Thursday, 21 March 2019


Coromandel Peninsula Football League final - a match for the history books

The final of the Coromandel Peninsula Football League took place at the Mercury Bay Multisport Park on Sunday, with the Whitianga Red Devils taking on Hahei. The game promised to be a tight affair between two very talented teams, but that turned out to be an understatement as it eventuated to be one of the matches of the season.

Hahei came out firing in the first 15 minutes, and with their "take no prisoners attitude", dominated possession and field position. Their efforts were well rewarded when Sean Butler pounced on a loose ball, scoring their first goal.

The Devils then sparked up and started playing with the same intensity. The Devils had their chances at goal, but they were not capitalized on. A further 15 minutes in, Hahei scored from a brilliant through ball to Hayden Smith, who beat the keeper to extend their lead to 2 - 0. This triggered the Devils to make some positional changes, which had an immediate effect, but again the scoring opportunities were missed and Hahei was leading at half-time.

The Devils started the second half a lot more composed, determined to starve Hahei from chances. Following heaps of pressure from the Devils' attacking line-up, a foul committed in the box had the Devils' captain, Dean Allen, lining up a penalty 15 minutes in. Dean’s successful shot saw the score at 2 - 1. More pressure with some great game play saw Dayne Mozel score on the 30-minute mark, making it 2 - 2.

Fifteen minutes left and both teams were pushing for the win. Some end-to-end entertainment was on view, which really got the spectators excited. RewiHYPERLINK "" HYPERLINK ""Gemmell was outstanding for Hahei in both attack and defence, redefining the phrase "putting his body on the line" and proving he is still one of the top football players on the Coromandel Peninsula. The Devils' Mitchell Power was always a threat and managed to slip through the Hahei defensive line a few times. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough as Hahei’s defence worked with their keeper, Tim Stephens, to stop any more goals, resulting in a tie at full-time.

The tie meant extra time. Two more 15 minute halves forced both teams to dip into their reserve tanks after already playing an hour and a half of full-on football.

The first half of extra time saw an excellent corner shot from Hahei miss by inches as it hit the bar of the goal. A couple of sitters, that looked from the sideline to be unmissable, were squandered by the Devils.

The turning point of the game came in the 117th minute after a very controversial "out ball" was left uncalled, despite uproar from the sideline and some on-field dispute. Dayne Mozel used the opportunity to make a break down the right hand side. He drew the Hahei keeper out and managed to slip the ball to Phil HYPERLINK ""Jowsey who tapped it home, 3 - 2 to the Devil's with three minutes to go.

Hahei were throwing everything and the kitchen sink into attack, while defending like they were possessed. Unfortunately, this led to them giving away a penalty which was saved by Hahei’s brilliant keeper. Another penalty one minute later saw Phil HYPERLINK ""Jowsey step up and push the score to 4 - 2.

With one minute to go, Mitchell Power was finally rewarded for all his hard work when Dayne provided a perfect cross for him to finish. The final score was 5 - 2 to the Devils.

It was a well-played game that made for an excellent final to watch. Every last ounce of energy was left on the field, and the final score was in no way a reflection of the game.
The Devils awarded two Players of the Day, to Dean Allen and Mitchell Power. Hahei’s Player of the Day went to their keeper, Tim Stephens.

A special thank you must go to Hugo HYPERLINK ""Fairweather who had to referee a very tough game and keep a lid on all that testosterone raging on and around the pitch.



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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.