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Waitakere United moved to the top of the NZFC as they look to repeat their championship winning season of last year with a comfortable 2-0 win over Team Wellington at Douglas Field today.
A repeat of last years Grand Final this may have been but both sides took their time to settle into 2009, with the game struggling to find rhythm in the opening exchanges.
Waitakere did have the ball in the back of the net on the 19 minute mark after a great run from Benji Totori was finished with a right foot drive under keeper Jake Gleeson. Celebrations were eventually cut short though when referee Peter O’Leary consulted his assistant and ruled that a supporting player was offside and interfering with play.
Totori continued to be a threat, along with fellow wide player Roy Krishna but clear cut chances for either side were hard to find, albeit the majority were falling the way of the home side with a mix of good fortune, good keeping and poor shooting keeping the game scoreless.
For the visitors Luis Corrales was dangerous on the ball but for the most part was sent back into midfield by Neil Emblen and Tim Myers at the heart of the Waitakere defence.
The second half started promisingly for the home side when again Benji Totori proved too quick on his feet for the visitors, beating three on the left before squaring for Paul Seaman who somehow missed any contact from 5 metres in the 50th minute.
Just a minute later though Totori and Krishna combined and it was Totori who finished from close range, sliding the ball past an advancing Gleeson in the Wellington goal.
Danko Koprivcic added a second just past the hour, but it is not a moment young keeper Gleeson will remember as he failed to hold an accurate but hardly blistering drive from the United striker, allowing the ball to fall over the line behind him.
Any scoring threat the visitors might have presented probably left with Luis Corrales when he was replaced after colliding with the far post when trying to turn in a cross.
It wasn’t as if Waitakere were firing on all cylinders however, and Coach Chris Milicich made a double change in the 70th minute bringing on Kayne Vincent up front and former All White Jeff Campbell in midfield.
The game tended to fizzle out that point though with Waitakere not required to get out of second gear and Wellington frustrated by a lack of cut and thrust in the attacking third.
The win sends Waitakere United to the top of the NZFC table, despite having two and in some cases three games in hand on the rest of the league.
Waitakere United 2
Goals: B Totori 50th, D Koprivcic 62nd,
Yellow cards: T Myers 25th, R Krishna 37th, P Seaman 67th, J Butler 80th,
Team Wellington 0
Yellow cards: S Jenkins 7th, S Gulley 27th, R McKenzie 75th,
Richard Gillespie, Jason Rowley, Tim Myers, Aaron Scott, Daniel Koprivcic (Kayne Vincent 70th), Benji Totori (Jacob Mathews 89th), Roy Krishna, Chris Bale, Neil Emblen, Jake Butler, Paul Seaman (Jeff Campbell 70th)
Jake Gleeson, Steve Gulley, Michael Eager, Peter Howe, Luis Corrales (Michael Pickering 62nd), Karl Whalen, Adam Birch (Tim Schaeffers 84th), Brian Little, Ross McKenzie, Sam Jenkins, Peter Halstead (Sam Blackburn 68th)