December 1, 2013Score: 3 – 3
North Harbour Stadium, Auckland. Kick-off: 2pm (ASB Premiership)
WaiBOP United has let a two goal lead slip to end up drawing 3-3 with a young Wanderers SC side at North Harbour Stadium. This was an open match in which both keepers, particularly Damian Hirst in the Wanderers goal, were called on to pull off good saves while, with a bit more precision up front, there could have been more goals.
Head coach Peter Smith was forced into making three changes to this week’s starting line-up, mainly due to injury and illness. Alexis Varela came into midfield for his first start of the season, with Maksim Manko pushing forward for the absent Mikhail Bredeveldt. Marcel Galera Corbera and Tom Probert both made their ASB Premiership debuts, coming into a re-fashioned back four for Liam Higgins and Tyler Lissette.
The alterations at the back partly led to the game’s opening goal when Probert was robbed of possession by Ben Thomas, who pressed forward and finished neatly past Andy McNeil to make it 1-0 to the hosts.
It didn’t take long for United to equalise. Shaydon Young whipped in a corner that was flicked on by Maksim Manko to Milos Nikolic at the far post, who buried the ball in to the roof of the voluminous net.
Hirst pulled off good saves from Mark Jones and Nikolic before United, after having much the better of the first half hour, went ahead through Masaki Nomoto in the 32nd minute. His drive from the edge of the area left the Wanderers keeper with little chance.
Half time: 1-2.
United pushed the margin out by a further goal on the hour mark. Nomoto drove in a free kick and Corbera, pushing forward from left back, crashed a header into the cross bar. Thankfully Maksim Manko was on hand to calmly roll in the rebound to make it 3-1 .
Things got interesting when Wanderers pulled a goal back through substitute Elijah Neblett in the 71st minute. In a match that was pockmarked by curious free kicks the United players could feel aggrieved about the awarding of the foul that led to the ball in from which Neblett headed home, but they should have defended it better too.
To their credit the Wanderers players kept pushing forward and their building momentum was further enhanced when Corbera was shown his second yellow card with just over ten minutes remaining. With ten men United looked to hold on to the result and it could have been secured with only three minutes on the clock when a three on one was somehow blown.
The final dagger for United came at the end of the fourth minute of added time. McNeil looked to have comfortably punched a cross clear only to be deemed to have fouled Wanderers’ Stuart Holthusen, who appeared to have jumped into McNeil’s blindside. It was a terribly harsh decision, but McNeil looked to have made amends when he saved Nick Sugden’s spot kick, but the rebound fell nicely for Sugden who slid the ball home then turned to celebrate the comeback his team mates.
|1. Andy McNeil|
|3. Aaron Scott|
|4. Takahiro Yokota|
|6. Masaki Nomoto||Goal|
|7. Mark Jones||Assist|
|99. Milos Nikolic||Goal|
|99. Marcel Galera Corbera||Assist|
|99. Maksim Manko||GoalAssist|
|9. Shaydon Young|
|18. Alexis Varela|
|23. Tom Probert|
|99. George Slefendorfas||Sub7|
|16. Scott Hilliar||Sub9|