Uni­col in­flict nar­row loss

Te Awamutu Courier - - News -

Te Awa­mutu’s Wai­bop Foot­ball Premier­ship team per­formed ad­mirably to ex­tend third placed Uni­col to 1-0.

The game was played at a fre­netic pace in fine weather on a hard sur­face at Jansen Park.

Uni­col looked to rely on their so­phis­ti­cated pass­ing game to break down the Ed­monds Judd Te Awa­mutu de­fence.

De­spite hav­ing less pos­ses­sion, Te Awa­mutu de­fended stoutly with Ha­mon McKay, Jono O’Sul­li­van, Scotty Voorend and Richard Wilkins cop­ing with every­thing Uni­col threw at them.

Keeper Kevin Bil­lot was in fine form mak­ing sev­eral saves that kept his team in the match and the scores level 0-0 at half­time.

In the sec­ond half the at­mos­phere re­mained tense as both teams sought the one goal that might be enough to set­tle the en­counter.

Mid­way through the sec­ond half Uni­col won pos­ses­sion near half­way, sprang into a quick at­tack, skipped past a cou­ple of would-be tack­les and crossed the ball for Rueben Henderson to crash home the win­ning goal from close range.

De­spite the loss, Te Awa­mutu coach Joe Gif­ford was pleased with the ef­fort and in­ten­sity that his play­ers ap­plied to the game.

Alan Ball, Camp­bell Black, Joe Con­nor, Ha­dyn Roil and Thomas Watts toiled away bravely in the mid­field, while St­ef­fan Foulkes, as the sole striker, showed glimpses of be­ing a player to look out for in the fu­ture.

Late sub­sti­tu­tions Waikato Ball, Thomas Gif­ford and Joel Roil in­jected their fresh legs into the game and for a while the trav­el­ling sup­port­ers dared to be­lieve that an equal­is­ing goal was im­mi­nent as the Uni­col de­fence be­came in­creas­ingly ner­vous.

With five min­utes of the match to play a foul on Waikato Ball by the Uni­col keeper in the penalty area looked to de­liver what Te Awa­mutu needed.

How­ever, the ref­eree de­ter­mined oth­er­wise and waved away the ap­peals for a penalty kick.

The man of the match award went to Bil­lot for his fine ef­forts in goal.

Te Awa­mutu now turn their fo­cus to the fi­nal game of the sea­son away to Hamil­ton Wan­der­ers at Por­ritt Sta­dium on Thurs­day evening, 7pm kick off.

Noth­ing but a win by a wide mar­gin will do if Te Awa­mutu want to fin­ish bet­ter than eighth in the fi­nal league stand­ings.

Whakaahua / Sup­plied

Richard Wilkins, pic­tured in an ear­lier game this sea­son, was a tower of strength in de­fence for Te Awa­mutu against Uni­col at Jansen Park on Satur­day.

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