MPL – Bouncing back after a loss
After the Tech loss it was important for us to bounce back against Uni at Ilam Park to chase 2nd spot in the MPL.
With Tech playing against Bays we felt this 3 points was that little bit more important.
I dont care what people think about Uni this season or how they have gone against other top four teams this year. This fixture last season is where we threw our title hopes away and started our run of doom slipping up to a 2 all draw. A game that Aaran Spain scored the best goal I have ever seen in real life but also a game I like to forget.
We started this match like we were running out of time. Going back to our formation we had been training all preseason it was very pleasing to see our boys adapt so suddenly as we looked very organised and started to threaten Uni ealry on.
After getting chance after chance and 30 minutes gone you could slowly see fans and players starting to get a bit fidgety as to why we hadn’t scored yet. Uni are a difficult side to score against, especially the first goal. Many times they had 10 players in their own 18 yard box and I think even Pro teams would struggle to break the deadlock.
Our relief come when Rhys surged into the box and was brought down. There was no surprise Macca cooly slotted the penalty home with the rate hes scoring. I think that penalty was so crucial!! We could now relax, and draw Uni out of their shell if they wanted to get something out of the game.
Going into halftime 1-0 there were certainly a few teething problems that we could brush up on. I am so proud of the culture we have in our group this season with players really chipping in with detail and the halftime discussions we have. More importantly, what we talk about in the changing rooms we ACTUALLY then see on the pitch.
The 2nd half was a big improvement. Louie made a great run forward as he does and Rhys found him nicely. Louie’s touch and composure ensured he found our predator Macca on the penalty spot to hit another one home. 2-0 Coastal.
Our next two goals were scored by who else but the DOMinator. Some brilliant deliveries by Jacob Richards should also be mentioned. On this day Dom had now scored 6 goals in 10 games. He admits its his best run but I dont see much changing. Its very fulfilling to see the big man I signed enjoying himself so much at this club. So happy for him and I want to thank the club and fans for making him feel so welcome.
Although a much weaker opposition I think the boys played well in our new formation. I think Jacob is better suited as a Wingback and he played his best 45 minutes for us to date which was good to see. We welcomed Treye back from NZ secondary schools who got on for the last 10 minutes and also Liam G played a full 90 minutes which I liked.
Looking at the stats from that game there was a player that went under the radar and broke some passing records for the season. Tristan Nicol made 88 passes with a 90% success rate. Most of these passes were forwards and over 10m. He also won 10 out of 11 aerial challenges and 80% of his tackles. Although Macca and Dom got braces, and Rhys had his best game for us this season, I think Tristan really deserves the player of the day. Its great for us to have so many quality CBs at the club which allows him to play in a position he loves and is good at.
So the 3 points is in the bag and it takes us to 3rd just one point behind Bays who are second. We play them in our next MPL game to win our shield back so obviously a pivotal game if we want to get the highest finish in our young clubs history being 2nd.
Next week its cup football as we take on Waimak at home in the Chatham cup, See you there,