Fallon and Paston star in All Whites win

BY DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 00:09 15/11/2009
All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen (centre) celebrates with teammate Ivan Vicelich after New Zealand had beaten Bahrain 1-0 to qualify for the 2010 football World Cup.
Reuters Zoom
All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen celebrates with teammate Ivan Vicelich.

Video: All Whites highlights

Rory Fallon
KEVIN STENT/Sunday Star Times
HERO: All Whites striker and goalscorer Rory Fallon celebrates their win over Bahrain.

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They were heroes at either end of the field and striker Rory Fallon and goalkeeper Mark Paston were thrilled to play their part in New Zealand footballing history.

Fallon got New Zealand's goal in the 1-0 qualifying win over Bahrain and Paston saved a crucial penalty.

The two acts on either side of halftime ensured New Zealand just their second World Cup finals appearance.

Fallon said he had visualised his goal yesterday morning. He had a header stopped by the Bahrain keeper three minutes before he thundered home Leo Bertos' corner for the goal of his life.

"I was quite upset about the first one but I just prayed I'd get another chance because I fancy myself with a cross. Leo delivered the perfect cross for me," said the 27-year-old who played youth football for England and has now stamped his class at senior level with New Zealand, nabbing two goals in three matches.

"I visualised it today ... I knew I could do it ... I had that belief."

Fallon hadn't caught up with his father Kevin, co-coach of the 1982 side,  in the immediate aftermath to the match.

"I'm looking forward to that. Someone said he was crying before the match. I just want to thank him for all those 6am starts when I was six and the time he has put into me."

Paston said he guessed that the Bahrain penalty taker would go to his right and he proved correct.

Penalties always loomed a possibility to decide this match, especially after the two teams had fought out a scoreless stalemate in Manama in the first leg last month.

"I thought it would be at the end of the game, not the middle of it," he joked of having to go one-on-one.

"It wasn't the best penalty but it went my way and it stuck."

Paston played down his role in this win. His save was doubly important as a successful penalty would have been worth two goals to Bahrain on the away goal rule.

"That's what I'm there for. But it wasn't just about me - in the second half the boys in front of me were incredible."

All Whites coach Ricki Herbert didn't want to comment on the decision to award Bahrain the penalty after Tony Lochhead was ruled to bring down a Bahrain striker in the goal area.

"I didn't see it and I won't bother to look at it now," he said, able to joke about it in the wake of a famous win.

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