First victory for Hawke's Bay United footballers
Hawke's Bay United footballer Jesse Randall got the winning farewell he was after today.
The 19-year-old forward, who was playing his final match for Thirsty Whale Hawke's Bay United before heading to the United States to begin a four-year scholarship with Northern Kentucky University, scored both of their goals in a 2-0 victory against Waitakere United in a sixth round New Zealand Football Championship clash at Napier's Bluewater Stadium.
"Today was mainly about getting the win and points on the board," Randall said referring to the fact it was the hosts first win in the ISPS Handa Premiership this season.
"But it is good to be leaving on a high note. The desire was there and everyone was working hard for each other ... we stuck to our game plan," added Randall who hasn't ruled out a return to the Bay in future.
Hawke's Bay United co-coach Chris Greatholder was equally as delighted and relieved as Randall.
"It's definitely a nice feeling," Greatholder said.
His troops will have a fortnight off before resuming training in the week before the January 10 away match against Eastern Suburbs. Greatholder said all of his players will have conditioning programmes to follow while on holiday.
"We don't want to lose this momentum and we want to have a go during the second half of the season ... there's plenty of excitement within the camp."
It was the hosts most cohesive effort of the season. The necessary levels of intensity were evident throughout and Greatholder was spot on when he said his lads could easily have had five or six goals.
Hawke's Bay United finished with 11 shots on goal, three less than Waitakere United. The hosts forced seven corners, one less than the visitors.
Randall scored his first goal in the 11th minute after some superb team work. His second came in the 40th minute when he put the ball over the head of Waitakere United keeper Nicholas Ross Draper after receiving a clever pass from fellow busy forward Jorge Akers.
Once again Hawke's Bay United keeper Scott Morris made numerous memorable saves. His main defenders Bill Robertson, James Hoyle and Kaeden Atkins resembled a concrete wall throughout. Roving defender Fergus Neil shone with his workrate and composure.
Midfielder Karan Mandair had his best display of the season.
Canadian forward Gavin Hoy, who was benched the previous week, showed he didn't want to be benched again in a hurry and emptied the tank in hot conditions before given a well deserved rest 31 minutes into the second spell.
Busy forward Alexander Greive was the pick of the Waitakere United players.