FOOT­BALL

Waihi Leader - - News - By BRENT WILLOUGHBY

Waihi recorded an­other solid win in the Waikato Men’s B Di­vi­sion last Satur­day af­ter­noon, de­feat­ing St Paul’s Corinthi­ans 3-1 at Waihi Col­lege.

St Paul’s has strug­gled this sea­son and sits at the foot of the league ta­ble, but the Hamil­ton side still proved com­pet­i­tive in the windy con­di­tions.

St Paul’s had good spells of pos­ses­sion but was un­able to break down Waihi’s de­fence or con­tain Waihi’s strik­ers and at­tack­ing mid­field­ers.

Player-coach Richard James scored Waihi’s first goal from the penalty spot in the 20th minute after left mid­fielder Vin­cent Fran­sham was brought down in the box. James then went on to make it a brace 10 min­utes later after latch­ing on to an inch-per­fect ball from mid­fielder Ryu­sei Nishida.

The in­ten­sity seemed to drop from Waihi’s game after half­time.

How­ever, that didn’t stop the home side scor­ing early in the half when de­fender Mark-Oliver Milne-Mur­die launched a loop­ing long shot from 40m out that bounced over the St Paul’s keeper in the 18 yard box and then again over a de­fender’s out­stretched leg to find the back of the net. The game be­came less struc­tured after this with long balls played by both sides.

A St Paul’s striker cap­i­talised in the 65th minute when he chased down a through ball to make the score 3-1. The re­main­der of the half was mixed, with both sides threat­en­ing but un­able to add to the score.

All in all not the pret­ti­est of matches, but Waihi did enough.

The vic­tory keeps the team in the hunt for top spot on the league ta­ble, with three games to go this sea­son.

The Col­lege 1st XI beat 2nd placed HBHS Yr11 XI 3-1, but re­main fourth in their com­pe­ti­tion. This young side played a lot of en­ter­tain­ing foot­ball in a tight­ly­con­tested match. Aod­han Balemi was out­stand­ing in the first half, his pace cre­at­ing all sorts of is­sues for the HBHS de­fence.

Ma­son Sas’s re­turn from in­jury strength­ened the mid­field and Ja­panese im­port Ryu­sei had an­other great game. He dou­bled up play­ing for the se­nior side in the af­ter­noon. Coach Karl Bud­gen was pleased with how the boys adapted to a new for­ma­tion. The de­fence was strong, and Waihi con­trolled the game through­out. The well-pre­pared pitch al­lowed ex­cel­lent foot­ball — thanks Matty Matich! Thanks also to ref Ja­son Ur­lich.

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