A 95th minute winner has pushed Canterbury United to the top of the ASB Youth League as things got tight at the top after a number of dramatic finishes in Round 9 fixtures around the country over the weekend.
Sitting in third position after Round 8, Canterbury’s 3-2 win over WaiBOP United at Porritt Stadium in Hamilton on Sunday jumped the Dragons over both Team Wellington and Waitakere United into top spot.
The visitors held a 2-1 halftime advantage thanks to goals from Sho Mathieson and Ryan Stanley as Bailey Webster got the hosts on the board right on the stroke of halftime.
Neither side could add to their tally until second half stoppage time as Nathan Kinney struck what he – and the rest of the WaiBOP side – would have thought was the goal which would net the hosts a point in the fourth minute of added time.
But, less than a minute later, Aaron Spain popped up to find the dramatic winner for the 3-2 victory and the three points which put his side on 20 points from their nine outings.
Canterbury’s position is thanks in part to another dramatic finish, this time in Auckland as Waitakere United and Auckland United took a point each from a 1-1 draw at Ngahue Reserve on Saturday.
Leaders going into the round, Waitakere United were 1-0 up in the 41st minute thanks to a Judd Baker strike and that looked like being enough to retain top spot until a 90th minute equaliser from Adam Barkley.
The result leaves Waitakere a point behind Canterbury with both sides having claimed six wins from their nine games.
Team Wellington occupy third place, a point further back – and also with six wins from nine games – but suffered a thumping 7-0 defeat by Auckland City at David Farrington Park in Wellington.
The visitors were four goals to the good by halftime courtesy of a Myer Bevan hat-trick inside six minutes and a strike from Nicolas Zambrano. Second half goals from Zambrano and Maro Bonsu-Maro (2) completed the rout, pushing Auckland City into fourth place on 16 points.
Auckland City FC’s Myer Bevan. Photo by www.photosport.nz
Leaders after Round 4, Southern United now sit in fifth place following Saturday’s 3-3 draw with bottom side Hawke’s Bay United at Petane Domain in Napier.
The hosts again seemed set for the first win of the season as a Fane Morgan double and a first half goal from Kyle King had them 3-2 ahead entering stoppage time.
But Keegan Taig’s goal in the second minute of added time, added to earlier scoring contributions from Lewis Jackson and Ben Kiore, saw the teams take a point each.
Manawatu United jumped two places to eighth courtesy of Sunday’s 1-0 win over defending champions Nelson Marlborough Falcons at Memorial Park in Palmerston North – Harrison Woolley’s 89th minute strike proving the difference.
Completing the Round 9 fixtures, Wellington Phoenix dropped one place to 10th after a 1-1 draw with Heartland Wairarapa at Memorial Park in Petone on Saturday.
Merlin Luke-Miny’s 76th minute strike seemed set to give the Phoenix their third victory of the season but an 85th minute leveller from Tim Fenton rescued a point for Heartland.
The competition continues on Wednesday with the re-scheduled Round 11 meeting between the Wellington Phoenix and Team Wellington at Newtown Park at 6pm while the penultimate Round 10 fixtures takes place over the weekend of December 12-13.
ASB Youth League – Round 9
Waitakere Utd 1-1 Auckland Utd (half: 1-0)
WU: Judd Baker 41’
AU: Adam Barkley 90’
Hawke’s Bay Utd 3-3 Southern Utd (half: 2-2)
HB: Kyle King 15’, Fane Morgan 28’, 53’
SU: Lewis Jackson 20’, Ben Kiore 43’, Keegan Taig 90+2’
Wellington Phoenix 1-1 Heartland Wairarapa (half: 0-0)
WP: Merlin Luke-Miny 76’
HW: Tim Fenton 85’
Team Wellington 0-7 Auckland City FC (half: 0-4)
AC: Myer Bevan 29’, 34’, 35’, Nicolas Zambrano 44’, 71’, Maro Bonsu-Maro 79’, 90’
WaiBOP Utd 2-3 Canterbury Utd (half: 1-2)
WB: Bailey Webster 45’, Nathan Kinney 90+4’
CU: Sho Mathieson 8’, Ryan Stanley 29’, Aaron Spain 90+5’
Manawatu Utd 1-0 Nelson Marlborough Falcons (half: 0-0)
MU: Harrison Woolley 89’