Lower Hutt City spoil Rovers footballers party
There was sufficient motivational ammunition for Napier City Rovers Central League football side to cause an upset yesterday.
Captain and defender Jim Hoyle (pictured above) was playing his 100th Central League match for the seventh-placed Blues when they took on third-placed Lower Hutt City in a 14th round clash at Napier's Bluewater Stadium. Yesterday was also Thirsty Whale Napier City Rovers assistant coach and reserve goalkeeper Jonathan Gould's 53rd birthday.
Lower Hutt City spoilt the party with a convincing 5-1 victory. Hoyle, 27, who first played for Rovers in 2015 after arriving in the Bay from England, agreed the hosts lacked quality on attack.
"They had a lot and put us under pressure. It's a tough league and the Lower Hutt boys are flying."
A two-time Central League title winner with Rovers, Hoyle, admitted the Blues were too one dimensional and kept going long when they shouldn't have. He also agreed the pressure has intensified in Rovers quest to finish in the top four and secure a berth in next summer's new-look National League.
"We've got to win every game now to give us a chance. But if we don't do that we still have to conduct ourselves in a manner which gives ourselves a chance to compete," Hoyle explained.
The Lower Hutt side included forward Kaelin Nguyen who played for Rovers as a loan player up until their previous match a fortnight ago. He took the field as a 67th-minute substitute.
Lower Hutt led 2-0 at halftime. Forward George Ott opened the scoring with a 37th-minute header from a corner.
In the 48th minute former Hawke's Bay United forward Manyumow Achol provided a quality assist for fellow forward Noah Karunaratne to slot into the back of the net.
Former Hawke's Bay United midfielder Luis Toomey scored Lower Hutt's third goal in the 64th minute. Forward Oskar Van Hattum extended the visitors lead with his 76th-minute goal.
Substitute midfielder Luke Minshull scored Rovers only goal in the 85th minute. This was his first goal for the Blues.
Achol scored the final goal of the match in the 87th minute. His team had 12 shots on goal, four more than Rovers.
The hosts forced eight corners, one more than Lower Hutt. Although the bulk of the Lower Hutt side are under 22 they have all had at least three seasons of Central League play.
It was easy to see why they are all considered future Phoenix seniors or Phoenix reserves players as they were too slick for the Blues. Rovers host Wairarapa United next Sunday and the equation is simple ... it's a must-win encounter or the top-four quest ends.