• Hawke's Bay United footballers outplayed in season opener

Hawke's Bay United footballers outplayed in season opener

Hawke's Bay United were out muscled by a team with more desire and more passion in their New Zealand Football Championship opener today ... simple as that.

Thirsty Whale Hawke's Bay United co-coach Chris Greatholder agreed his troops were disappointing during their 3-0 loss to Hamilton Wanderers at Napier's Bluewater Stadium. He was quick to point out his squad had only trained together for three-and-a-half weeks while the Wanderers had been together for three months.

"We had so many injuries with our players after playing in their respective Winter Leagues. At the same time Wanderers were good. They would be the most physical side in the league ... but we will be better in a couple of weeks .

"It will be interesting to see how we go when we play them in the second round," Greatholder said.

"There were times today when our players lacked the right attitude and desire. Hamilton wanted it more," Greatholder added.

Hamilton finished the ISPS Handa Premiership first round clash with 18 shots on goal, 12 more than the hosts. Hamilton forced 10 corners while Hawke's Bay couldn't force any.

Hawke's Bay keeper Scott Morris made some good saves as the visitors were kept scoreless in the first half when they had eight shots on goal, five more than the Bay.

Joe Harris was unlucky to have a penalty shot from outside the box bounce off the right hand post in the 30th minute.

Former Hawke's Bay United midfielder Josh Signey scored the first of his two goals for Hamilton eight minutes into the second half. Two minutes later he had his second after more cohesive buildup and polished execution from the visitors.

With five minutes remaining Derek Tieku scored Wanderers final goal after classy buildup from fellow forward Tommy Semmy. Tieku and Semmy were always dangerous on attack.

Brock Messenger had a high defensive workrate for Hamilton.

Midfielder Hugo Delhommelle had a massive workrate for Hawke's Bay. When he retired with an ankle injury with 14 minutes remaining Hawke's Bay had to play with 10 players as they had used all their allocated substitutions.

Co-captain and defender Fergus Neil had some memorable patches. 

If Greatholder and his co-coach Bill Robertson need an example of teams which have bounced back from first round shockers like this they don't need to look far. They only need to remind their lads about the Hawke's Bay Magpies rugby team which lost their season opener to Southland but are now top of the table and on track to host a home semifinal and a final if the semifinal goes to plan.