Late penalty sinks Team Taranaki
Team Taranaki coach Ian McGrath was left contemplating the injustice of sport after their 2-1 Central League football loss to Lower Hutt City on Sunday.
After dominating the second half of the match at the vastly inferior Merrilands Domain, Team Taranaki had to watch as Lower Hutt City striker Jeremy Field tucked away a penalty to give the visitors the lead with just a handful of minutes left in the match.
The injustice McGrath felt was it was only the second or third time Lower Hutt City had been in an attacking area in the second half after Team Taranaki had wholly dominated the last 45 minutes.
"We are obviously very disappointed with that result," he said post-match. "Sometimes there is just no justice in sport."
To be fair Lower Hutt City had the better of the first half and could have had a greater advantage than the 1-0 one they took into the break.
On several occasions they broke into the Team Taranaki box with a clear chance only for keeper Nick Hayward to deny them.
They had earlier taken the lead after Team Taranaki turned over possession before Jared Cunnipp neatly finished.
The halftime break worked a treat for the home side, however, as they pressed and pressed before an equaliser was scored after Paul Cunningham put away the ball that had failed to be cleared from a corner.
That goal, combined with a bit more composure on the ball from Team Taranaki's midfield, allowed Josh Smith, who had taken the captain's armband in the absence of Nathan Hill, to press for the lead.
On several occasions he looked to have a half chance while also setting up some clearer ones but Team Taranaki could not finish and press for three points.
Then, with 85 minutes just past, Lower Hutt City broke down the side before a ball was crossed in only to strike the hand of a Team Taranaki defender.
The referee awarded a penalty, up stepped Field and the injustice McGrath referred to was complete.
"We evolved into the game after we did not start that great and we emerged and improved in that second half to a point we got ourselves into a position to control large parts of the second half," McGrath added.
"After we got the equaliser I thought we could push on and get something more but the penalty changed the game in an instant and they didn't deserve to win that game."
The loss sees Team Taranaki slip to third to bottom on the table with just an away game against Napier City Rovers to come.
At a glance
Lower Hutt City 2 (Jared Cunnipp, Jeremy Field) Team Taranaki 1 (Paul Cunningham).