Loaded WaiBOP United have scored a stunning 5-0 victory over a fired up Waitakere United in an eventful opening to round nine of the 2015/16 ASB Premiership on Thursday night.
Playing at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton, leading scorer Stephen Hoyle looped the opening goal over goalkeeper Danny Robinson to set us on our way in the fifth minute, but we didn’t have it all our own way during an open first half.
Waitakere United looked dangerous through their front three of Nathaniel Bowen, Sean Lovemore and Brandon Barnes, but when Mark Jones was felled in the box by ex-WaiBOP United captain Aaron Scott just on the half hour, the game took on a decidedly different look after Jones slotted the resulting penalty for 2-0.
Five minutes later new signing Sean Morris, failed to convert from in front after an excellent passing move but it didn’t matter as Hoyle grabbed his second five minutes from the break when he combined with a couple of visiting defenders to slide home Loaded WaiBOP United’s third goal.
A more subdued second half burst into life late on with two more goals, one to Hoyle for his hat-trick, and Sanni Issa – who slotted home from the spot after being brought down by Ross Haviland.
Haviland received a red card as the last defender and he was joined in the changing rooms soon after by another ex-WaiBOP United player in Chad Coombes, who received a second yellow.
Meanwhile, Loaded WaiBOP captain and defender Adam Mitchell was stretchered off in the second half with a dislocated shoulder.
Thursday’s result sees us jump up to second on goal difference ahead of the weekend’s games.
Loaded WaiBOP United coach Peter Smith paid tribute to his side, who were braced for a strong effort from the visitors.
“The lads did extremely well,” Smith said. “We had a game plan, the lads stuck to the game plan and the system we’re playing suits the abilities of the players we’ve got.
“In the middle of the park we won the battle there. Alexis Varela, Mario Ilich and Federico [Marquez] worked extremely hard with Mark Jones and Sean Morris coming in and supporting them.
“The result we had against Waitakere at the start of the season, they would be desperate to avoid that. We were aware they’d come with a bit of fight and a bit of spirit and [we had] to prevent that.”
After their third straight win, Smith said the team are flowing with the confidence that such a streak provides.
“When we spoke a few weeks ago we said the next three games were must-win games if we wanted to be in the playoffs. To get the result against the Phoenix, to back that up against Southern and to get the result and the performance tonight it indicates we’re in a good space. But at the same time we’re taking nothing for granted.”
Loaded WaiBOP United 5-0 Waitakere United (ht: 3-0)
WB: S. Hoyle 5′ 40′, 89′, M. Jones 29′, Issa 90+3′.
Loaded WaiBOP United: Zac Speedy; Scott Hilliar, Adam Mitchell (Cory Mitchell 80′), Tyler Lissette, Finn Cochran; Mario Ilich, Alexis Varela; Mark Jones (Wade Molony 73′), Sean Morris, Federico Marquez (Sanni Issa 86′); Stephen Hoyle. Subs: Neil Achary (RGK), James Hoyle.
Waitakere United: Danny Robinson, Aaron Scott, Ross Haviland, Brandon Barnes, Chad Coombes, Nathaniel Bowen, Sean Lovemore, Jake Butler, Sam O’Regan (Christian Gray), Eder Franchini-Pasten (Thomas Shaw 53), Elder (Jake Porter 84′). Subs: Simon Williams (RGK), Marcel Nolde.