• Hawke's Bay United footballer eyes winning farewell

Hawke's Bay United footballer eyes winning farewell

After five rounds in the New Zealand Football Championship Jesse Randall remains Hawke's Bay United's sole goal scorer.

Naturally the 18-year-old forward would be happy to be joined by more goal scorers if it meant Thirsty Whale Hawke's Bay United could secure their first win of the season when they host Waitakere United in a sixth round ISPS Handa Premiership clash at Bluewater Stadium on Sunday.

"We really want to push on as a group. We were really unlucky against Team Wellington and Auckland City [both 2-1 defeats] ... we deserved more than we got in those games," Randall recalled after tonight's training session.

"Hopefully this weekend we get a result we deserve," Randall said.

The 2019 New Zealand under-17 World Cup player has an extra incentive to help the hosts win this weekend. It will more than likely be his last outing for the side before heading to the United States to begin a four-year stint at Northern Kentucky University.

"Obviously with the Covid-19 pandemic there is a lot of uncertainty. But everything going to plan this will be my last game for the Bay before going," Randall said.

A Rongotai College old boy like one of his idols, former All White Wynton Rufer, Randall, believes the United States experience will enhance his chances of New Zealand under-20 team selection next year and All Whites selection in the future. Those goals were among the main reasons the North Wellington Central League player opted to play for Hawke's Bay United this season.

"While results haven't gone our way I have learnt a lot and it has been good to play alongside quality players," Randall said.

It's fair to suggest quality is plastered throughout his footballing CV. He was the top goal scorer at the Napier City Rovers Labour Weekend Youth tournament with 18 from eight outings for the North Wellington under-19 side. He also picked up the awards for the best footballer and best futsal player at the Wellington Secondary Schools Sports Awards this year.

Like his Hawke's Bay United teammates, Randall, has had a good look at footage of Waitakere United matches this season.

"But at the same time it's important we don't worry too much about what they will do. It's important we put in the hard work and stick to our game plan," Randall added.    

Hawke's Bay United co-coach and centre back Bill Robertson said a lot of reflecting has gone down following last weekend's fifth round 3-0 loss to the Wellington Phoenix Reserves at Lower Hutt.

"We dominated so many statistics from the match, 18 corners to one, 24 crosses to seven and 23 shots on goal to 15. But the most important aspect of the game is putting the ball in the back of the net and while we couldn't do that we were getting punished at the other end," Robertson explained.

"While we have been unlucky we have been performing well and we are still confident about the processes we are following. We just have to turn that into results," Robertson added.

Sunday's game will be Hawke's Bay United's final outing before a January 10 seventh round away clash against Eastern Suburbs.

The full Hawke's Bay United squad for Sunday's 1pm match:

Scott Morris, Jim Hoyle (co-captain), Jackson Woods, Kaeden Atkins, Cory Vickers, Jesse Randall, Karan Mandair, James Mack III, Gavin Hoy, Kailan Gould, Sam Pickering, Ahmad Othman, Jarrod McKechnie, Fergus Neil (co-captain), Bill Robertson, Jorge Akers, Oscar Mason.