March 26, 2013
AUCKLAND – The All Whites have completed their confederation FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign unbeaten after a professional 2-0 win over the Solomon Islands in Honiara.
Young Blackburn Rovers utility Tim Payne was the star for New Zealand netting a brace of goals in the opening and closing stages of the match to give the All Whites six wins from six starts in stage three qualifying for the Oceania region.
New Zealand wrapped up the intercontinental playoff spot against an as-yet unknown CONCACAF opponent in November with a 2-1 win over New Caledonia in Dunedin on Friday and coach Ricki Herbert took the decision to rest several of his front line players.
Debuts were handed to Wellington Phoenix captain Andrew Durante, his club mate Cameron Lindsay and Team Wellington's Luke Rowe, while there were recalls for goalkeeper Jacob Spoonley and Waitakere United defender Aaron Scott.
Herbert fielded an entirely new starting eleven and was pleased with the way the new players took their opportunity.
"It was a professional performance and I thought the new players slipped into the system really well, they all did their jobs and it was quite comfortable in the end.
"We tried to stress to the players that there are opportunities to impress before the big games in November," Herbert said.
Herbert was particularly impressed with Durante and Sigmund who marshalled the All Whites defence stifled Solomons dangerman and Phoenix teammate Benjamin Totori, the hosts only real threat on the day, helping to keep a clean sheet for returning custodian Spoonley.
Payne scored in the third minute rifling home from 25 yards after a high tempo counter attack sparked by captain on the day Ben Sigmund and returning Canterbury United midfielder Aaron Clapham.
Playing in behind a lone striker, Payne had to wait until two minutes before the fulltime to put the result beyond doubt when he tapped home a Kosta Barbarouses rebound.
Herbert took the opportunity to rest his players on yellow cards, with the only player in the starting line up under suspension threat, left back Ian Hogg, picking up his second caution in the 12th minute. Hogg will now miss the intercontinental playoff in November.
The All Whites will spend the day in Honiara before returning to their respective clubs on Thursday, with Herbert keen to follow the CONCACAF qualifiers via internet from Honiara tomorrow.
"It's important that we do all we can to scout our potential opponents between now and November, I was able to catch all three qualifiers in Dunedin and the race is finely balanced," said Herbert.
Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama and the USA are vying for three automatic qualifying places, with the fourth placed set to face the All Whites in a home-and-away playoff in November.
The first match of the tie will be played in the CONCACAF country on November 13 or 14, with the return leg scheduled for November 20 in New Zealand.
FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Oceania Stage Three
Match day six | Tuesday, March 26
At Lawson Tama Stadium, Honiara
Solomon Islands 0
New Zealand 2 (Tim PAYNE 3’, 88’)
New Zealand: 12-Jacob SPOONLEY (gk), 3-Aaron SCOTT(7-Leo BERTOS 83’), 4-Ben SIGMUND (c), 9-Luke ROWE (16-Jeremy BROCKIE 73’), 10-Cameron LINDSAY, 13-Dan KEAT, 14-Ian HOGG, 17-Kosta BARBAROUSES, 18-Tim PAYNE, 19-Aaron CLAPHAM, 22-Andrew DURANTE
Sub not used: 1-Mark PASTON (gk)
Coach: Ricki HERBERT
Cautions: Ian HOGG (17’)