Northland Hit Four On Opening Day
Northland FC scored 3 goals in 12 second half minutes to secure three points in their opening Lotto NRFL Division 2 fixture
The Northland FC Men's First Team ensured a winning start to the 2022 season in the Lotto NRFL Division Two yesterday, putting four past Beachlands Maraetai at Tikipunga Sports Park. In the curtain raiser the under 23s also made a strong start with a 2-0 win that could have been quite a few more had the strikers bought their shooting boots.
For the U23s, Bobby Ramo set the tone early in the game with a fine strike from the edge of the box into the roof of the net, giving the 'keeper no chance. The rest of the game saw the boys in blue dominate the ball and create a host of chances before and after the break but they could not convert this into goals until Dan Adams sealed the points just before the hour.
Head coach Steven Paul said 'I was really happy with the way we played today, we have a large squad with competition for places in the starting XI meaning that if you get a chance you have to take it. We created plenty of chances against a high back line and on another day could have scored a lot more but I'll take the three points and a clean sheet from round 1.'
In the main event, Northland again started strong with neat combination play causing problems for the visitors from the first whistle. They were rewarded in the 15th minute with Segun Rotimi released on the left hand side to cross into the penalty area for Neo Eckstein, the 16 year old was unable to get a shot away but flicked the ball cleverly over the onrushing goalkeeper to find the head of Mitch Hanmore who nodded into an empty net.
The score stayed that way until half time with the hosts probing for openings and keeping their opponents at arms length. Eight minutes into the second half Northland were awarded a free kick on the left wing about 35 metres from goal. Geoffrey Zwaneveld, making his first appearance since June 2021 after a long term injury layoff, floated the ball into the box, which evaded everyone and bounced into the far corner to make it 2-0.
Beachlands were visibly affected by the lapse in defensive concentration, while Northland sniffed blood and sought to kill the game. The third arrived from another set piece, this time with Rotimi delivering a corner from the left for captain Mikael Munday to flick on. Finn Diamond, making his return to Northland football reacted fastest and smashed home from close range to effectively end the game as a contest, with substitute Reuben Nicholl rounding the 'keeper to add a fourth 3 minutes later.
The last 25 minutes saw Northland create a number of chances but they could not add to their lead, and Beachlands grabbed a consolation 12 minutes from the end through William South who followed up a shot that Northland goalkeeper Alfie Thomas-Close could only parry, which remained the only blot on the scorecard for the home team all day.
Head coach Michal Walesiak was delighted with his teams performance saying 'I'm really happy with the way we approached the game today, and of course it is great to open the season with such a dominant performance. We cannot get too carried away though and will have to display the same levels of intensity at training next week as we prepare for the next game.'
The next fixture against Ngaruawahia United will be our first of the year at Trigg Sports Arena, Kensington. Come along and support us on 23rd April, 12.30 (under 23s) and 3.00pm (first team) kick offs