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Waikato FC

Team Wellington


ASB Premiership - Round 10
Porritt Stadium, Hamilton
Sunday 5 February, 2012


Adam THOMAS 9'-pen
Tyler BOYD 18'

Ricky ZUCCO 11',
James MUSA 34',
Louis FENTON 92'



Halftime:    2-2                  Referee: Matt Stoneman                  Crowd: 170


Fenton breaks Waikato hearts

by Bruce Holloway at Porritt Stadium, Hamilton

HAMILTON - Team Wellington coach Matt Calcott saluted his young side for showing "a lot of bottle" after conjuring up an injury-time goal to nick a 3-2 away win over Waikato FC in the ASB premiership.

But for an even younger Waikato team it was a cruel, unjust ending to a game in which it produced its best home form of the season – and unveiled some delightfully intricate attacking moves - but still fell frustrating short of collecting its first point at Porritt Stadium.

In the 92nd minute Louis Fenton capped a productive and skilful match by collecting a ball just outside the 6 yard box and squeezing it past keeper Mark Fulcher and into the Waikato net for the winner in a contest where Wellington had twice come from behind.

In a joyous celebration at the end of a roller-coaster match Fenton was duly booked for removing his shirt. But who cares when you have just secured the points to take your team into third place in the league, ahead of the likes of Waitakere United.

That's us," Calcott said. "We are either top drawer or we struggle. We might look back on this day later on in the season. Maybe this is the one where we got out of jail. But maybe our luck was due to change.

"In the first round we would not have won that. We had to learn to do that and we showed a lot of bottle. It was not always pretty from our perspective, but I am ecstatic about the result."

What was frustrating for Waikato was that the goal came immediately after 17-year-old substitute Mohammed Awad appeared to have himself won the game with a blistering volley – only for Wellington keeper Phil Imray to produce a fine save.

Wellington scuttled downfield for Fenton to dink the ball home and hit celebration mode.

Earlier Waikato set the tone for the day when diminutive Ryan Thomas, 17, weaved his way into the Wellington penalty area with a mazy dribble.

When James Musa moved to halt his progress it represented the biggest physical mismatch since David met Goliath, but Thomas happily drew the foul. Adam Thomas stroked home the resultant penalty in the 9th minute.

But Wellington’s Aussie import Ricky Zucco struck back in style two minutes later. He broke into the box from the left flank, stepped around Mike Kramer and curled a right footer just over the head of Fulcher and into the net.

Waikato again took the lead in the 18th minute from a stunning move involving two 17-year-old and a 16-year-old. Jesse Edge made a powerful surge down the right flank and squared the ball to Ryan Thomas.

He stepped inside the six yard box, and with defenders closing in on him, rather than shoot, squared it again to Tyler Boyd, who drilled it home from 2 metres for his first goal in the league.

Musa atoned for his earlier mistake by levelling before half time with a far post header as the game ebbed and flowed at a good clip.

Waikato coach Declan Edge was frustrated by the late winner.

"But more for the players than me," he said. "We worked hard today to get something from one of the top teams. But that’s football. If it was predictable, you wouldn’t come.

"What goes around comes around and the day will come when we will take a last minute goal off somebody to win."

Edge said he was pleased with the amount of possession his team was able to secure and delighted with the calibre of moves which led to the goals.

"We have to work so hard to score our goals. We will take a whole heap from that. We will grow from this loss, we will stay optimistic."

Edge made a rare exception to his usual policy of declining to single out players for praise, saying he had experienced "a eureka moment" in watching skipper Adam Thomas give a fine display in his holding role in midfield.

"For me that was the single best national league game I have seen from an individual player," he said.

He also praised the efforts of centre back Tyler Lissette, in a match where national U-23 coach Neil Emblen was in attendance and all four centrebacks were eligible for selection.

Calcott disbursed his praise evenly.

"There were no standouts for us, but everyone put in a good shift. They mucked in, did the work, and finished stronger."

After the match both coaches talked up the youth of their teams.

"There has been a lot of talk about Waikato, but a lot of our players are the same age, 18-19, 20-year-olds," Calcott said.

Edge philosophically reflected on a Waikato team where all his outfield players were under 21.

"Well, there is young and then there is young," he said. "A lot of my players are eligible for the U-20s after the next lot. I call them my puppies. They will still be young in five years."


Team Sheet

Waikato FC


Team Wellington

GK Mark Fulcher

GK. Phil Imray

2. Tyler Lissette

13. Karl Whalen (Duncan, 84')

3. Jessie Smith

5. Jonathan Raj

6. Mike Kramer

6. Darren Cheriton

7. Jason Hicks

7. Wiremu Patrick (Eager, 62')

10. Adam Thomas

8. Ricky Zucco  (Gailbraith, 66')

14. Josh Greene

9. Patrick Fleming

15. Jesse Edge

10. Dakota Lucas

8. Matteo Ballan (Awad, 58')

19. James Musa  

21. Tyler Boyd

20. Luke Rowe

24. Ryan Thomas (Wallis, 76')

23. Louis Fenton  



4. Mohammed Awad (On, 58')

3. Jamie Duncan (On, 83')

4. Michael Eagar (On, 61')

22. Adam Wallis (On, 75')

15. Sam Mason Smith

23. Jordan Shaw

27. Scott Basalaj

RGK Danyon Drake

12 Ethan Galbraith (On, 65')


=yellow card

=2 yellow cards

= red card

Play by Play

Well, the gremlins have struck, but this is the story so far....

Ryan Thomas made a 40m dribble into the Wellington area and was fouled by James Musa. Yellow card and penalty, which Adam Thomas converted in the ninth minute. Then Ricky Zucco equalised in the 11th minute with a stunner, curlign a left footer over the head of Fulcher. But Waikato struck back with a brilliant move. Jesse edge surged forward down the right, crossed to Ryan Thomas who cold have shot, but from 4m squared for Tyler Boyd to score his first of the season. Stunning move.

20 min: Imray saves from Hicks

27 min. Great turn in the box by Fenton, but he can't get a shot away. At other end, J Edge forces a save from Imray.

30 min: This is a good open contest, plenty of action at both ends.

34 min: GOAL deep cross from the right from Whalen, Kramer heads away for a corner - from corner, not cleared, cross back in and Musa rises to head home for 2-2.

36 min: Johnny Raj booked for a tackle from behind which cleans out tiny Ryan Thomas.

Half time. An entertaining half gets a big clap from a smallish crowd. This has been good football so far, with honours shared. Zucco and Fenton look dangerous for Wellington, while Waikato are causing their fair share of problems when they go forward with some delightful skills from the wee boys up front, and some surging runs from Jesse Edge and Jason Hicks. U23 coach Neil Emblen is in the grandstand, and there has been plenty to catch his eye from eligible players.

47 min: Fleming volley blocked.

49 min. Lucas earns a free kick, Zucco draws a save from Fulcher.

55 min: Good run from Hick. R Thomas can't quite collect in the box

56 min: Good run from Fenton down the left, save. J Edge is cleaned out in a tackle, ref says play on.

58 min. Waikato sub. Awad on for Ballan.

60 min. Briliant run down right by A Thomas, R Thomas shot deflected for corner

61 min: Wellington sub: Eagar for Patrick. Hicks fk hits wall.

65 min. Great save from Fulcher from lewis shot. Move started by Fenton.

65 min: Galbraith on for Zucco

69 min. Galbraith earns corner, Rowe takes. Goal kick

71 min. Great run into box by R Thomas, layoff doesn't quite work. Thomas has cramp.

75 min. Whalen injured. drinks break,

75 min. Waikato sub. R Thomas off, Adam wallis on for his first action of the season.

77 min. Curling Fleming free kick headed clear by Lissette.

80 min: Wallis draws a fine save from Imray. Good waikato move involing Mohamed

82 min. Cheriton over the top. Nice play Wellington. Then Jesse Smith almost an og.

84 min: Whalen off, Duncan on.

85 min: Mohamed into the box, layoff intercepted. Waiato corner

86 min. Bril save from Fulcher after lewis run right to goal. Then Waiakto clear off line. All action. Waikato counter, earn throw, then

88. Edge just wide from distance.

89 Galbraith yellow card after late tackle on Lissette, who has been a pillar for Waikato.

90 brilliant save from Imary from Mohamed shot fronm distance.

92 min. GOAL. Fenton snatches the winner from close range for Wellington. Heartbreak for Waikato. Fenton booked for taking off his shirt in the celebrations. Final whistle. Oh, the agony and the ecstasy. Wellington 3 points, Waikato deserved more. They are shattered. I'll be back with a wrap later from a highly entertaining game.

A note of acknowledgement to Alex, following the game from Italy via the internet and urging live-streaming.