YoungHeart Manawatu were brought back to earth with a thud yesterday, losing 4-2 to Hawke's Bay United in Napier.
After opening the national league with a 3-0 win over Otago United last week, Manawatu's spirits were high. But Hawke's Bay quickly snuffed those out, taking the lead after six minutes, and never looked back on their way to 4-0 before Manawatu grabbed a couple of late goals.
The result would have brought back memories of last year where the Manawatu defence leaked like a sieve.
YoungHeart coach Stu Jacobs was disappointed with the result after last week's improved performance.
"We couldn't break Hawke's Bay down and I thought they defended very well," Jacobs told asbpremiership.co.nz. "I thought when we got back to 4-2, if we scored again we would go on and win the game."
Hawke's Bay looked like they were cruising and in the second half Manawatu started to get more ball and to create some chances.
Jacobs went to his bench to stop the rot, bringing on Nathan Cooksley, Jordan Martens and Lewis Cumber.
And while it did create some nerves in the Hawke's Bay coaching box, 4-0 was too big a lead to haul in.
New Hawke's Bay signing Sean Lovemore continued his goal-scoring form as he found the back of the net each side of halftime to go with Stephen Hoyle's and Cole Peverley's early strikes.
Late in the second half, Tom Mosquera and new recruit Cumber scored for Manawatu.
Cumber, a defender or midfielder, has come over from England and made his debut off the bench.
Even after the poor result, Manawatu are still in fourth place on the table, with a superior goal difference keeping them above Canterbury.
But it doesn't get any easier for YoungHeart as they host champions Waitakere United at Memorial Park next Sunday. Waitakere beat Waikato FC yesterday and beat Team Wellington 3-0 in the first round.
Hawke's Bay United 4 (Stephen Hoyle 6', Cole Peverley 31', Sean Lovemore 45', 46') YoungHeart Manawatu 2 (Tom Mosquera 75', Lewis Cumber 76'). Halftime: 3-0.
- Manawatu Standard
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