Home advantage went out the window in the second round of the ISPS Handa Premiership over the weekend as surprise early leaders Tasman United were joined in posting an away win by Eastern Suburbs, Hawke’s Bay United, Auckland City and Team Wellington.
While the latter technically posted an away triumph, their win over the Wellington Phoenix Reserves in the capital derby was hardly on the road as it took place on their own turf at David Farrington Park. The ‘Wel Clasico’ had the honour of opening the round on Saturday and did that billing justice by producing an entertaining seven-goal contest.
Young All White Logan Rogerson got the ‘WeeNix’ off to a good start early on but goals from Andy Bevin and Tom Jackson turned the match on its head to give Team Wellington a 2-1 lead at the break. Another player with All Whites experience, Joel Stevens, then extended the ‘away’ side’s advantage before a free kick from Angus Kilkolly made it 4-1.
The Phoenix replied with Rogerson’s second from the penalty spot late on and there was still time for another from Team Wellington as Nati Hailemariam made it five with one of the last kicks of the game.
Team Wellington coach Jose Figueira
“We were delighted to bounce back from the disappointment of last week and I think the boys showed some great application and a good attitude,” Team Wellington coach Jose Figueira said. “It was great to see us back to where we should be performing and moving the ball quickly.”
Despite taking an early lead, Phoenix coach Chris Greenacre felt his charges weren’t at their best in the opening period and was far more pleased with their second-half showing.
“We didn’t play particularly well in the first half and I think they dominated us physically,” he said. “But we changed a couple of things in the second half and it was a massively improved performance from us. It was probably just that final ball that let us down.”
Wellington Phoenix Reserves coach Chris Greenacre
After such a high-scoring opening to the round, hopes were high for more of the same on Sunday but the nature of that earlier clash proved to be a false dawn as goals proved much harder to come by. There was no shortage of tension and drama though and Tasman, Hawke’s Bay and Eastern Suburbs won’t care about not finding the net multiple times after all grinding out 1-0 wins.
Suburbs travelled all the way down to Dunedin and looked likely to return with just a point as their encounter with Southern United seemed to be heading towards a scoreless stalemate. But Andre de Jong, a hat-trick hero for Suburbs last weekend, had other ideas in the Caledonian Ground sunshine and broke Southern hearts by converting a Rossi Nkoy cross with five minutes remaining.
The result was perhaps harsh on Southern, whose cause was not helped by early injuries to key players Garbhan Coughlan and Stephen Last. But coach Paul O’Reilly felt his side still had enough quality on the pitch to earn a positive outcome and paid for not doing more with the ball.
Southern United coach Paul O’Reilly
“I thought we certainly had enough chances to get something out of it so we’re disappointed to lose,” he said. “We just weren’t good enough in possession in the opposition’s half. We worked hard and battled but just lacked a little bit of quality at times.”
Suburbs counterpart Danny Hay was pleased to record back-to-back wins but admitted the display was not of the memorable variety.
“It was a very hard-fought match and we knew it was going to be exactly that,” he said. “It certainly wasn’t a vintage performance from our point of view but sometimes you have to win a bit ugly.”
Eastern Suburbs coach Danny Hay
A sole late goal was also enough to earn the points in Christchurch, where Tasman likewise continued their perfect start to the campaign with a last-gasp triumph over Canterbury United in a South Island derby. With the Mainland Challenge Trophy up for grabs, it looked like neither side had done enough to lift the silverware until Callan Elliot rose off the bench and made an immediate impact in the 85th minute to send all three points back to Nelson.
Again, the losing team had reason to feel frustrated but Canterbury coach Willy Gerdsen chose to look on the bright side of an encouraging showing.
“The boys gave it everything they could and played much better than in the first game,” he said. “We created a lot of chances and there was some great goalkeeping from Tasman. We dominated possession but then conceded on the counter attack and that’s football sometimes.”
The visitors were especially indebted to goalkeeper Corey Wilson when he denied Canterbury from a late free kick and captain Cameron Lindsay was proud of his team mates’ efforts.
“We came here with a game plan and I think we implemented that perfectly,” he said. “We were under the pump there in the second half but we got through it. On another day, a draw might have been a fair result but we’re delighted with the win.”
Tasman United captain Cameron Lindsay
The winner for Hawke’s Bay came much earlier at Porritt Stadium against Hamilton Wanderers, who were forced to play over half the match with ten men after the dismissal of Bailey Webster for retaliation towards the end of the first half. The Bay had taken the lead in the 20th minute when Hayato Wakino finished off a counter attack and it was one they did not relinquish as they recorded their first win of the season.
After a low-scoring afternoon, the goals returned on Sunday evening as a rampant Auckland City returned to form by putting five past a Waitakere United outfit that ended the match with only nine men. In a typically feisty Super City derby, Emiliano Tade equalled Grant Young’s all-time domestic scoring record for Auckland from the penalty spot just past the half hour and the game’s defining moment arrived soon after when Waitakere fullback Ryan Cain received his marching orders after a second booking.
A man down and facing a one-goal deficit, things went from bad to worse for the home side at Trusts Arena when former Waitakere player Ryan de Vries returned to haunt his old club by making it 2-0 at half-time. He then rubbed salt into the wounds with a sumptuous chip to make it three in the 63rd minute and it was now a matter of just how many the Navy Blues would win by.
Waitakere continued to be their own worst enemies as Julyan Collett joined Cain in taking an early shower a few moments later before Tade earned a place in Auckland City folklore with his record-breaking strike in the 73rd minute, the goal taking him past the 58 scored by club legend Young in this competition.
De Vries then stole some of Tade’s thunder in the closing stages, finding the net again to complete his hat-trick and round off a very bad day at the office for Waitakere, who will now be without two important players for the next round.
Auckland City coach Ramon Tribulietx
“When it was 11 v 11 we were very good, we dominated but it was difficult because they weren’t giving us any space in the middle of the pitch,” Auckland City coach Ramon Tribulietx said. “When they went down to nine men it was a different game. I’m taking the first 30 or 35 minutes as a good indication of where we are at.”
Waitakere coach Chris Milicich was also relatively pleased with the opening period but felt playing a side of Auckland’s quality without the full complement was a near impossible task.
“I think we could easily have been one or maybe two up to be fair, we were comfortably in the game until we got a player sent off,” he said. “It’s hard enough playing Auckland with 11 players because you have to make sure everyone is doing their job. With 10 players it starts to drift and then with two off it’s game over.”
ISPS Handa Premiership Round Two Results
Wellington Phoenix 2 (Logan Rogerson 14’, pen 84’)
Team Wellington 5 (Tom Jackson 38’, Andy Bevin 22’, Joel Stevens 55’, Angus Kilkolly 81’, Nati Hailemariam 90’ + 4’)
Southern United 0
Eastern Suburbs 1 (Andre de Jong 85’)
Canterbury United Dragons 0
Tasman United 1 (Callan Elliot 85’)
Hamilton Wanderers 0
Hawke’s Bay United 1 (Hayato Wakino 20’)
Waitakere United 0
Auckland City 5 (Emiliano Tade pen 36’, 73’, Ryan De Vries 43’, 63’, 90’)