#SSPremiership: Round 16 Preview

Keegan Linderboom and his Waitakere United team mates will look to get back to winning ways against Canterbury United. Photo: Adam Binns / www.photosport.nz

Check out what’s coming up in the Stirling Sports Premiership this weekend with the official preview of Round 16. The match televised live on SKY Sport is Auckland City’s hosting of Hamilton Wanderers on Sunday.


Referee: C Mills
Assistant Referees: M Rule, T Pedley
Fourth Official: P Linney


Wellington Phoenix U-20: 1. Keegan Smith (GK), 6. Dylan Fox, 7. Noah Tipene-Clegg, 11. Hamish Watson, 15. James McGarry, 23. Matt Ridenton, 24. Logan Rogerson, 25. Sarpreet Singh, 26. Jack Henry-Sinclair, 29. Liam Wood, 30. Oliver Sail (GK), 31. Sam Philip, 33. Liam Moore, 34. Benjamin Mata, 35. Ruairi Cahill-Fleury, 39. Sam Sutton
Coach: Andy Hedge

Hawke’s Bay United: 1. Joshua Hill (GK), 2. Sean Liddicoat, 6. Alex Palezevic, 9. Facundo Barbero, 10. Sam Mason-Smith, 11. Saul Halpin, 12. Ross Willox, 13. Ethan Dent, 14. Martin Canales Ramos, 15. James Hoyle, 16. Angus Kilkolly, 17. Fergus Neil, 19. Jorge Akers, 22. Daniel Mulholland, 24. Alex Cox, 26. Ruben Parker (GK)
Coach: Brett Angell


The magic touch of Hawke’s Bay assistant coach Jamie Dunning – who has been patrolling the sidelines since coach Brett Angell’s four-match ban began three rounds ago – finally came to an end last week, losing his two-game winning streak with a 2-1 loss at Canterbury United. The Bay were leading 1-0 in that match and will be disappointed to have thrown away the advantage in a clash that was crucial to both sides’ play-off prospects. Canterbury have now leapfrogged the Bay, leaving Angell’s men in huge need of a win this weekend. With the two teams immediately above them – Canterbury and Waitakere United – playing each other, the Bay could even break into the top four if they can avoid tripping on the banana skin laid by the Phoeninx. The ‘WeeNix’ were in fourth place just before the festive break but have since dropped off the pace and their win over Southern United a fortnight ago was their first of the new year. Hawke’s Bay have been robbed of the services of captain Finlay Milne, who is again suspended after picking up his second red card of the season last weekend.


Wellington Phoenix U-20 coach Andy Hedge


Referee: C-K Waugh
Assistant Referees: B O’Connell, R Jones
Fourth Official: R Mahalm


Canterbury United: 1. Tom Batty (GK), 4. Felix Komolong, 5. Tom Schwarz, 6. Gary Ogilvie, 8. Aaron Clapham, 9. Sean Morris, 10. Aaron Spain, 11. Juan Chang Urrea, 14. Andre de Jong, 15. Andreas Wilson, 16. Jack Anderson, 17. Stephen Hoyle, 18. Daniel Thoms, 19. Colin van Gool, 22. Danny Knight (GK), 23. Sebastian Schacht
Coach: Willy Gerdsen

Waitakere United: 1. Pirmin Strasser (GK), 2. Scott Hilliar, 4. Ethan Galbraith, 5. Julyan Collett, 7. Stefen Thelen, 8. Rory Turner, 10. Eder Franchini Pasten, 12. Dan Morgan, 13. Ryan Cain, 15. Pascal Reinhardt, 17. Jake Butler, 20. Keegan Linderboom, 21. Reese Cox, 23. Jake Porter, 28. Liam Anderson (GK)
Coach: Chris Milicich


Few would bet against Auckland City and Team Wellington missing out on a place in the play-offs, which appears to leave Eastern Suburbs, Waitakere, Canterbury and Hawke’s Bay left to fight it out for the two remaining spots. Any match between that quartet is therefore going to have a huge bearing on the final shake-up so the importance of this clash to both sides’ post-season hopes cannot be overstated. A round ago, Waitakere were sitting pretty at the top of the table but the old adage that a week is a long time in football clearly holds some truth as they are now in fourth spot and the mood is somewhat different. The Waitakere players were left humiliated last weekend after losing grip on a two-nil lead to somehow ship seven unanswered goals to a rampant Wellington and will be determined to restore some pride with a positive performance in Christchurch. Canterbury safely negotiated the first part of a make-or-break period with a win over Hawke’s Bay last time out and will be looking for more of the same against fellow play-off rivals Waitakere and Suburbs over the next two rounds. It is again likely to be an emotionally-charged atmosphere at English Park after the mid-week funeral of All Whites legend Steve Sumner and the stress brought on by the fires in the Port Hills.


Canterbury United midfielder Sean Morris

Canterbury United coach Willy Gerdsen

Waitakere United coach Chris Milicich


Referee: C Kerr
Assistant Referees: R Preston, M Love
Fourth Official: H McCabe


Tasman United: 1. Coey Turipa (GK), 3. Luca Perico, 4. Cameron Lindsay, 7. Ryan Stewart, 8. Paul Ifill, 9. Ermal Hajdari, 10. Dylan Burns, 11. Alex Ridsdale, 12. Robbie Pearson, 13. Scott Gannon, 14. Sam Ayers, 16. Daniel Allan, 18. Claudio Amad, 19. Tinashe Marowa, 20. Marcel Kampman (GK), 21. Matt Tod-Smith, 23. Nicolas Abot
Coach: Davor Tavich

Eastern Suburbs: 12. Silvio Rodic (GK), 2. Hayden Johns, 7. Tim Payne, 8. Moses Dyer, 9. Sean Lovemore, 11. Armin Pasagic, 13. Jordan Vale, 14. Andrew Blake, 15. Henry Chikere, 17. Charl Compaan, 18. Tristan Prattley, 20. Derek Tieku, 22. Ross Langworthy, 24. Calvin Opperman, 25. Michael O’Keeffe (GK), 36. Fabien Kurimata
Coach: Malcolm McPherson


Pleasingly for stand-in coach Davor Tavich, the off-field drama at Tasman United has not had a negative impact on the team’s performances and they seem to have responded well since Tavich took the reins. The new man in charge led the South Islanders to a 1-0 win over Hamilton Wanderers – just their second victory of the season – in the previous round and they have now edged ahead of Southern United in the fight to avoid the wooden spoon. A visit by Eastern Suburbs is a very different proposition to the threat of struggling Hamilton though as the Aucklanders are currently enjoying a three-way share of the league lead. This is a second lengthy trip south for Suburbs after last week’s 1-0 win in Dunedin and a similar outcome would be significant as the three sides exerting the most pressure on their top-four status – Waitakere, Canterbury and Hawke’s Bay – all have testing challenges this weekend. The visitors will be boosted by the return of captain Tim Payne, who did not take part in the win over Southern.


Sam Ayers (Tasman United): “At halftime of the Hamilton game, we said we just needed to keep that clean sheet and if we did then we’d win the game. I think there were more comments about that after the game than there were about the win itself because that’s more or less been our downfall. With attacking and general play we feel like we’ve really competed but we’ve definitely been giving away soft goals.”


Eastern Suburbs coach Malcolm McPherson


Referee: A Riley
Assistant Referees: A Verolino, J Cowie
Fourth Official: C Berg


Southern United: 1. Josh Dijkstra (GK), 2. Conor O’Keeffe, 5. Stephen Last, 6. Danny Ledwith, 7. Eric Molloy, 8. Michael Hogan, 9. Harley Rodeka, 10. Danny Furlong, 11. Andy Mulligan, 12. Sam Cosgrave, 13. Hamish Cotter, 14. Ross Howard, 15. Andrew Ridden, 16. Tom Stevens, 21. Riley Anderton, Benjamin Wade
Coach: Paul O’Reilly

Team Wellington: 1. Scott Basalaj (GK), 2. Justin Gulley, 4. Guillermo Moretti, 5. Bill Robertson, 6. Taylor Schrijvers, 7. Leonardo Villa, 9. Tom Jackson, 10. Nathanael Hailemariam, 11. Mario Barcia, 15. Joel Stevens, 16. Ben Harris, 18. Nicolas Zambrano, 19. Josh Margetts, 21. Nico Kirwan, 22. James McPeake (GK)
Coach: Jose Figueira


It’s as tight as it gets at the top of the table right now with Auckland City, Team Wellington and Eastern Suburbs all tied on points in the race for the minor premiership. And with Auckland enjoying the double advantage of a game in hand and superior goal difference, the other challengers have little margin for error in the closing stages of the regular season. A match against the bottom-placed side is therefore not one in which points can be dropped so Wellington coach Jose Figueira will be targeting all three in the deep south. Southern have every reason to be wary as their mid-season spike in results now appears a distant memory and they are facing a side fresh from putting seven goals past Waitakere, who were in first place at the time. Interestingly, Southern actually have a slightly better defensive record than Wellington but it’s at the other end of the park where the difference lies with the men from the capital having scored 40 goals to Southern’s meagre 15. Danny Ledwith and Andy Mulligan are back from suspension for Southern but goalkeeper Liam Little is out with a back injury, leaving promising youngster Josh Dijkstra to deputise. It will be a homecoming for Wellington pair Tom Jackson and Joel Stevens, who have both previously starred for Southern.


Paul O’Reilly (Southern United): “We’ve poured over our matches and reckon there have been a lot of results that slipped away from us. Sure, we should have done better but our supporters realise that we have always opened up opposition defences and created chances – so we’re hoping we can hit the net more often in the remaining matches.”


Team Wellington captain Bill Robertson

Team Wellington coach Jose Figueira


Referee: J Rowbury
Assistant Referees: H Tutbury, M Batoor
Fourth Official: A Maharaj


Auckland City: 1. Enaut Zubikarai (GK), 4. Mario Bilen, 7. Reid Drake, 9. Darren White, 10. Ryan De Vries, 11. Fabrizio Tavano, 13. Alfie Rogers, 14. Clayton Lewis, 15. Mario Ilich, 17. Joao Moreira, 18. Danyon Drake (GK), 19. Micah Lea’alafa, 20. Emiliano Tade, 21. Harry Edge, 22. Abdulla Alkalisy, 23. Marko Dordevic
Coach: Ramon Tribulietx

Hamilton Wanderers: 1. Max Tommy (GK), 2. Liam Williams, 4. Aaron Scott 7. Jerahl Hughes, 8. Cory Mitchell, 11. Jordan Shaw, 13. Dylan Windust, 14. Riku Iwauchi, 15. Bailey Webster, 16. Sam O’Regan, 17. Paul Clout 18. Alexis Varela, 19. Stafford Dowling, 20. Kenta Nakashima, 21. Matt Oliver (GK), 22. Raymond Gunemba
Coach: Mark Cossey


After suffering a dip of form around their appearance at the Lunar New Year Cup in Hong Kong, it appeared as if Auckland’s overseas exploits may have had an adverse effect on their domestic prospects. But City have since dispelled any of those notions with a pair of important wins, over the Wellington Phoenix and Hamilton Wanderers respectively. They have scored seven goals across those two games and conceded none to return to the top of the table with a game in hand. Due to the rescheduled draw, Auckland now find themselves facing Wanderers for the second time in just a few days after their mid-week trip to Hamilton. Ramon Tribulietx and his side will be much more comfortable with that situation than Wanderers, who would rather not be facing a team of such high quality when they are still chasing their first win of the new year and could be dragged into the fight to avoid the wooden spoon with another loss.


Auckland City midfielder Ryan De Vries

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