Chris Milicich made a number of changes to his team for the visit of Canterbury to Douglas Field in round 4 NZFC action following Wednesday nights victory over Auckland City, losing Paul Seaman and Tim Myers to injury and resting Allan Pearce and Roy Krishna for Benji Totori and Adriano. Skipper Danny Hay was again missing as he continues his fight to recover from injury prior to the team’s departure for Japan later this week.
It was the Solomon Islands striker Totori who scored his goal of the season, stabbing home from 15 metres after good work by Danko Koprivcic on the edge of the penalty area. It could and perhaps should have been two just seconds later, but referee Nick Waldron waved play on when Dan Terris clearly handled inside the penalty area as he blocked a left wing cross.
Canterbury’s first chance came in the 23rd minute when Michael Fifii beat a square defence to get on the end of a through ball, only to blast high over the advancing Richard Gillespie and the Waitakere cross bar.
Ten minutes later hard working midfielder Chris Bale nearly doubled Waitakere’s lead as the home side broke from a defensive free kick. Bale collected a pass from Totori and used the space created by good off the ball running by team mates to rifle a 25 metre shot just inches wide.
Totori showed he was nearing his spectacular best when he volleyed a pearler of a pass from Jason Rowley just wide of the Canterbury goal in the 38th minute. It was a reminder of the pace and skill the diminutive striker possesses and a great ball from Rowley playing his first game of the season.
Brazilian Adriano showed signs of his quality too when in the shadow of halftime he nutmegged one opponent, went around another and then shot well with the outside of his left foot, albeit straight into the arms of O’Keefe. But both moments proved fleeting for the players concerned and the Waitakere United team as a unit.
The opening ten minutes of the second half saw both sides miss gilt edged opportunities with first Fifii for Canterbury then Koprivcic for Waitakere the guilty parties.
Canterbury United began to grow in confidence and for a ten minute spell midway through the half dominated proceedings and if not quite peppering the Waitakere goal, they certainly kept Richard Gillespie on his toes.
In the 71st minute they did more than that, finally finding the back of the net after Gillespie failed to hold a shot, allowing Gareth Turnbull to nod home from close range. By now the tails of the visitors were well and truly up with further chances to Fifii that on another day would have seen the visitors prevail.
They will rue those misses however, just as Waitakere United might wonder about the first half penalty decision that did not go their way. It finished a rather scrappy and for the home side an unimpressive one all.
The only consolation and it is a small one, is other results went the way of Waitakere with Manawatu losing their perfect record against Hawkes Bay and Auckland City going down 2-1 to Team Wellington.
B Totori 14th,
G Turnbull 71st
Richard Gillespie, Jason Rowley (Ian Hogg 62nd), Jonathan Perry, Aaron Scott, Daniel Koprivcic (Daniel Ellensohn 75th), Benji Totori, Jeff Campbell, Chris Bale, Adriano (Allan Pearce 68th), Neil Emblen, Jake Butler
Michael O’Keeffe, Dan Terris, Matt Boyd, Bill Robinson, Andy Pitman, Ryan Faichnie (Jamie Smith 65th), Harry McDermott (Darren Overton 78th), Tom Lancaster, Gareth Turnbull (Nick Wortelboer 88th), Michael Fifie, Ben Harris
J Campbell (WU) 8th; J Butler (WU) 42nd; A Pitman (CU) 59th; D Terris (CU) 75th;
For further information contact:
Waitakere United Head Coach
021 222 6959