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.