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Bugger the pollsters

Waitakere United 2, Tasman United 2
Trusts Stadium, Auckland, February 5 2017

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On Tuesday I was looking at the Stirling Sports Premiership draw for this weekend and wondering which game to attend. I couldn’t choose between Waitakere v Tasman close to home or the Eastern Suburbs v Team Wellington clash across town. So I turned to Twitter and ran a poll. And when the final results came in it was a clear and decisive result – 78% thought I should go to Bill McKinlay Park!

Why then, it is perfectly fair to ask, did I blithely ignore the will of the people and cover the action at Trusts instead? Two words – Destruction Gully.

Gina and I have been spending the last couple of weeks working our way through a book called ‘Walking the Waitakere Ranges’ – and not just reading it but putting its theories into practice! Having done walks labelled as “easy” and “moderate”, today we were curious about what makes a track “hard”.

So we picked one called ‘Destruction Gully’. The book said “You may feel as though this steep and remote track will be the destruction of you.” It wasn’t wrong. It was an hour of picking our way along a badly eroded path from the top of a ridge down to a remote bay. The last part of it wasn’t so much a track as a dodgy looking bit of rope to repel yourself down a steep rocky bank. Then we had another hour of clambering all the way back up again to where we started.

We survived it in one piece, but the reason I’m telling you all this is because we left it a bit late to head out there. The walk took about as long as the book said it would but we underestimated how long it would take to get to and from the far side of Little Huia where the track started. When we pulled into our driveway it was 2pm – the scheduled kick-off time of both Stirling Sports Premiership games.

So after a quick shower and change of clothes it was off to the closest game I could get to. And that’s my excuse.

I arrived at Trusts having missed the first half hour. Tasman were leading thanks to a Paul Ifill goal that every single person I ran into was raving about. Bugger! But at least I got to see three others go in.

The first of them came just after half time while I was still up in the stand looking at photos of the tramp, wondering if it had really happened! Tasman doubled their advantage thanks to an own goal and it was looking like a massive upset was on the cards with the foot of the table 2-0 up over first equal. There was a Tasman fan behind me who if his team hadn’t just scored I would have equated his scream with someone who was in the process of losing a limb! It was really something to behold…

But from that point on it was a case of wakey wakey Waitak as the home side worked hard to drag themselves back into the match. They got their initial breakthrough in the 55th minute with Scott Hilliar slamming one in from the edge of the area. Then it was the ever present threat of Keegan Linderboom who nabbed the equaliser with 17 minutes left in the 90.

Waitakere looked by far the more likely of the two sides to grab all three points with the Tasman defence stretched to breaking point as they struggled to secure the point that was the least they deserved for their hard afternoon’s toil.

Having said that, I’m not sure either team were particularly thrilled with the draw. Waitakere suffered the indignity of dropping points against lesser opposition while Tasman were unlucky not to get all three points out of a contest they had a two goal lead in at one stage.

I was happy though. The hour of the game I saw was most enjoyable and the only bummer was the stairs that lead from the pitch up to the Trusts Stadium carpark. I’d had quite enough hill climbing up until that point thank you very much!

Coffee machine watch: The winning number was 148. I had 134. This is getting ridiculous… And to make matters worse Jeremy, never touched a drop of coffee in his life, Ruane told me that he’d won it!! I seriously hope he was trolling me…

Categories: NZ Men's National League

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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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