Check out what’s coming up in the Stirling Sports Premiership this weekend with the official preview of Round 17. The match televised live on SKY Sport is Hamilton Wanderers’ clash with Wellington Phoenix U-20 at Links Avenue in Mount Maunganui on Sunday.
Referee: J Rowbury
Assistant Referees: E Cook, A Davenport
Fourth Official: R Fleetham
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, 12. Andy Bevin, 14. Billy Scott, 15. Joel Stevens, 16. Ben Harris, 18. Nicolas Zambrano, 19. Josh Margetts, 21. Nico Kirwan, 22. James McPeake (GK)
Coach: Jose Figueira
Tasman United: 1. Coey Turipa (GK), 3. Luca Perico, 4. Cameron Lindsay, 8. Paul Ifill, 9. Ermal Hajdari, 10. Dylan Burns, 11. Alex Ridsdale, 12. Robbie Pearson, 14. Sam Ayers, 16. Daniel Allan, 18. David Maisey, 19. Tinashe Marowa, 20. Marcel Kampman (GK), 21. Matt Tod-Smith, 22. Claudio Amad, 23. Nicolas Abot
Coach: Davor Tavich
With the minor premiership having been wrapped up by Auckland City, Team Wellington’s focus has now turned to lifting the major trophy. But they can’t afford to take their eye off the ball in the regular season just yet as they are actually yet to officially secure their play-off place. The only sides to have done so are Auckland and Waitakere United and, while the men from the capital seem likely to join them, there is a possibility they could still miss out. If they fail to take any points from their remaining two matches and Hawke’s Bay United win their last game, the Bay would move head of Wellington into third and Jose Figueira’s side would then be left locked on points with Eastern Suburbs – which would see them eliminated based on Suburbs’ superior head-to-head record. Wellington will therefore be keen to secure their spot this weekend by avoiding an upset against Tasman United, especially as their final fixture is a tough trip to Canterbury United. Tasman have not taken the field for the past fortnight and will be itching to get back out there to follow up their shock 2-1 win over Suburbs, which made it back-to-back victories for the first time this season. Wellington will likewise be on a high after making the semi-finals of the OFC Champions League during a successful sojourn to New Caledonia.
Davor Tavich (Tasman United): “We can’t give them too much respect, although they’re good footballers and have scored tonnes of goals. But we have a very mobile, creative midfield and dangerous front three ourselves. We’re not going just to compete, we’re going to win the game.”
Referee: C Kerr
Assistant Referees: S Merriman, H Tutbury
Fourth Official: A-M Keighley
Hamilton Wanderers: 21. Matt Oliver (GK), 2. Liam Williams, 3. Adam Luque, 4. Aaron Scott, 7. Jerahl Hughes, 8. Cory Mitchell, 9. Ignacio Machuca, 10. Jama Boss, 11. Jordan Shaw, 12. Raheem Hunter-Ali, 14. Riku Iwauchi, 16. Sam O’Regan, 17. Paul Clout, 19. Stafford Dowling, 23. Quinton Kipara
Coach: Mark Cossey
Wellington Phoenix U-20: 20. Lewis Italiano (GK), 5. Ryan Lowry, 10. Michael McGlinchey, 15. James McGarry, 23. Matthew Ridenton, 24. Logan Rogerson, 25. Sarpreet Singh, 26. Jack Henry-Sinclair, 29. Liam Wood, 30. Oliver Sail (GK), 31. Sam Philip, 32. Jake Williams, 37. Liberato Cacace, 38. Ruairi Cahill-Fleury, 41. Willem Ebbinge
Coach: Andy Hedge
Both these sides have long been out of the top-four running but there is still much to play for in this fixture. It’s the last bout of action for the Phoenix U-20s and is therefore the players’ final chance to press their claims to progress through the ranks of the country’s only professional club in a competitive game situation for some time. Wanderers meanwhile will be keen to put on a show for the people of Mount Maunganui as this is their only game at Links Avenue this season. In addition to what the hosts hope will be a healthy home crowd, the Sky Sport cameras will also be in attendance so it’s an ideal stage for Wanderers to finally pick up their first win of 2017. They last tasted victory back in mid-December with a remarkable 6-4 triumph over Hawke’s Bay and their most positive outcome since then has been a 1-1 draw with Canterbury in Round 14. They are only six points off the seventh-placed Phoenix though and have a game in hand so will be aiming to draw level with the youngsters by winning their remaining two matches. As further motivation, Hamilton have a real score to settle with the Phoenix after being thumped 4-0 by them in the sides’ previous meeting.
Andy Hedge (Wellington Phoenix U-20): “We’re looking forward to our last game of the season and have again challenged the players to go out and put a performance on, especially as we’re on TV again. I don’t think they’ve done themselves justice over the last few weeks, although last week was a lot better. We obviously have to balance up what the first team requirements are and they’re not playing this weekend so I’m sure we’ll get a few players down from that. It will certainly be an opportunity for some of the players to stake their claim, whether they’re coming down from the first team and want to play in the A-League the week after or it’s the youngsters who are hoping to push on into potential professional contracts in the next six months.”
Wellington Phoenix U-20 coach Andy Hedge