A Tom Mosquera hat-trick quickly erased the bad memories from last season, as YoungHeart Manawatu started their national league season with a comfortable win.
Mosquera scored two early goals, then added a third in the second half as Manawatu beat Otago United 3-0 in Dunedin yesterday.
It had been a long time between drinks for Manawatu, with their last win coming two seasons ago against Waikato FC, so a victory was the perfect way to forget the hard times of last season.
"We're already equal on points as last year," Mosquera said, having drawn three matches last season.
Funnily enough, the last time a Manawatu player scored a hat-trick was in that last win in 2010 but Mosquera did not want to wait that long again for another win.
"Hopefully, not another 28 games. Everyone's pretty relieved."
He said he popped up at the right time and found himself on the end of a good ball from Seule Soromon, Dale Higham and Adam Cowan each time.
Manawatu coach Stu Jacobs was pleased with the performance and even though a lot of the team was new this year, it was good to break the winless drought.
"Sometimes it takes a while," he said.
"There's no secrets [that] last year we were pretty dysfunctional right throughout the franchise. Started at the top and the board got that right off the park. Judge us on our second year not our first."
New team members this year were captain Cowan, Higham, Liam Higgins, Sam Redwood, Andrew Frampton, Kade Schrijvers and Grant Robson
Jacobs said it was only early days and while it was only one win, it was a good start.
The defence was a major problem for YoungHeart last year so to keep Otago scoreless shows that they have come a long way.
Otago had the run of play in the first few minutes but Mosquera's goal turned the game Manawatu's way and they never looked back.
"That gave us a platform," Jacobs said.
"We defended front to back really well. I can't think of too many clear-cut chances they had."
The first goal came from a cross from Higham which Mosquera drilled in from the edge of the box.
His second came after Soromon weaved through the defence and crossed it to him for him to volley it in.
The third was a product of his finishing off a blocked shot by Cowan.
In their match last year, Manawatu had led Otago 3-0 at halftime and went on to lose 4-3, but there were no nervous moments this year, as they limited Otago's opportunities.
Manawatu are away again next weekend, playing Hawke's Bay United in Napier.
Hawke's Bay beat Waikato FC 2-0 yesterday but Jacobs said they would be able to go up there confident after a win.
YoungHeart Manawatu 3 (Tom Mosquera 8', 28', 55') Otago United 0. HT 2-0.
- Manawatu Standard
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