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Team Wellington take dramatic final

Facing a 2-1 deficit with just two minutes on the clock, Team Wellington staged a remarkable fightback, levelling via a Cole Peverley penalty and then scoring twice in the first half of extra time through league Golden Boot Ben Harris and Tom Jackson as the capital club closed the door on Auckland City’s three-peat bid as well as their record 28-game unbeaten domestic run.
Jackson had earlier given his side a 52nd minute lead with a rocket from the edge of the Auckland area before Joao Moreira pulled Auckland City level at 1-1 from the penalty spot after a controversial decision by referee Matt Conger to award a penalty as Takuya Iwata’s cross struck Chris Bale’s arm at close range.
The six-time champions then hit the front themselves with only nine minutes to go, piercing what had been an excellent Team Wellington defensive effort until that point when Daewook Kim shook free of his marker and headed home beyond an exposed Scott Basalaj in the Team Wellington goal.
But, unsurprisingly in what has been a dramatic season – particularly involving these two sides, there was another late twist as Iwata hauled down Harris in the penalty area and Peverley duly converted to send the game to the extra frame.
Harris then provided his typically decisive scoring contribution four minutes into the first period of extra time; volleying home in the aftermath of an Anthony Hobbs long throw.
Rocked by that blow, Auckland City were reeling soon after – Jackson curling a wonderful effort against Rivas’
crossbar before it was cleared for a corner. In it came and Jackson rose in the crowd to head it home for 4-2 and secure his side’s first ASB Premiership title.
Team Wellington coach Matt Calcott was understandably delighted with Thursday’s dramatic conclusion to his side’s ASB Premiership campaign.
“It’s huge,” Calcott said, “I’ve been in the game 15 years in Wellington and to get this across the line for Team Wellington and be the only side outside of Auckland to get it across the line is just huge.
“It couldn’t have been in more dramatic fashion to be honest. I’m sitting there in the 85th minute thinking here we go again and Ben pops up as he’s done all year.”
Calcott said the team’s gradual progress, inching their way towards Auckland City over a number of years, was key in getting the result on Thursday.
“I think we kind of learned a little bit. There are a number of players from the last couple of years and they are a little bit more experienced at that was probably the difference in some key periods of the game. There is a hell of a lot of resolve in this group and they work super hard.”
Auckland City coach Ramon Tribulietx said conceding the late penalty was a big for several reasons – on the scoreboard and in the minds of the players.
“Congratulations to Team Wellington for their win,” Tribulietx said. “It was a very tense game. We controlled the game but we did not penetrate.
“We showed character after going down 1-0 and once we turned it around we thought we had it but unfortunately that penalty at the end hurt us mentally.
“They scored early on in extra time but, fair play, they took their chances so they deserve it.”
ASB Premiership 2015-16 – Grand Final
Thursday 10 March
Auckland City FC 2-4 Team Wellington (AET) (full: 2-2) (half: 0-0)
AC: Joao Moreira (pen) 68’, Daewook Kim 81’
TW: Tom Jackson 52’, 99’, Cole Peverley (pen) 88’, Ben Harris 94’
Auckland City FC: 24. Diego Rivas (GK), 3. Takuya Iwata (22. Andrew Milne 102’), 4. Mario Bilen, 5. Angel Berlanga (capt), 6. Jesse Edge, 10. Ryan De Vries, 11. Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi, 16. Daewook Kim, 17. Joao Moreira, 19. Micah Lea’alafa (9. Darren White 58’), 20. Emiliano Tade (14. Clayton Lewis 87’)
Substitutes not used: 7. Reid Drake, 8. Michael Den Heijer, 13. Alfie Rogers, 18. Danyon Drake (GK),
Coach: Ramon Tribulietx
Team Wellington: 1. Scott Basalaj (GK), 4. Anthony Hobbs, 5. Bill Robertson, 6. Chris Bale, 7. Leonardo Villa (15. Magno Vieira 85’), 9. Tom Jackson, 10. Luis Corrales (12. Andy Bevin 65’), 11. Mario Barcia (8. Cole Peverley 54’), 13. Alex Feneridis, 16. Ben Harris, 17. Fergus Neil
Substitutes not used: 14. Billy Scott, 18. Saul Halpin, 20. Taylor Schrijvers, 22. Alex Carr (GK)
Coach: Matt Calcott
Story courtesy of New Zealand Football


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