Series Two of the ASB Futsal National League kicked off with hosts Capital taking on last year’s defending champions Northern Football. This was a grudge match with all the trimmings; not only was it a replay of the 2012/2013 final, but when these two sides met in Series One last month Northern came up trumps with a decisive 6-3 win. In addition, Capital came into Series Two in seventh place out of eight after a disappointing performance in the first round.
Capital came out firing in their first game, obviously determined to make amends. They had the better chances in the first half despite being without Futsal White and golden boot from Series One Miroslav Malivuk, who was out through suspension. However, a ten metre penalty late in the first half was slotted into the back of the net by Northern’s Bakr Al Saudi to give the visitors a 1-0 lead going into half time. The lead was further extended when Northern scored again early in the second half through Charl Compaan to give them a 2-0 buffer.
However Capital showed their mettle to reply with two goals in quick succession through young Luc Saker and Lucas Da Silva. Saker scored his second a short time later to give Capital a 3-2 lead for the first time in the game. Capital did well to hold on to the lead, defending a penalty and some clever play by Northern player/coach Felipe De Marchi Bernardi. Al Saudi finally broke through to score his second goal and to bring the score level at 3-3, which was the full time score.
The second game saw top of the table’s Auckland Football taking on Central Manawatu, who after finishing bottom of the table in 2012/2013, came into Series Two in a handy fourth place.
Khair Jones opened the scoring early giving Manawatu a 1-0 lead after only two minutes. Manawatu controlled much of the game with Auckland lacking their usual precision on the ball, and were rewarded when latest Team Wellington signing Adam Cowan scored his side’s second goal to give Manawatu a 2-0 lead at half time.
Auckland finally got on the score sheet seven minutes before full time through Dylan Manickum but Manawatu immediately got two goals back through Josh Margetts and Cowan notched up his second. Right before the final whistle Cooksley scored his first goal for the series to give Manawatu a convincing 5-1 win over table leaders Auckland.
Northern faced a second strong challenge when they played Mainland in their second game on Day One. They missed meeting each other in the first round so there was no precedent going into the game. Northern were eager to secure the win after their earlier draw against Capital, and Mainland needed the points to buoy their fifth placing in the table.
It wasn’t until deep into the first half that the deadlock was broken to give Mainland a 1-0 lead, albeit through an own goal. This looked to be the score going into the half time break but play got feisty and Mainland gave away two penalties and a goal late in the half which saw Northern take a 3-1 lead at the break.
Half time did little to calm the spirits of the two sides. Mainland were able to bring the game back within reach through a powerful strike from James Vallance. However further ill-discipline from Mainland gave Northern another free kick in the second half, which was converted by an on fire Al Saudi to give Northern a two point lead and the win with the final score 4-2.
Waikato Bay of Plenty had much to prove in Series Two, with their 5-5 draw against Northern in Series One their best result. Their first game was against Central Hawke’s Bay who were also looking for more points this series, sitting in sixth but only one point off Northern, Central Manawatu and Mainland. When the two sides met in Series One Central Hawke’s Bay won 5-1 and they were the first to get off the mark through a goal by Josh Stevenson. Waikato Bay of Plenty were quick to reply with their own goal by young Kyle Wisnewski however Central Hawkes Bay scored again and held onto the lead 2-1 going into half time.
Manawatu scored again in the second half to make the final score 3-1, a much closer encounter than in Series One, however it was scrappy and both sides will need to look to improve going into Day Two.
Capital faced Auckland in their second match of the day, and both sides were keen for the three points after both missed out earlier in the night. It was a close game and both sides had the opportunity to take the three points with some close shots on goal. The goal keepers for both sides did well keeping the game scoreless at half time.
Futsal White and Auckland captain Marvin Eakins was the stand out player for Auckland and broke the deadlock scoring early in the second half. This fired both sides up, but it was Capital who was able to make the most of their opportunities, with both Matt Edridge and Stephen Heron scoring, to give Capital a 2-1 win and a crucial three points.
The last game of the night on Day One was the South Island derby between Mainland and Futsal South. When these two sides met in Auckland in Series One, Futsal South had the upper hand, winning 5-2. In the first half Mainland showed a determination to not let that happen again and were rewarded when Futsal White Daniel Burns fired the ball into the back of the net. However Futsal South fought back, levelling the score then taking the lead in the second half through Brazilian pivot Carlos Hermann and Sean McIntee. Mainland came back to even the score 2-2 only for Futsal South to counter attack and take back the lead almost immediately. Futsal South controlled much of the second half and a fourth goal cemented the lead and the win for Futsal South.
Futsal White Coach Scott Gilligan’s observations of the day were mixed. “Overall the standard on display today hasn’t been as good as the first series in Auckland. There has been a lack of intensity in the first half of the games. Teams have held off, not wanting to give possession away, until the second half of the game when the teams get more creative trying to score.”
However there have been some highlights. Gilligan commented “I have been impressed with young Luc Saker from Capital. His first touch and his calmness shows wisdom and skill beyond some of his older counterparts.”
The first game on day two kicks off at 10am between Central Manawatu and Waikato Bay of Plenty at the ASB Sports Centre. The full draw for the weekend is attached.
Check out the New Zealand Football Futsal Whites Facebook page for photos from Day One by Cam McIntosh/Photomac, as well as updates and video highlights including Goal of the Day by Mainland’s Daniel Burns here. You can follow us on Twitter @NZFFutsal for live updates.