• Hawke's Bay United's faint playoff hopes dashed

Hawke's Bay United's faint playoff hopes dashed

Oh the pain!

Any faint hopes Thirsty Whale Hawke's Bay United had of reaching the playoffs in the New Zealand Football Championship disappeared with yesterday's 11th round ISPS Handa Premiership 2-1 loss to Canterbury United in Christchurch. This defeat leaves the Bay side in seventh place on the points table with three games to play and five points adrift of the playoffs.

The hosts had the better start and led 1-0 after eight minutes. Despite calls for offside from the Hawke's Bay United defensive line Yuya Taguchi slotted the ball past Hawke's Bay United keeper Scott Morris after clever buildup from Lyle Matthyson and Garbham Coughlan.

"We had a slow start and after the Dragons scored we dominated for long periods but Canterbury retained their 1-0 lead until the halftime whistle," Hawke's Bay United co-coach and centre back Bill Robertson recalled today.

Hawke's Bay United equalised in the 65th minute when in-form midfielder Ahmad Othman managed to cross the ball past Dragons keeper Danny Knight.

Five minutes later Canterbury took the lead when substitute Edward Wilkinson put a low driven shot from 20 metres out past an out-stretched Morris.

"We were unlucky not to get some penalty calls and they are big moments which can change a game," Robertson lamented.

"Both Chris [co-coach Greatholder] and I (pictured left to right above) were reasonably happy with how we played. It was disappointing to be on the wrong side of the scoreline," Robertson explained.

He pointed out it was hard to single out individuals as all of the visiting squad performed well.

One positive was the fact there are no injury concerns as the Bay team looks ahead to next Sunday's 1pm clash against the Wellington Phoenix Reserves at Napier's Bluewater Stadium.