East Coast Bays 2, Waiuku 0
Bay City Park, Auckland, June 27 2015
Waiuku literally means ‘water and mud’. The place got its name from a Maori princess who was courted by two men named Tamakae and Tamakou. Tamakae was essentially a farmer, whereas Tamakou was a flashy orator. The story goes that in order to go see the princess after tending the crops, Tamakae first needed to wash himself clean in the wai (water) and uku (mud) of the river that runs through what is now the town of Waiuku. Needless to say it was Tamakae who won the princess’s affections. Rustic charm won out over flashiness that day!
Fast forward to 2015, and Waiuku Association Football Club might well have taken a little bit of inspiration from that story yesterday as they faced a stiff challenge in the round of 32 of the Chatham Cup…
East Coast Bays are just about as flashy as you can get in the realm of New Zealand regional football. They were champions of the Northern League two seasons ago and they boast a number of Junior All Whites who have just returned to the club and will be bursting with confidence from their inspirational campaign at the Under 20 World Cup. Their facilities are up there with the best and their resources are relatively plentiful. We’ll call them ‘the haves’.
Meanwhile, way down in deepest South Auckland (or North Waikato as I prefer to think of it), you could definitely be justified in calling Waiuku, freshly promoted (somewhat unexpectedly) to division 1 in 2015, the ‘have nots’. Their facilities are basic and their resources are scarce. This point is pretty effectively illustrated by one of the New Zealand football tweets of the season to date. It came ahead of Waiuku’s last Chatham Cup tie, a major upset victory against another Premier Division glamour club Waitakere City:
They may have managed to upset Auckland football royalty in the last round on the cow paddock at their place, but yesterday was a whole other fox hunt. As they inspected the near billiard table at Bay City Park ahead of this tie they were probably thinking “we’re not in Kansas anymore Toto…”
So how do you approach a game like this? Put ten men behind the ball, defend like your lives depend on it and hope to nick something at some point? Or do you take it to them, happy in the mind-set that the best form of defence is attack? There’s no easy answer – I certainly respect both strategies.
I’m not sure if Waiuku was adopting the park the bus modus operandi in the first half or if they were simply overwhelmed by the East Coast Bays onslaught but the net result was similar. They spent the vast bulk of the first 45 minutes camped out in their own third as wave after wave of East Coast Bays attack bore down on them. Fortunately though, the Bays strikers seemed to have left their shooting boots at home as time after time they squandered many a golden opportunity to take the lead. Somehow (don’t ask me how) we got to the break with the scores still locked at 0-0.
I’m not sure if either coach was very happy going into the sheds even though I thought both had good reason to be! Bays coach Willy Gerdsen had a face like thunder as he marched towards the tunnel but his side were thoroughly dominant and just needed to keep their composure – if nothing else changed it was obvious they would win eventually…
Waiuku should have fancied their chances though, because if they could keep the game scoreless for a little bit longer the chances were that Bays would start losing that all important composure and this could have led to openings. The next ten minutes were especially crucial…
And indeed it was inside that first ten minutes of the second half that the game was effectively decided by a Dylan Stansfield header that gave the home side the lead.
After that, with nothing to lose, and possibly Bays buttoning off a little, Waiuku went on the attack a bit more and it almost got them an equaliser on a few occasions. The most notable example was a Cody Ralph bullet that drew a top class fingertip save out of Bays keeper Alex Carr. But a few minutes from the end all further doubt was removed from the contest via a Judd Baker goal.
The verdict? East Coast Bays just had that little bit too much class for their opponents from the division below them and half a world away. But hey, guess what? Waiuku scrub up pretty good too.
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.