Combative YoungHeart come up trumps
YoungHeart Manawatu have a chance of evading bottom place in the national league after their fighting 3-2 win over Waikato FC in hot conditions at Hamilton yesterday.
The three points from the win see them equal on six points at the tail of the ladder.
But Manawatu play Canterbury United away on the artificial pitch in Christchurch next weekend and host Auckland City at Memorial Park in the last game of the season.
It is a big call against the second-placed side but coach Stu Jacobs would love to get something from the Auckland City game in front of the home fans.
Although yesterday's win at Porritt Park wasn't pretty, to use Jacobs' words, it was a long time since the only other victory, at the start of the season over Otago United.
It arrested a run of 10 straight defeats for Manawatu.
"It was nice to get a result in our favour for once," Jacobs said.
"We'll enjoy this one. All in all it was a good day.
"We had no wins last year and we have had two wins this year as well as the win against the Phoenix.
"For me it has been the performances that have improved."
Jacobs said he didn't expect a great influx of money into the franchise next year so the young players would have to go away and develop over the winter and come back better players next season.
After two weeks away from the team, Adam Cowan came back to play a dominant role yesterday.
Jacobs always believed the result would come down to the team which defended the best.
"We were a bit more resilient at the back," he said.
"It wasn't going to be a draw."
Goalkeeper Matt Borren came up with important saves, none more so that in the 93rd minute when he saved a long-range screamer from Raymond How that would have tied the match.
"That was a great save because it went through a crowd of players," Jacobs said. "They are the kind of opportunities that in the past would have gone in."
Manawatu deserved their 2-1 lead at halftime because Waikato had failed to deal with striker Seule Soromon.
He slotted a header for the first goal off a Matt Higham corner kick and finished off the second nicely after Cowan played him through.
Sam Redwood was given a run in the starting outfit and he scored the winner off a corner kick with 19 minutes to play. It bounced around in the box and Redwood poked it home.
Waikato had equalised at 1-all only four minutes after Soromon's first. Their second equaliser came when Manawatu's Nathan Cooksley had inadvertently headed into striker Gurjeep Singh's path.
Scorers: YoungHeart Manawatu 3 (Seule Soromon 4', 18'; Sam Redwood 84') Waikato FC 2 (Rory Turner 8', Gurjeep Singh 54') HT 2-1.
Other scores: Otago 1 Waitakere 4, Hawke's Bay 1 Canterbury 1, Wellington 2 Auckland 3.