Waikato FC net six and jump off bottom place

PLEASED: Waikato FC coach Mark Cossey issues orders to his players at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin last night.
PLEASED: Waikato FC coach Mark Cossey issues orders to his players at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin last night.

Mark Cossey had to admit he could hardly have expected more from his start as Waikato FC coach.

Cossey's charges thumped Otago United 6-1 in Dunedin yesterday to give Waikato their second consecutive victory in the ASB Premiership after losing their opening four games.

That run saw the end of Declan Edge's reign, a third of the way through his second season in charge, with long-term Hamilton Wanderers coach Cossey appointed as replacement.

The former All Whites and Waikato United striker took full advantage of an easier schedule by leading the side past Manawatu 3-2 in Wellington and then crushing the hosts indoors at Forsyth Barr Stadium yesterday.

"Nine goals in two games and two wins - you can't do better than that really," said a surprisingly subdued Cossey.

The victory took Waikato FC off the bottom of the Premiership table, pushing them into sixth spot in the eight-team league with their two beaten foes below them and a game in hand.

The visitors shrugged off the walkout of eight players loyal to Edge by overcoming a sluggish start to lead 2-0 at the break and run riot in the second spell, with striker Rory Turner relishing a return to form with a hat-trick.

Waikato had netted just one goal in four matches prior to Edge's departure and Cossey was again pleased with how his side went about trying to manufacture scoring opportunities.

"We're not trying to change the world. We just want to go out onto the park with the idea that we can win the game."

The hosts missed a couple of chances to go ahead before Jack Hobson-McVeigh's bending free-kick put Waikato in front in the 20th minute and lifted their performance.

"We weren't really into it at the start, but Jack's free-kick got us going," Cossey acknowledged.

Adam Wallis grabbed the second four minutes later when finishing a strong run with a fierce drive from long range.

Turner got his first soon after halftime after a neat one-two with Alexi Caroama Varela and while Tristan Prattley pulled a goal back on the hour with a long-range free-kick, Turner put the result beyond doubt with 18 minutes remaining after being setup by Jordan Shaw.

Defender Hone Fowler got the fifth with a header from a set piece and Turner clinched his hat-trick in injury time with a fine solo effort.

"We looked at home in midfield and attack, but at times we lost our concentration at the back. I think we switched off thinking it was in the bag," Cossey said.

Waikato won't play again in the competition until January 9 and Cossey said his players needed a break to rest some niggling injuries.

"We've only really got 15 players in the squad too," he said as he turned his attention to strengthening the side with some signings over the festive season.

Waikato Times