Saturday 7 June 2014 - Waikato Unicol Mens B vs Eastern City Mens B
Derby day in Silverdale
On a high after a much needed win and with memories of last year’s crushing victory over the same opposition fresh in their minds, Waikato Unicol Mens B strode once more onto a less than pristine Hillcrest park pitch. Now approaching mid-season, injuries and absences had taken their toll on the Unicol lineup resulting in a sparsely populated bench. However the mood was upbeat as the team promptly changed into that hallowed black and yellow kit known affectionately as bumblebee.
With both teams locked on 8 competition points this game seemed always bound to be a nail-biter, and from the kick off it delivered on that promise. Eastern City started well, as if to dispel the ghost of last year. Some slick passing and plenty of energy in the midfield proved that they would push Unicol hard this season. The first real chance of the match, however, fell Unicol’s way as Patty Purcell’s driven cross was fumbled at full stretch by a bitterly disappointed Sam Cameron with the goal mouth beckoning. From then on the momentum shifted, with numerous chances falling the way of the team in black and yellow courtesy of some sharp work by wingers Eisei Toyotaa and Rory “Spanish” Casey.
The deadlock was broken at last by none other than Waikato University’s most eligible RA, and team top scorer Purcell, who latched onto a weighted Cameron cross for his three hundredth goal of the season. Celebrations soon turned sour for the communications major, as he was forced off with a game ending leg injury shortly after. This brought the crippled, but enthusiastic Dave Galuszka into the game at striker, still consumed by his decade long hunt for a second Unicol goal.
Eastern City, perhaps sensing a lapse in concentration in their opponents, upped the tempo of their attack and despite a lack of real attempts on target managed to trick a befuddled Jordan Mackinnon into handling the ball in his own penalty area. Having duly converted the spot kick, the teams went into the break locked at one all.
Inspired by a rousing Reid Hall team talk at half time, Unicol had the better of the possession early in the second half. A blistering Johnny Ryan shot was only just contained by the EC keeper, whilst Charles Daily kept up his unrelenting assault on the woodwork of the greater Hamilton area. The game defining moment came shortly after, as a freakishly accurate Dailey chip was recovered by a grateful Cameron with only the oncoming keeper to beat. Having done so the ball was calmly sliced into the top corner for good measure.
The bumblebee bus was then duly parked. James Stewart and Reid Hall held firm at the back for the remainder of the game, and despite Eastern City’s best efforts the score remained at 2 -1.
A much needed away win for Unicol was secured.