Unicol inflict narrow loss
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.
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.