TA extend third-placed Unicol
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.