Oceania Football Confederation > News > 2010 O-League > Auckland City keep Waitakere at bay

Auckland City keep Waitakere at bay

Auckland City will take more positives from the result after securing a point away from home in their least convincing display so far this 2009-10 O-League season.
The O-League defending champions have held onto their top of the table status in Group A on seven points, while Waitakere remain two points behind.
The West Auckland club will need high scoring wins in their remaining home game against AS Magenta next round and likewise against Tahiti’s AS Manu Ura in Papeete, before aiming to beat Auckland City on match day six across town at Kiwitea Street.
Waitakere captain Neil Emblen knew his team had let a punch-drunk Auckland City off the ropes.
“I am a bit disappointed to be honest, I think we had something like eight corners in that second half and we hit the post and crossbar. It just seemed like one of those days where the ball wouldn’t go in (the net).”
And Emblen readily acknowledges that Waitakere cannot afford to let further wins slip away as the competition moves into the second phase of group play in February.
“We’ve got to win both our upcoming games against the Island teams, and win them well. Then we’ll need to beat Auckland City at Kiwitea Street and I won’t be expecting them to drop any more points before that match. We’re going to have to be on top of our game,” said Emblen.
Conversely Auckland City coach Paul Posa was relaxed post-match, saying that neither team could have “any complaints” about the result. Posa conceded that over-all he was pleased to take a point from the match given the 81st minute sending-off of Adam Dickinson.
It was Auckland City who enjoyed the better of the opening half hour with the most notable moment coming in the 28th minute as Ivan Vicelich beat his marker to strike a volleyed shot on target at the far post. Fortunately for Waitakere, keeper Danny Robbinson reacted superbly to tip the shot clear with his outstretched left hand.
Two minutes later the visitors had their early ascendancy rewarded courtesy of a cracking 25 yard shot from striker Chad Coombes after he capitalised on a loose Waitakere clearance from Ki-Hyung Lee.
Fleet footed Solomon Islands striker Benjamin Totori was consistently Waitakere’s most dangerous and elusive player and it was his neat cross over dribble and sharp low cross that inspired the equaliser on 42 minutes.
United striker Brent Fisher was well positioned at the near post and he slid in front of his marker to poke the ball past City keeper Jacob Spoonley.
That proved to be a taste of things to come as Spoonley was forced to make a string of five excellent second half saves as Waitakere strung together sustained periods of dominance. Totori continued to pose a constant menace to the City back four and tested Spoonley on four occasions.
Ironically, it was Totori who ruined the home side’s best chance to kill off the match just after the hour mark. The agile forward appeared caught off-guard by a pin point cross that evaded both Spoonley and City’s central defence. Totori successfully brought the ball down on his chest but then skyed his shot well over the bar from five meters out.
In the 70th minute there was further disappointment for the home crowd as Fisher struck the crossbar after sustained attacks and a smart cross from lively midfielder Martin Bullock.
Waitakere continued to dominant the better scoring opportunities in the final 20 minutes but despite their greater possession, and Auckland City battling the last 12 minutes with ten men, the decisive breakthrough remained elusive.

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