On one thing both coaches agreed. No way was this a 4-1 game
but Otago United had to accept that in the end that was
indeed the scoreline as Waitakere United cemented top spot in
the ASB Premiership.
Waitakere, stung early by a super defence-into-attack goal by
magical 17-year-old Joel Stevens, had to battle their way
They equalised through a David Mulligan 14th minute tap-in
six minutes after Stevens had opened the scoring and bagged
just the second goal against Waitakere this season.
The home side went ahead 10 minutes into the second half as
captain Jake Butler scored his second in as many games at
Fred Taylor Park but it was not until the last five minutes
they sealed the deal with late goals from Roy Krishna and
Ryan de Vries.
"That's the story of our season," said Otago coach Richard
Murray after his charges slumped to their fifth loss in as
many outings. "We do well at times but then give up a couple
of soft goals. We had a game plan which worked well early but
we changed that as the game went on.
"There is no point in losing 2-1."
For long periods they kept a subdued Waitakere side at bay
but eventually lost out to those late goals.
It was far from impressive at times with Waitakere's
much-lauded line-up struggling to break down the gutsy
"Probably it wasn't a 4-1 game," conceded Waitakere coach
Paul Marshall. "In the first half in particular, our passing
was terrible and it wasn't until we changed our shape we got
back into it..
"It was not the prettiest but we'll take it. We had to scrap,
we had to fight," said Marshall. "Players like Roy Krishna
and David Mulligan have to show us more."
A solid defensive effort led by Brian Shelley and Tim Myers
was not matched at the other end of the pitch with too much
under-hit and woefully-directed passing handing the Otago
rearguard an armchair ride.
Elsewhere there were happy days for new Waikato FC coach Mark
Cossey and Canterbury's Keith Braithwaite.
Cossey, handed the job few would have pursued, took his
players to Westpac Stadium more with hope than anything else
and came away 3-2 winners over YoungHeart Manawatu for their
first points of the season. A stunning 18th minute Rory
Turner strike set the Mooloo on their way. A minute after
golden boot leader Tom Mosquera had bagged the 68th minute
equaliser, Sam Margetts put Waikato back in front.
Adam Thomas stretched that to 3-1 with nine minutes to play
before Mosquera closed the gap with his second in stoppage
The match of the day turned out to be a fizzer as Canterbury,
again making most of home advantage and their artificial
surface, scored two in each half to beat Hawkes Bay United
4-0 and leapfrog them into second place.
Aaron Clapham and Russell Kamo had the home side 2-0 ahead at
The Bay were reduced to 10 players after 51 minutes when Cole
Peverley was dispatched for a clumsy midfield challenge on
Vladimir Bayrev. Eleven minutes later the hosts sealed it
when Clapham converted from the spot after Kamo had been
brought down. Dan Terris completed the scoring in the 73rd
- Terry Maddaford of the New Zealand Herald