Takapuna AFC 4, Ngaruawahia United 1
Taharoto Park, Auckland, May 12 2012
Since my trip to Centennial Park in Ngaruawahia back in March, I have become something of a Ngara fan. I knew there was a danger of this happening when I went to see them play Mount Albert Ponsonby a few weeks ago. I didn’t go to blog the game, just to enjoy it. I didn’t take my camera because I wanted to be able to concentrate on the match, something you can’t really do when you are trying to get good pictures. Ngara won 3-0 and I found myself out of my seat many times, screaming my encouragement and yelling at the ref. You don’t choose to do these things – they just happen when a team chooses you. Ten minutes from the end of the match, 10 or so supporters who had travelled up from the Waikato for the game took their shirts off and twirled them in the air Phoenix style. That’s when I knew I was in love.
Fast forward to yesterday, the first round proper of the Chatham Cup. Ngaruawahia had drawn fellow Northern Division 1 opponents Takapuna AFC, who they would face away on Auckland’s North Shore. A tough assignment, especially considering the Green Machine lost 6-0 here in round 2 of the league. To make matters worse, Ngara were also handicapped by a couple of key injuries and their first choice goalkeeper, a recent acquisition from Melville United, being cup tied. They did however have their fresh new import – former Everton and England Under 18 star Steve Morrison. I had not seen Steve play before so was looking forward to a real treat there.
As it turned out, this one was a fairly uninspiring contest. Ngara took the early lead with a glancing header from Jason Chewins off a Morrison free kick. Takapuna managed to hit pretty much straight back at the other end, but aside from those two goals, neither side looked especially threatening in the first half, and despite the ground announcer trying to say it was 1-0 to Takapuna at the break, it had in fact remained 1-1. But the wheels fell off for the visitors in the second half and with one or two defensive lapses and some rather interesting goalkeeping, before we knew what had hit us, it was all over bar the shouting. 4-1 the final score.
So Ngaruawahia are out of the Cup and free to focus on the League. Perhaps not the end of the world for a young side, although they will be disappointed. They will bounce back, and as you have probably gathered, this will not be the last time I cover them this season so stay tuned for the next instalment.
Categories: NZ Chatham Cup
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.