Wellington looked headed for a fourth NZFC defeat thanks to two goals within sixty seconds of each other from Waitakere United pair Neil Sykes and Allan Pearce. But Team Wellington staged a spirited comeback courtesy of an opportunistic goal from Chris Davies in the 82nd minute.
Further drama occurred within one minute of the restart when influential Waitakere midfielder Jeremy Christie was sent off by referee Antony Riley for a dangerous tackle. Team Wellington’s Cole Peverley followed soon after when Riley showed him a second yellow card in the 88th minute.
The win was enough to guide Waitakere to the top of the table on 12 points with previous leaders Auckland City (10) absent on FIFA Club World Cup duty in Abu Dhabi and rivals YoungHeart Manawatu now third on goal difference only after a 1-0 win over regional rivals Hawke’s Bay United.
Vanuatu international striker Seule Soromon’s sixth goal of the season midway through the second half earned YoungHeart victory but Hawke’s Bay gave Manawatu a scare when Joachim Rande hit the post in the 73rd minute and another effort struck the top of the crossbar in injury time.
Victory provided a special memory for YoungHeart skipper Adam Cowan who became the first player in NZFC history to make it to 100 competition matches.
In Ngaruawahia, a last minute Stu Kelly goal gave Otago United victory over Waikato FC, Kelly’s goal gave Otago its second win of the season and lifted the southerners into fourth place on the table. Waikato FC were just seconds away from climbing off the bottom of the table but were denied by Kelly’s strike as Otago claimed a 1-0 win.
Auckland City, who faced Atlante at the FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi this morning, currently have one game in hand on the pack and return to NZFC action next weekend when they play host to YoungHeart Manawatu.
Next week’s other NZFC fixtures see an all-South Island affair as Otago United face arch-rivals Canterbury United in Dunedin. Table toppers Waitakere United face Hawke’s Bay United in Napier while Waikato FC travels south to face Team Wellington in a bottom of the table clash
For the latest results visit www.NZFC.co.nz
NEW ZEALAND FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Week 7 – Results
Sunday 13 December 2009
YoungHeart Manawatu 1 (Seule Soromon 67’)
Hawke’s Bay United 0
Waitakere United 2 (Neil Sykes 23’, Allan Pearce 24’)
Team Wellington 1 (Chris Davies 82’)
Waikato FC 0
Otago United 1 (Stu Kelly 89’)
Story courtesy NZF Media