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Coasting to victory

Metro FC 1, Hibiscus Coast 6
Phyllis Street, Auckland, April 18 2014

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YAY EASTER!!! It always comes at such a great time. After a good, long, tranquil Christmas break when you get used to putting your feet up without any responsibility to go out and toil for a living, you go back to work rested and relaxed. Then, just when the daily grind starts kicking in and you have almost forgotten how nice it was to not have to set your alarm clock, along comes Easter at just the right time to refresh your memory of those lazy days and recharge the batteries once again before the long slog through winter.

But waste Easter by lying around the whole time, I will not! Because what better way to fritter away a holiday than by filling it with sport? You can’t think of one, can you? Of course you can’t. That’s why I will be going to football games on three of the four days of Easter weekend, and blogging about them. The other day, Easter Sunday, is of course hallowed and steeped in religious significance so it just wouldn’t do to go to football on that holiest of days. Which is why I plan to go to a netball game instead! More on that then. But for now, it’s NRFL time!

Good Friday saw a range of different options to choose from and to be honest, I didn’t decide where to go until about an hour before kickoff. The other main contender, the big North Shore derby at McFetridge Park between Glenfield and Birkenhead, was quite alluring but the pangs of guilt that I have totally neglected division one so far this season won out and I headed over to Phyllis Street to check out this interesting little tussle. And believe me, it was much more intriguing than the scoreline suggests.

Open and attacking for much of the encounter, the sides initially took turns to look the stronger of the two. Metro enjoyed the brighter start, looking comfortable in possession and patiently advancing towards their opponents’ goal. But having said that, when Hibiscus Coast got the ball they looked dangerous, launching sporadic attacks down the left flank trying to exploit the wing that the talented and experienced Metro left back Ian Hogg wasn’t on. They rattled the woodwork at one point from a Dan Bungard shot, and then they looked to have nicked the lead when Trent Mayes rounded the keeper, but alas he could only brush the far post with an open net in front of him.

It was still marginally against the run of play when Coast finally grabbed the advantage via a powerful Tom Dale drive from front and centre. Their lead was short lived though as down the other end Arnold Kochasira restored the equilibrium with a goal that I was too busy tweeting the last one to see exactly what happened.

Unfortunately for the home side, rather than their equaliser seizing the momentum back, it seemed rather to spur Hibiscus Coast on to lift their game some more. They stepped up the pressure and took their turn dominating possession and pushing forward. Said pressure eventually told with about half an hour gone in the first half when Tom Dale slotted his second, and again just before half time when James Lawson made it 3-1 at the break with the Metro defence getting quite animated with each other in their post-mortem…

It didn’t get any better for Metro in the second half either, despite them throwing themselves at the task initially. Hibiscus Coast still looked strong on the counter but they very nearly let their opponents back into the game, keeper John Fletcher’s cat like reflexes saving the day by remarkably just tipping a Metro shot around the post with the end of his toe – if his boots had been one size smaller… But they weren’t, and after the resulting corner was dealt with the ball found its way back up the other end and dispatched by Paul Langford to make it 4-1, effectively killing Metro off once and for all.

It was downhill a bit from there with a bit of ping-pong backwards and forwards before we were ultimately treated to a couple of peaches of goals as Hibiscus Coast started to let loose and enjoy themselves. Firstly Trent Mayes, unmarked, took his chances from long range, well outside the penalty area towards the left, smashing it across the face of goal and into the top right hand corner past the outstretched hand of keeper Dave Self. Then it was a case of anything Hayes could do, Ben Jones could do at least equally as well. Also unmarked from a similar position, he let rip with a curling shot that dipped just in time to sneak under the bar and complete the rort – Metro 1, Hibiscus Coast 6.

The win puts the coasters right in amongst it in the hunt for promotion to the premier league. Back to the drawing board for Metro meanwhile, who also suffered a heavy defeat last week at the hands of Mount Albert Ponsonby after some promising looking scores against strong teams in the first two rounds. Their squad is capable of better than this so it will be interesting to see how they react in the coming weeks.

Categories: NZ Northern Men's Division 1

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

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