TA ex­tend third-placed Uni­col

Te Awamutu Courier - - News -

Waikato Uni­col has done its best to turn the Loaded WaiBOP Foot­ball Premier­ship ti­tle race into a three-way dog fight af­ter Riku Soe­jima’s goal gave the stu­dents a 1-0 win at Te Awa­mutu on Satur­day.

While they’ll need a slip-up of ma­jor pro­por­tions, par­tic­u­larly by lead­ers Taupo, they still at least are main­tain­ing an in­ter­est at the busi­ness end of what’s been an en­cour­ag­ing sea­son for them.

The Ed­monds Judd spon­sored Te Awa­mutu side fought gal­lantly in their last home game of the sea­son to ex­tend their higher placed op­po­nents at the Sta­dium on Satur­day.

In a keenly con­tested game on a soft play­ing sur­face, David Hall re­ports that the teams were locked in an armwres­tle of a match.

Uni­col were well struc­tured and used a high press on de­fence to make play dif­fi­cult for Te Awa­mutu to get out of their own half of the field.

In the last minute of the first half Uni­col un­locked the home team de­fence with some sus­tained pres­sure in the penalty area that cre­ated a cross to Soe­jima who found him­self alone at the far post and able to sim­ply head the ball home for what turned out to be the match-win­ner.

In the sec­ond half Uni­col con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate for long pe­ri­ods, only to be met with de­ter­mined de­fence from Richard Wilkins, Ha­mon McKay and Scott Voorend.

In the last 15 min­utes of the match Te Awa­mutu started to be­lieve that they could get a re­sult. The mid­field of Alan Ball, Ha­dyn Roil, Jack Con­nor, Jono O’Sul­li­van and Thomas Watts be­gan to link some passes and un­leash the quick­sil­ver at­tack of St­ef­fan Foulkes and Joel Roil to get be­hind the Uni­col de­fence to cre­ate scor­ing chances.

In the end, Te Awa­mutu had to be sat­is­fied with push­ing the third placed team in the league hard to earn their three com­pe­ti­tion points.

Watt’s was named man of the match for his tough tack­ling and work­man like dis­play in the mid­dle of the field.

Te Awa­mutu now turn their at­ten­tion to the re­main­ing catch-up games from ear­lier sea­son post­pone­ments, fac­ing Uni­col again at Jansen Park on Satur­day, 2.45pm kick off, then away to Hamil­ton Wan­der­ers in an evening game on Thurs­day, Septem­ber 13.

Only four games were played in Satur­day’s fi­nal sched­uled round of the premier­ship and fans are no wiser as to which team will end a marathon cam­paign as cham­pi­ons.

The Na­tional Sec­ondary Schools Cham­pi­onships played havoc with the pointy end of the ta­ble, with both Taupo and Pa¯ pa¯ moa forced to sit out week­end matches as their op­po­nents had play­ers pre­par­ing for the big tour­na­ment in Christchurch.

In a sea­son ex­tended by both the weather and ex­cel­lent ISPS Handa Chatham Cup runs for sev­eral teams, both these sides still face the propo­si­tion of five games to play.

Ju­nior re­sults: Raiders 4, Raglan 2; Pan­thers 3, Piron­gia Strik­ers 1; Comets 0, Cambridge 2; Hot­shots 4, Huntly This­tle 4; Spurs 5, Hamil­ton Wan­der­ers 3; Gun­ners 4, Te Kowhai Ea­gles 2; Hur­ri­canes 6, North­ern Utd Chile 2; O¯ haupo¯ An­gels 3 Mata­mata Vix­ens 2; Galaxy Girls 0, South­well 7; Storm 3, Nga¯ hi­napouri Stars 3.

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