By Cameron Russell / asbpremiership.co.nz
WELLINGTON - Two games into the season and the race for points has already turned into a sprint as winless Team Wellington and Waikato FC go in search of a victory.
Auckland, Canterbury and Waitakere are already five points clear of the pack but Team Wellington coach Matt Calcott believes every match is vital.
Calcott said: “Every game is crucial to get three points in when you only play 14 games in the league. We want to be getting three points every game we go into”.
Both Team Wellington and Waikato FC will be looking to notch their first win of the season when the two sides meet at David Farrington Park on Sunday.
Calcott’s Wellington side drew 2-2 in their season opener against Otago United, and fought back from 0-2 down against Auckland City before succumbing 4-2 at Kiwitea Street.
Waikato is yet to pick up a point this season, having been on the end of two heavy defeats at the hands of Auckland and Canterbury going down 5-1 and 5-0. It's an unenviable record.
Waikato FC coach Declan Edge said his team have been working hard in training.
“We're trying to put our finger on what has gone wrong. We’ve highlighted some areas we think we need to improve on and we’ve just been working hard," Edge said.
When asked about conceding ten goals in two games, Edge compared his team’s start to a car crash.
“A car crash is caused by lots of little incidents. Something’s not quite right here, something’s not quite right there, and then 20-30 meters down the road there is a big pile up," he said, "It’s about people doing the wrong thing at the wrong times. We're a young team so hopefully we have time to correct that”.
Team Wellington will be hoping to have a stronger start to the game, having conceded early in both games this season.
Calcott puts down the slow starts this season as predominantly a lack of focus.
He said: “A lot of it has been concentration levels really, as individuals we have to take a bit responsibility. I’ve been pleased with the way we’ve fought our way back into games, but hopefully going into this one, we won’t need to do that”.
Calcott said they have been unlucky both times this season not to pick up more points, and it’s now about “getting over the line” to pick up some wins.
Declan Edge said that he doesn’t spend a lot of time watching other teams.
“To be perfectly honest, I don’t look too much at the opposition. There is a style of football and principle, and if we play like that we should be okay”.
Edge mentioned that Wellington is always a tough place to play.
“Going down to Wellington, in my experience in the national football league, has never been a very good experience, so we're expecting another really tough battle”.
If history is anything to go by, then Waikato could indeed be in for a long afternoon.
In the previous ten meetings, Waikato have beaten Wellington just once and lost the other nine.
Action gets underway from David Farrington Park at 2pm.
Coach Matt CALCOTT confirms the inclusion of Luke ROWE, Justin GULLEY and Patrick FLEMING in his match day squad.
Coach Declan EDGE welcomes back Matteo BALLAN and Mikey KRAMER to a squad searching for its first points and clean sheet this season. David SAMSON returns from injury to boost the ranks.
Sam MASON-SMITH, Ryan CAIN, Michael FIIFI and Liam HIGGINS are not selected for the visit of Waikato FC
Matt WILLIAMS (Illness) and Neil MOUNCHER (work commitments) are unavailable for selection while Mohamed AWAD is not selected.
Hicham KAMRI netted twice and John SUTHERLAND once as the hosts prevailed.
Waikato FC last beat Team Wellington in 2008 when goals by Shaun van ROOYEN and Marco ROJAS gave the home side a 2-0 victory.
Team Wellington grabbed six points out of six from Waikato FC with a 3-1 win in the corresponding fixture last season.
One win and nine defeats in the previous ten outings with Team Wellington do not bode well for struggling Waikato.
ASB Premiership - Round 3
1- Phil IMRAY (GK)
1- Mark FULCHER (GK)
2- Tim SCHAEFFERS
2- Tyler LISSETTE
3- Jamie DUNCAN
3- Jesse SMITH
4- Michael EAGAR
5- Dave SAMSON
5- Nick BRANCH
6- Mikey KRAMER
6- Darren CHERITON
7- Jason HICKS
7- Wiremu PATRICK
8- Matteo BALLAN
8- Michael WHITE
9- Daniel FRISCHKNECHT
9- Patrick FLEMING
10- Adam THOMAS (c)
10- Dakota LUCAS
12- Max TOMMY (GK)
11- Tyson HOLMES
13- Mark JONES
12- Ethan GALBRAITH
14- Josh GREENE
13- Karl WHALEN
15- Jesse EDGE
19- James MUSA
16- Raymond HOW
20- Luke ROWE
17- Mike THOMPSON
21- Justin GULLEY
18- Harry EDGE
23- Louis FENTON
23- Tyler BOYD
25- Scott BASALAJ (GK)
24- Ryan THOMAS