Waitakere United Secure First Win

Published courtesy of NZ football and reproduced here.

Andrew Abba celebrates scoring for Waitakere against the Phoenix (Photosport)

Five-time champions Waitakere United have come to life in the ISPS Handa Premiership.

The Chris Milicich-coached side, who went down in their opening two games to Hamilton Wanderers and Team Wellington, recorded an impressive 5-1 victory over a 10-man Wellington Phoenix Reserves side in wet and cold conditions this afternoon at Westpac Stadium.

It was not a complete performance, but it was a welcomed three points for the West Auckland club as they got their season underway and climb to sixth on the table with four fixtures to come in Match Week Four tomorrow.


It only took two minutes for Waitakere United to open the scoring through Oliver Bassett. The Englishman managed to sneak his shot beyond Zac Jones in goal. Waitakere looked good on the counter-attack and in the 31st minute they doubled their lead on the end of a fast break. Alex Connor-McClean was played in behind and his shot deflected in off the post for a deserved 2-0 lead.

Soon after the Wellington Phoenix Reserves’ chances of competing in the game were dealt a significant blow when defender Ronan Wynne gave away a penalty and was also red carded. It was the defining moment of the game.  Wynne caught the last man bearing down on goal and referee Calvin Berg did not hesitate in pointing to the spot and pulling the red card out of his pocket. Eder Franchini Pasten stepped up and finished a good penalty to Jones’ left.

Waitakere were flying. They were 3-0 up at half-time and heading for their first win of the season, but even though they were down to 10-men the Wellington Phoenix Reserves looked the better of the two teams after the break. They got back in the game when Calvin Harris continued to show his quality. In the 55th minute, the 18-year-old hit a great free kick which curled around the wall and into the left corner past Nick Draper in goal.

Waitakere came back into the game and made the most of their one-man advantage in the final 10 minutes. Captain Jake Butler, who has been at the club since the start of the Premiership back in 2004, came up with a special free kick of his own in the 79th minute. With the wind at his back, Butler guided in a great shot which was all about placement. It beat Jones at the bottom left-corner.

The final goal of the match was the best. Andrew Abba showed quick feet inside the box to beat two Phoenix defenders and then hit a great shot across the face of Jones. It was a strong finish and reminded everyone what Waitakere United are capable of.

There are another four matches to come in the ISPS Handa Premiership tomorrow with the four teams at the top of the table – Auckland City, Team Wellington, Hamilton Wanderers and Eastern Suburbs – all in action.

ISPS Handa Premiership Match Week Four Result

Wellington Phoenix Reserves 1 (Calvin Harris 55’)

Waiakere United 5 (Oliver Bassett 3’, Alex Connor-McClean 31’, Eder Franchini Pasten 44’, Jake Butler 70’, Andrew Abba 80’)

HT: 0-3

Red card: Ronan Wynne (Phoenix 44’)

For the ISPS Handa Premiership table click here

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