YoungHeart Manawatu could almost say they were robbed of a win against Canterbury United at Memorial park yesterday.
Locked 0-all with 17 minutes to go and with Canterbury under the pump, YoungHeart had two lapses of concentration and let Canterbury steal the game 2-0.
Manawatu had been the better side for most of the game leading into that and YoungHeart coach Stu Jacobs said they were ripped off.
"But when we're the better side, with those chances, we've got to put one or two of those away," he said. "It keeps us in the game.
"Adam [Cowan] hit the post, Tom [Mosquera] hit the post, Jordy [Martens] hit the post. Never mind, the tide's turning. We've just to go make sure it turns a little quicker for us."
The home side had a few chances with Cowan unlucky not to score after a good through ball from Mosquera had him in the clear but he couldn't finish.
Manawatu had plenty of other opportunities to score but couldnt' convert.
"We should have got something out of that, a point minimum," Jacobs said. "Probably three we deserved but we've got to nail them. They're no good on paper."
But at the end of the day it is another loss and the fifth in a row for Manawatu.
While it doesn't have the same negative feeling as last season, Manawatu need to keep improving and will have to take another step up against Auckland City next weekend.
"We can't be playing below 100 per cent. If we don't, we're not in games. Today we were pretty close to that for a good 70 or 80 minutes."
Manawatu were looking confident and aggressive but once Canterbury scored, it deflated them and Canterbury started to put the pressure on.
The first goal came after YoungHeart turned over possession and Ken Yamamoto fed Russell Kamo who set up Darren White to finish.
The second goal was a blunder from goalkeeper Matt Borren, who had a solid game apart from that, as he spilled the ball straight to Kamo who put it past him for one of the easiest goals he will score.
Aside from one lapse that let in the first goal, defenders Nathan Cooksley, Wade Randle and Jordan Martens were solid at the back shutting down Canterbury's space and kept former All White Aaron Clapham out of the game.
Tyson Brandt was busy up front and captain Cowan kept slogging away.
Canterbury coach Keith Braithwaite said Manawatu made their life difficult and even though the two sides had been at different ends of the form guide, they hadn't been over-confident coming into the game.
"I think they were always competing, if we'd made a mistake they could have punished us," he said.
"At the back, I thought the boys did well. Adam Highfield at the back made a couple of good saves when we needed him too." Canterbury United 2 (Darren White 74', Russell Kamo 85') YoungHeart Manawatu 0 HT 0-0
Statistics: Shots on target:YHM 4 CU 5. Shots off target: YHM 4 CU 6. Corners: YHM 6, CU 12.
Yellow cards: Darren White (CU) 37', Aaron Clapham (CU) 66'.
Other results: Otago United 1 Team Wgton 0, Waitakere United 3 Hawke's Bay Utd 1.
- Manawatu Standard
Does the All Blacks' 24-21 win over England strike a psychological blow ahead of next year's World Cup?Related story: (See story)