YoungHeart broken in 'gutless display'
A fly on the wall at YoungHeart Manawatu training this week will get a first-hand take on coach Stu Jacobs' wrath after his side's 5-0 smashing by defending champions Waitakere United at Memorial Park yesterday.
Jacobs had no hint of this coming - 90 minutes of nothing, of first touches going to Waitakere feet time and again.
"It was a bit of a gutless display," he said. "I will have serious questions of the players."
He wouldn't brook any excuses. As far as Jacobs is concerned, if his YoungHearts play without heart against any team in the league, they will get whacked.
It was a desolate scene for the 250 home fans, what with the wind and rain and having to endure a first home game of such rank quality.
Waitakere are a big-budget, virtually semi-professional outfit, and they looked like it against the virtual amateurs of YoungHeart. The West Aucklanders were too skilful and a metre too quick.
"They're a good side, but we were our own worst enemies at times," Jacobs said. "It was just not good enough, just poor. It was kind of men against boys, and I haven't seen that from this group."
Strikers Roy Krishna and Allan Pearce, both men with international quality about them, ran hot for the unbeaten Waitakere. They played the ball around between each other with impunity, and even when they didn't have the ball, they knew that from every second touch, a Manawatu player would meekly donate it back to them.
Aside from 10 minutes near the end, when the curtain had long since fallen, the game was played almost entirely in Manawatu's half. Waitakere goalie Daniel Robinson deserved the unemployment benefit - all he had to do was watch Manawatu crosses curling away from him late in the game.
Everyone thought the 2011-12 form was behind Manawatu. They could have lost by way more yesterday, considering Waitakere had a total of 26 shots to Manawatu's three and loosed off many hopeful long strikes. There was such a lack of sting that the game was almost foul-free.
Three of the goals were gifted from Manawatu turnovers, even if Waitakere had the skill to finish and the pace up through great canyons in midfield.
Manawatu goalie Matt Borren had no chance with the first, when Ryan De Vries smashed the ball point-blank and volleyed Borren's rebound.
Just before the rain started, a nice Krishna touch to David Mulligan gave Borren no chance again. But eight minutes later, Krishna scuffed a shot and the mis-hit fooled Borren.
The teams had barely returned from halftime when the horror show continued. A wayward Manawatu header let Krishna away on the left, and Pearce back-footed the ball into goal. Jacobs had whisked off striker Seule Soromon at halftime.
The last goal came when Manawatu were caught out at the back. Borren raced out, and the ball was wafted into his net.
To make it worse, Waitakere coach Paul Marshall bellowed a non-stop commentary at his players from his seat for the full 90.
Last season, Manawatu lost 7-2 and 6-1 to Waitakere. Manawatu haven't beaten them since 2007-08. That's history now, and the clash with Wellington in the capital next Sunday is a chance for redemption.
Scorers:Waitakere United 5 (Ryan de Vries 13, David Mulligan 30, Roy Krishna 40, Allan Pearce 46, George Slefendorfas 89) YoungHeart Manawatu 0. HT 3-0.
Stats:Shots on target: WU 6 YH 2. Shots off target: WU 15 YH 1. Corners: WU 6 YH2. Goals: WU5. Yellow card: Adam Cowan (YH) 74 (sliding tackle).
Other scores: Wellington 4 Waikato 1, Canterbury 2 Otago 1, Auckland 1 Hawke's Bay 1.