By Bob earce / www.asbpremiership.co.na
AUCKLAND - Waikato FC coach Darren Edge wants more protection for his players as they head into the second round of the ASB Premiership with a game against champions Waitakere United.
Edge found positives despite a 2-0 home defeat by Hawkes Bay United in the first round last Sunday at Porritt Park.
“We’ve just looked at the statistics and I was happy with what I saw. We had 60 per cent possession and, even though we lost our way a bit in the second half, we completed 700 passes.
“We play a game based on possession and all the rules need to be applied. We’re not asking to be treated differently just that the officials follow the rules set by FIFA, who say professional fouls need to be stopped quickly.
“I don’t mind if people don’t like me or Waikato. The way we play is different, not necessarily better, but we do need protection.”
Edge conceded that while possession was important, it was goals that counted and his team had not capitalised on some opportunities.
“There was penetration and we got around the back of them but we didn’t do the final piece.”
Dave Parkinson and Adam Thomas picked up injuries in the game and will be sidelined this Sunday.
Waitakere have their third game in a row at home on Fred Taylor Park, which has lost some of its protective ring of trees to the north but offers a playing surface that should promote good football and allow Edge and his team to display their passing talents.
Not that they will be alone. Under new coach Paul Marshall the hosts have strengthened their combinations while retaining the speed and penetration linked to Roy Krishna and Ryan De Vries. The 3-0 defeat of Team Wellington in the first round showed both qualities.
Rocket Roy Krishna shattered the visitors’ confidence almost from the kick-off when he seized on a loose pass, rode two attempted tackles and buried a low shot past the goalkeeper.
But it was the third goal that showed the West Aucklanders in a different light. A series of well executed passes among players feeding off one another laid on the chance for Allan Pearce to score a league record-setting goal.
“Any win is a good win in the Premiership,” said coach Marshall. “But I was particularly happy about the third goal, which was a real team effort.”
To be fair, against a Wellington team that looked short of match fitness, there were several other chances that went begging and Krishna was not without blemish.
“We had a lot of opportunities and Roy had three one-on-ones that didn’t produce a goal. The goal he did score was brilliant but he needs to keep his concentration and finish some of the easier ones.”
Waitakere beat Waikato in a pre-season game and there is an air of confidence out Whenuapai way this season.
You get the feeling that the Fred is regaining its status as an impregnable fortress and iIt will be a tough challenge for Waikato to take back any points over the Bombays.
Godwin DARKWA (back) and Jack BEGUELY (thigh) are both on the injured list, while Luiz del MONTE (overseas) is unavailable for this match.
Dave PARKINSON’s ASB Premiership debut lasted just 8 minutes after picking up an ankle injury and is omitted. Adam THOMAS joins PARKINSON on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Aaron SCOTT made his 100th ASB Premiership career appearance in Sunday’s 3-0 win over Team Wellington and is now one of four Waitakere United players in the current squad to reach that milestone. Others include Jake BUTLER (111), Chad COOMBES (112) and Allan PEARCE (121).
Waikato FC has lost six games in a row to the West Aucklanders and their last win over their hosts was a 2-1 success at Centennial Park in Ngaruawahia in 2008.
PEARCE is also the all-time leading goal scorer in the ASB Premiership with 63 goals.
ASB Premiership - Round 2
Sunday 11 November, 2012
1- Danny Robinson (GK)
1- Matt Upton (GK)
2- Aaron Scott
4- Josh Greene
4- Tim Myers
5- Eder Franchini
5- Brian Shelley
6- Sam Jasper
6- Matt Cunneen
7- Ryan Thomas
7- David Mulligan
9- Rory Turner
8- Chad Coombes
10- Harry Edge
9- George Slefendorfas
11- Jack Hobson-McVeigh
10- Allan Pearce
12- Matt Oliver (GK)
12- Roy Krishna
14- Sam Margetts
17- Jake Butler (c)
15- Mohamed Awad
18- Sam Mathews
16- Jesse Edge
19- Dan Morgan
17- Tyler Lissette
20- Ryan de Vries
18- Alexi Caroama Varela
22- Louie Caunter (GK)
23- Hone Fowler
23- Harshae Raniga
24- Adam Wallis