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Saint Freddy’s Day

Waitakere City 2, Hamilton Wanderers 4
Fred Taylor Park, Auckland, April 27 2015

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Wait, what? Did I just write what I thought I just wrote? Hang on, let me take another swig of coffee and make sure I’m really awake and that the last few hours weren’t actually a hallucination…

Waitakere City 2, Hamilton Wanderers 4
Fred Taylor Park, Auckland, April 27 2015

No, I think it really happened!

Waitakere City 2, Hamilton Wanderers 4
Fred Taylor Park, Auckland, April 27 2015

Wow, right? That being the case it’s definitely worth saying it again…

Waitakere City 2, Hamilton Wanderers 4
Fred Taylor Park, Auckland, April 27 2015

One more time???? Nah, that would probably be going overboard.

So it turns out it is possible for a Waikato football team to win at Fred Taylor Park!

I’m touching wood right now. I mean, as I have angsted before in situations like this, it’s still technically possible that some kind of administrative error could have occurred, Wanderers could have fielded an unregistered player, or there may well be some other means that hasn’t even been invented yet of overturning the result. I’ve watched far too many action movies where you think the bad guy is dead, but then he somehow manages to drag himself away from the light and summons up the energy to send one more bullet the hero’s way…

But right at this second, this moment in time, this glorious occasion which will henceforth be forever known in my head as Saint Freddy’s Day, Hamilton Wanderers have managed to do what no other Waikato team has managed to do – win a game at the citadel of Waitakere football with me in attendance.

How did it occur?

Well, basically, they did it by being head and shoulders the better side in my completely unbiased red, yellow and black eye patch wearing opinion. Waitakere’s line-up looked short on experience and Wanderers table topping line-up simply oozed class even if they didn’t always live up to their billing. It didn’t bother me too much when they went a goal down early in the first half courtesy of Waitakere number 6 Andrew Setefano. They had won the toss and elected to play into a pretty strong breeze which Waitakere was using to good effect to dominate possession and apply some relentless pressure.

But Wanderers were still managing to assert a bit of their own say on procedings despite the tricky conditions and with a bit of composure they always looked likely to at least remain competitive. After a bit of ebb and flow as the half wore on, the Hamiltonians slowly built momentum until Mark Jones struck the equaliser, and I had barely finished tweeting my update when Wade Moloney snatched another right on the 45 minute mark for a deserved 2-1 half time lead.

The second half started off a bit flat with the first 25 minutes of it passing largely uneventfully until a moment of controversy shattered the peace! A Waitakere corner found a Wanderers player in the box causing Waitak players and bench to fly into an uproar calling for hand ball. Wanderers insisted it had come off the player’s chest and play continued for a good while with the Wanderers faithful thinking they had gotten away with it. But the Waitakere protests continued at high volume until the ref stopped play and trotted over to have a chat with his assistant on the far touchline. After a bit of a conflab he then headed back towards the Wanderers goal and pointed to the spot. Pablo Santiago made no mistake and just like that the scores were level.

It was at that point that I gave serious consideration to not writing a match report for this game and instead simply posting a Peanuts cartoon in its place.

But that proved unnecessary because instead of lying down or choking like every other Waikato team I’ve watched play here, this Wanderers side said “no”. “Not us”. Just five minutes after the penalty call Wade Moloney had seized back the lead, and just 4 minutes after that Mark Jones put the result beyond doubt with a spectacular bicycle kick at the end of a long throw.

Halleluiah! Now they just have to do the same thing at Kiwitea Street.

Categories: NZ Northern Men's Premier

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here: https://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/

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