MPL – Late winner at Avonhead Park

On the 7th of April Coastal travelled out to Avonhead Park to play the notoriously young and vibrant FC Twenty 2011 in theMainland Premier League.

With us in 4th position on 7 points and FC 5th on 6 points, a win for us would create a
top and bottom four table similar to last season.

Although I’m not surprised at all, there seems to be some shock around how good FC are doing this season. After losing a few of their young talented players it was predictable they had even younger quality youth players to replace them.

After not creating enough chances against Bays or Tech, rather than try to bully FC and win ugly, we went out to actually try and play high risk football, playing out from the back and kept the ball on the ground so we could get our wide players in behind them.

After a couple early minutes of bloopers and half chances for FC, I think we played some of the best football we have all season. We only looked vulnerable when we gave the ball away in dangerous areas.

In the first 25 minutes I was seeing some brilliant combination play around the top of FC’s box, some good one-twos and we were getting deadly crosses coming in from Haris and JJ on the wings.

After creating a half a dozen half chances in the first 30 minutes we finally scored a goal only for it to be NARROWLY offside and disallowed. That’s two in two games for us. After the disallowed goal we started to take our throttle off and once FC had another good chance you could see the game was changing slightly.

Going in at halftime 0-0 I was okay with the performance. Stats are out we had 75% possession in the first half. Although at times FC allowed us to have the ball, that’s still a form of domination.

The game continued similar to the first half however after every few attacks from us, FC would create an opportunity on the counter. The more we chased our goal the more vulnerable we were to being countered, the game was really starting to open up and could go either way.

Haris was looking very sharp and must have created four good chances from his dribbling but we just lacked some end product. I think Claudio made a good difference when he came on and Jacob was playing superbly considering it was his first game for us and against his previous club.

It wasn’t until the 80th or so minute that we got our break through. After having three corners and a few free kicks we managed to get a scrappy goal. A brilliant ball in from Claudio started pinging around the box and an FC clearance bounced off Haris and into the goal.

We then showed some brilliant maturity and game management to see the game out, which was most pleasing for me.

After the game there was alot of talk about how we got lucky… Yes the goal was a strange one but it’s not like Haris didn’t deserve a goal for all the chances he created. I think it’s obvious we deserved a goal and if it comes in a strange way then so be it.

Nice for us to get another clean sheet. Take away the Selwyn game and we have only conceded 1 goal this season. Liam Gerathy was thrown in the deep end having to play fullback. A position he’s never played, I think he did very well considering. Avery turned over alot of ball but for me Haris and Jacob were brilliant. My assistant Matt gave the Man of the match to Jacob.

This weekend we play a VERY strong Nelson team. They are scoring very freely this season and it will be a mouth-watering test to see if our defence can keep out their attack. I have a feeling the game will be at English Park at 12pm.

We sit just 1 point off the top spot so a win this weekend certainly makes us title challengers. Be there or be square.