We have wrapped up our on-field pre-season preparations ahead of the 2015/16 ASB Premiership season with a 2-0 victory over Hawkes Bay United at Napier’s Bluewater Stadium.
Head Coach, Peter Smith, was delighted with his side’s efforts in a match his team controlled from start to finish. “I’ve never taken a team to Bluewater and won a match that convincingly,” said Smith after the game. “I know it was just a pre-season game, but both sides are a week out from the start of the season, so it was an excellent chance to see how ready we are. I couldn’t be more pleased with both the result and the performance.”
Smith made four changes to the starting line-up that began last Saturday’s match against Waitakere United. Louie Caunter, Finn Cochran, Mario Ilich, and Dylan Stansfield came in for Zac Speedy, Diego Viera, Ryan Tinsley and Marc Evans. “I said before the game that I wanted to give as many guys as possible a chance to press their case, while also looking for a performance,” said Smith. “So we didn’t make wholesale changes and I got what I was looking for. The whole team played well and we were also able to make nine changes in the second half without dropping our intensity.”
The two goals came in quick fire fashion either side of the break. Federico Marquez shot us ahead as half time loomed, then Wade Molony doubled our lead five minutes after the restart.
Attention now turns to the start of our ASB Premiership campaign in a match that will be played out in front of the Sky Sport cameras. “I’ve got the difficult job of picking a match day squad for the Team Wellington game,” said Smith. “We used 20 players today and some quality players didn’t even make it on the park. The harsh reality is they can’t all play next week. But we’ve built a squad this season with an eye on our entire campaign. The players have worked hard and performed well during pre-season, and now I’m in the position I’d hoped I’d be at the start of the season.”
WaiBOP United team sheet: Caunter (Speedy); Hilliar, A. Mitchell, Luque (Probert), Cochran (J. Hoyle); Varela (C. Mitchell), Ilich (Tinsley); Molony (Manko), Marquez (S. Hoyle), Jones (Gallegos); Stansfield (Evans).
Goal scorers: Federico Marquez, Wade Molony.