Youngheart Manawatu pin hopes on upset
Golden boot league leader Tom Mosquera will need his good fortune to continue when YoungHeart Manawatu play heavyweights Auckland City away tomorrow.
Mosquera is leading the national league this season on seven goals, ahead of Hawke's Bay United's Sean Lovemore, who has six.
While Manawatu have been on the wrong side of the ledger since their first-round win over Otago United, he has been playing well.
"I've worked pretty hard to get in behind the defence, link with Adam [Cowan] and the other two and a few [goals] have been because I've been in the right place at the right time."
Not many would have expected a YoungHeart player to be setting the trend for goalscoring this year; not even Mosquera himself expected it.
"To be honest I didn't," Mosquera said.
"It's a bit of a surprise. It's kind of my first season starting so I'm pretty happy."
Despite his goals, Manawatu are languishing in sixth position, having lost their last five games, and Auckland won't be easy.
"It's pretty good to score some goals but I think more importantly we need to start getting results. We've been unlucky in one or two games [and] could have got results out of them."
It is Mosquera's second season with the franchise but didn't get as much game time last year as he would have liked.
He went to school at Francis Douglas Memorial College in Taranaki before moving to Palmerston North to study.
The 22-year-old is confident Manawatu can get something out of tomorrow's game even though they lost 5-0 to Auckland in both fixtures last season.
Manawatu have only one win from their 12 games at Kiwitea Street and have conceded 16 goals from their past four games, so Mosquera increasing his tally will go a long way towards improving that record.
In Manawatu's favour will be that Auckland will have just returned from 10 days at the Fifa Club World Cup in Japan so they could be fatigued from their endeavours.
Mosquera said they were gutted after letting their game against Canterbury United last week turn into a 2-0 loss when they could have got at least one point out of it.
"We know the level we can go to now. We can go further than that too."
Any result for Manawatu would be an upset and would be a good way to go into the Christmas break for the side which has struggled for results recently.
YoungHeart should field the same side that competed well with Canterbury United last week, with Khair Jones (ankle) and Sam Redwood (groin) still out injured.
YoungHeart Manawatu: Matt Borren, Liam Higgins, Wade Randle, Kade Schrijvers, Matt Kennedy, Nathan Cooksley, Seule Soromon, Adam Cowan (captain), Tom Mosquera, Tyson Brandt, Billy Scott, Jordan Martens, Dale Higham, Ben Wilkes, Grant Robson, Lewis Cumber.
Auckland City: Tamati Williams, Simon Arms, Takuya Iwata, Angel Berlanga, Jason Hicks, Chris Bale, Manel Exposito, Luis Alberto Fonseca Corrales, Danijel Koprivcic, Alex Feneridis, Adam Dickinson, Ivan Vicelich (captain), Albert Riera Vidal, Pedro Santa Cecilia Garcia, Liam Anderson, Emiliano Tade, David Browne, Andrew Milne.
Manawatu record v Auckland: Won 3, lost 16, drawn 4.