January 25, 2014Score: 3 – 2
Bluewater Stadium, Napier. Kick-off: 5pm (ASB Premiership)
In something of a classic game of two halves, WaiBOP United came storming back from a huge early deficit against Hawke’s Bay United but couldn’t quite manage to pull off the comeback a stirring 2nd half performance deserved.
Indeed, the hosts had their custodian, Richard Gillespie, to thank for securing all three points as he pulled off three excellent second half saves in his 100th ASB Premiership match. For WaiBOP that meant it was yet another case of so, so close, but yet so, so far.
Early on, however, it looked like this match would end up very differently. The Bay shot out to a two goal lead in the first 11 minutes on the back of some nice football and clinical finishing. WaiBOP struggled to adapt to the blustery conditions early on and that didn’t really help things.
Hawke’s Bay stretched their lead to three in the 28th minute when Sean Lovemore lashed the ball past a despairing Andy McNeil.
At that stage it looked like it was game over but WaiBOP started to edge back into the match. Both Scott Hilliar and Jack McNab went close before McNab grabbed one back three minutes before the break with a nice turn and neat finish.
Half time: 3-1.
McNab was back in the action early in the second half when he nearly chased down a sloppy back pass only for Gillespie to snuff out the threat. WaiBOP came on stronger and stronger as the half went on and McNab was again denied by Gillespie when the big keeper leapt across his goal in the 66th minute to get to an under hit shot from McNab, who’ll be disappointed he didn’t make a cleaner connection on the Mark Jones cross.
All that was just a prelude to a manic final ten minutes that was all WaiBOP. Substitute Sam Messam nodded home a Ben Latham cross in the 83rd minute to score against his old club, before Gillespie really earned his win bonus.
First the burly keeper blocked a point blank shot from Scott Hilliar then, with two minutes remaining, he somehow denied Florian Markt.
So yet again it was a match full of many positives for WaiBOP United but without the win the side craves. Mention must be made of the contributions made by Scott Hilliar, in his first start, and Ben Latham, in only his second start for the side. These two had big boots to fill as they replaced the injured Masaki Nomoto and Aaron Scott and helped make up the most inexperienced WaiBOP side of the season.
|1. Andy McNeil|
|2. Liam Higgins|
|5. Tyler Lissette|
|7. Mark Jones|
|10. Nik Robson|
|12. Jack McNab||Goal|
|13. Ben Latham||Assist|
|18. Alexis Varela|
|16. Scott Hilliar|
|23. Tom Probert|
|17. Reid Drake||Assist|
|14. Sam Messam||GoalSub10|
|9. Shaydon Young||Sub17|
|17. Florian Matk||Sub12|