Schofield shines as Napier City Rovers remain unbeaten
Crikey ... imagine what could have happened if Napier City Rovers football team's midfielder Liam Schofield was available for Hawke's Bay United during the summer.
Englishman Schofield, 27, was a classy contributor as Thirsty Whale Napier City Rovers pipped North Wellington 5-4 at Napier's Bluewater Stadium today to remain unbeaten after two rounds in the Central League.
He scored the hosts first two goals from penalty kicks, always took the right option on attack and was tenacious on defence. Schofield (pictured abve) agreed having a break during the summer has definitely worked in his favour.
"I've come back refreshed."
Fortunately when Schofield missed his first penalty attempt in the 10th minute after fellow midfielder Luke Minshull was brought down in the box he was given a second crack which he didn't miss after North Wellington keeper Sacha Nathu came off the line.
"I've been taking penalty kicks since I was seven or eight and that was only the second one I've missed," Schofield explained.
"But overall it was a good game and that was a big scalp for us. All of the players have bought into what we are trying to achieve. We are playing with tempo and intensity ... this is going to be a big year for us."
"We have to stay positive, take things game by game and work for each other,' Schofield said.
"It was great to have so many fans here creating a great atmosphere. They were our 12th man," Schofield added.
He succeeded with another penalty kick in the 18th minute after busy forward Zac Madsen was brought down in the box. North Wellington opened their account when Cameron McKenzie slotted the ball high into the net in the 22nd minute.
Experienced Rovers striker Josh Stevenson gave the hosts a 3-1 lead in the 35th minute when he slipped the ball wide of Nathu. Seven minutes later Madsen made it 4-1 with a spectacular shot int the top right hand corner of the net.
Former Rovers and Hawke's Bay United workaholic Gavin Hoy kept North Wellington in the hunt when he succeeded with a free kick seconds from the halftime whistle.
Another of North Wellington's Hawke's Bay United players from last summer, visiting captain Cory Vickers, scored a soft goal for the visitors four minutes into the second half.
Seventeen minutes later North Wellington tied the score at 4-all when Maximilian Batchelor slotted in a penalty kick after Noah Tipene-Clegg was brought down in the box.
Former Tasman forward Benjamin Wade put the hosts back in front with a goal 30 minutes into the half. Despite the fact there was eight minutes of extra time in the thriller there wasn't any more scoring.
All of the Rovers deserve praise for the performance produced. Captain and defender James Hoyle, Schofield and fellow midfielder Cameron Emerson and striker Kailan Gould were particularly prominention the starting XI and Tai Barham provided quality impact off the subs bench.
Hoy was the pick of the North Wellington players. Vickers and another former Hawke's Bay United player, Ihaia Delaney, weren't far behind him.