• Hawke's Bay United footballers struggle at home

Hawke's Bay United footballers struggle at home

Hawke's Bay United co-coach Chris Greatholder had every right to question his troops hunger and desire after today's New Zealand Football championship loss to Canterbury United in Napier.

"They [Canterbury United] had bigger periods of domination after turning up with more desire and hunger," Greatholder said as he reflected on Thirsty Whale Hawke's Bay United's 3-0 loss at Bluewater Stadium.

"Individually we have got to be better. Not many of our players would have got better than 6 out of 10 today," Greatholder said.

He was spot on. Just as they were in their season opener, a 3-0 loss to Hamilton Wanderers, the hosts were outmuscled.

This defeat leaves Hawke's Bay United winless after four rounds in the ISPS Handa Premiership and without any points on the table.

"Perhaps we should play all of our games away," Greatholder quipped.

"We deserved some points from our away games during rounds two and three [2-1 losses to Team Wellington and Auckland City respectively] but we didn't deserve any points from our first and last games," Greatholder said.

Apart from forward Gavin Hoy the Hawke's Bay United players lacked the necessary levels of creativity on attack. The hosts had to wait until the 22nd minute for their first shot on goal while the Dragons had three during the first 15 minutes.

As he has throughout the season to date Hawke's Bay United keeper Scott Morris made some memorable saves during the scoreless first half. The Dragons finished the first spell with six shots on goal, two more than the Bay.

Former Hawke's Bay United forward Ihaia Delaney opened the scoring six minutes into the second half after collecting a nice cross from from former Hawke's Bay United midfielder Sean Liddicoat.

Fifteen minutes later outstanding Dragons striker Garbham Coughlan scored a superb goal. In the 26th minute Yuya Taguchi scored a goal which was almost as spectracular as Coughlan's. 

Along with Hoy, co-captain and defender Jim Hoyle, was prominent for the hosts. Midfielder Karan Mandair had a high defensive workrate but like the majority of his teammates needs to play with more authority on attack.

All of the Dragons deserve praise for their superior cohesion and better physicality levels displayed on the way to registering their first win of the season.

Greatholder pointed out his troops have learnt there are no easy games in this competition and it is time for them to take a serious look at where they want the season to take them. Needless to say points are a must from Saturday's away match against the Wellington Phoenix Reserves.