards
= red card
Play by Play
Welcome to Porritt Stadium, the new home of Waikato FC. Ivan Vicelich and Adam Dickinson have been ruled out for Auckland through injury so James Pritchett gets the armband and Emiliano Tade starts up front. Adam Thomas gets the armband for Waikato, who starts 40-something goalkeeper Neil Mouncher in goal.
We're underway here. Waikato in their new yellow strip and Auckland in their away white kit. Waikato playing towards the western end.
Koprivcic capitalises on some confusion in the Waikato ranks, stealing through on goal, rounding the keeper but hitting the post. A big let off for the home side.
James Pritchett skins Raymond Howdown the right flank and crosses for Exposito whose diving header is just wide. One way traffic so far.
Waikato earn a corner but amounts to nothing
Sponnley takes a deep Adam Thomas cross well under pressure from Mike Thompson
Exposito put through by Riera but shots accross the face of goal
Yellow card for Thompson for heavy foul on Exposito
Waikato break and Tyler Boyd draws a foul, and a yellow card, from Chad Coombes
Coombes pulled up for a foul on Jesse Edge. Nothing cynical but Coombes nonetheless on thin ice now.
Wow. A rocket from David Mulligan leaves Mouncher rooted to the spot. Probably no need to move for that one, as the All White picks out the bottom left hand corner from 25 metres out. A stunning strike. 1-0 Auckland.
Tidy interplay from the home side finsihes with Tyler Boyd teeing up David Samson, but his goal-bound shot is blocked by Feneridis who is filling in a centre back today.
PENALTY! Sam Campbell clips Adam Thomas in the box and gives away a spot-kick
The Waikato captain takes the kick himself, and strokes it low to Spoonley's left. The keeper guesses correctly but can't prevent the equaliser.
The goal has obviously given the home side a lot of confidence, the possesion and territory stakes have evened up.
One minute of injury time to be played
And that's halftime. Auckland have looked by gar the more dangerous of the two teams, with Manel Exposito involved in most of teh visitor's chances but go into the shed on level terms. Declan Edge's young team will take a lot of heart from the last 20 minutes having sorted out some early defensive fraility
Back underway at Porritt. No changes from either side.
An Auckland long ball prompts the familiar sight of Mouncher acting as sweeper.
Coombes breaks down the right flank and cross for Exposito, but Mouncher gets a vital touch on it to take it away from the Spaniard's reach.
Jesse Edge does very well to disposess Koprivcic as the striker is trying to wriggle free in the box.
Coombes unlock the home defence with a through ball for Exposito who expertly picks his spot and restores Auckland's lead. 2-1
Mike Thompson tries to set Tyler Boyd free on goal but the young striker is just offside
Ian Hogg gets teh ball into Emilano Tade who neatly beats his man and makes it 3-1 to Auckland
A double sub for Waikato. Josh Breen and Mohamed Awad replace Raymond How and Ryan Thomas
Manel Exposito set free again, coasts between the centre backs and lobs the oncoming Mouncher. 4-1
Sub each side. Andrew Milne replaces Ian Hogg for Auckland and Daniel Frischnecht replaces Adam Thomas, with Jesse Edge taking the armband.
Jason Hicks forces Jacob Spooney to parry a shot wide. That was hit from about 30 metres.
Substitute Awad turns Mulligan in midfield and lays off for Jess Edge but Campbell provides the cover defence to clear the danger.
A Jesse Edge freekick is handled easily by Spoonley. He didn't get as much contact with that as he will have liked.
SUB: Reece Lambert comes on for his ASB Premiership debut, replacing Chad Coombes.
Mohamed Awad picks up a loose ball a cuts inside towards goal. His left foot shot is rather tame though.
Awad is energetic though and he is adding some spark in the final third.
Awad makes the byline on the left hand side and pulls teh ball back towards goal. Not a Waikato player in sight but a Sam Campbell miscue has Spoonly worried for a second.
Tade adds another to make it 5-1 to the visitors. A well worked short corner is helped on by Luis Corrales.
3 minutes of injury time to be added
Mouncher is almost caught out of position after clearing the ball. Exposito tries his luck from wide and deep but is just off target.
It's all over at Porritt Stadium with Auckland City going top of the league with a 5-1 win. Full reaction and match report to follow.