Same old story for YoungHeart

TONY COFFIN
Last updated 12:00 25/02/2013

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Despite finishing with the wooden spoon for the second consecutive year, Stu Jacobs is keen to coach YoungHeart Manawatu for another year.

YoungHeart's 4-1 home loss to Premiership runner-up Auckland City consigned them to bottom spot for the third year.

"I'm not too sure what the board will do, but I'm keen to give it a go next year," Jacobs said.

"We didn't win a game last year but have won three this season."

Although the results are not as flash as fans would like, there have been improvements.

"We have made incremental improvements on last year and we're slowly getting there," he said.

"But people need to realise the entire structure has stepped up and it may take two or three years to get our local players up to the standard required to play at this level."

Jacobs said there needed to be work done with the clubs for players heading to the winter league.

"Ideally they need a break for a couple of months, then build up for the next winter league," he said. "I know we've already talked to Aaron (Clegg) on what our plans are.

"Also, just so players aren't left out in the cold and we don't lose all contact with them, it might be that we get the Manawatu players together once a week and then with the Wellington players monthly and maybe have a game."

Jacobs agreed with the YoungHeart board that developing locals remained a key focus for him as well.

"I think this season we had the right balance. But we just need a couple of players in key positions to give us some composure under pressure.

"I know even when we develop players, teams like Auckland will come in and take them. But then we're doing our job of developing players."

YoungHeart has not been helped by refereeing decisions at crucial times costing them an occasional draw or win.

With the scores locked 1-all after 50 minutes yesterday, referee Campbell-Kirk Waugh put a knife into YoungHeart's chances of getting away from bottom spot when he awarded a penalty against their best player, defender Kade Schrijvers for supposedly fouling Exposito Presseguer.

After an opening three-minute blitz by Auckland when they strung 36 passes together, YoungHeart broke the game open with a quality finish by Dale Higham when he rounded Auckland keeper Tamati Williams after a good pass from Thomas Mosquera.

They looked secure and could have added to their lead twice, with a Higham shot blocked by a defender and Mosquera heading over the bar from a corner. Higham had a ripper of a shot saved just before halftime.

For the 10 minutes after, Manawatu conceded the penalty, lost composure, gave away free-kicks, had players booked; but worse, gave away a goal.

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"It comes with experience," Jacobs said about keeping calm. "When things don't go our way we need to get on with the game. We still tend to react."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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