Comeback win secures final spot

03/09/2012 10:24

Tikipunga vs. Ranui Swanson, Federation One Semi Final, 1st September 2012

Comeback win secures final spot

By Arriane Christie

Tikipunga fought hard for a come from behind win on Saturday to secure their place in the 2012 Federation One Cup final, beating Auckland side Ranui Swanson 3-2 at Tikipunga.

After conceding two goals in the first half an hour, the home side picked up their game and worked hard to keep their heads up and get back into the game. Coach Clive Adams complimented his team’s work rate, saying he was impressed with “the way we got back into it. We worked hard.”

Last year’s Cup winners, Ranui Swanson started the game strongly, giving their bus load of supporters good reason to be vocal on the sidelines. Just three minutes into the game a Ranui Swanson shot bounced down off the cross bar and out.

The play was end to end, but Tikipunga’s inaccuracy allowed the visitors to maintain possession and keep the pressure on. Ranui Swanson looked the stronger side, and were able to use their strength to keep the fifty-fifty ball.

Twenty minutes into the first half, Tikipunga were unable to clear their goal-box and Ranui Swanson striker Fau Malu nailed the ball into the corner to give his team the lead.

Seven minutes later, Ranui Swanson stretched their advantage when Stuart McPhearson was left with too much room at the top of the box. He powered his shot into the top corner to take the visitors score to two.

With fifteen minutes to go before the break, the tide started to turn, and Tikipunga had good periods on attack. They were awarded a free kick on the stroke of half time and Marcus Mulhearn stepped up to the mark. He curled his shot into the top right corner to claw one back for Tikipunga.

After the break, Tikipunga went straight on the attack and scored after six minutes. A deflection off midfielder Lance Dinsdale from a corner kick evened the scores.

Tikipunga gained momentum and put pressure on the Ranui Swanson defence, eventually forcing an error from Ranui Swanson captain Matt Parsons. From a free kick, Parsons couldn’t get across in time to stop a certain goal, so lifted his hand to stop the ball. His deliberate foul saw him handed a red card and Tikipunga a penalty shot. Reliable Steve Crowley stepped up and kicked the ball hard to the keepers left. It took a deflection off the keeper’s outstretched hand but bounced and rolled in.

Ranui Swanson pushed players high in the final fifteen minutes but Tikipunga worked hard to keep the visitors out.

Adams admitted after the match, he “was worried at two-nil down”, but was “wrapped” with how his whole team worked hard to come back into the game.

In the other semi final, Kerikeri beat Norwest 2-1 at Huapai to set up an all Northland final.